To succeed you have to believe in something with such a passion that it becomes a reality.

I started The Body Shop in 1976 simply to create a livelihood for myself and my two daughters, while my husband, Gordon, was trekking across the Americas. I had no training or experience and my only business acumen was Gordon’s advice to take sales of £300 a week. Nobody talks of entrepreneurship as survival, but that’s exactly what it is and what nurtures creative thinking.

If you do things well, do them better. Be daring, be first, be different, be just.

It wasn’t only economic necessity that inspired the birth of The Body Shop. My early travels had given me a wealth of experience.

Potential entrepreneurs are outsiders. They are people who imagine things as they might be, not as they are, and have the drive to change the world around them. Those are skills that business schools do not teach. They will not teach you the most crucial thing of all: how to be an entrepreneur. They might also sap what entrepreneurial flair you have as they force you into the template called an MBA pass.

I’ve always said that travel is the best university; getting from one place to another means more than physical movement. It also entails change, challenge, new ideas and inspirations….I had this idea of making little products like shampoo and so forth using ingredients I had found when I traveled.

I hate the beauty business. It is a monster industry selling unattainable dreams. It lies. It cheats. It exploits women.

You always have to remember that what is most important in a company – or anything else – is unquantifiable in figures.

I wake up every morning thinking…this is my last day. And I jam everything into it. There’s no time for mediocrity. This is no damned dress rehearsal.

If I can’t do something for the public good, what the hell am I doing?

It is a critical job of any entrepreneur to maximize creativity, and to build the kind of atmosphere around you that encourages people to have ideas. That means open structures, so that accepted thinking can be challenged.

In the business school model, entrepreneurs are most at home with a balance sheet, a cashflow forecast and a business plan. They dream of profit forecasts and the ay they can take the company public. You certainly must be able to wield these weapons. But these are just part of the toolbox of re-imagining the world. They are not the basic defining characteristic of entrepreneurship.

It is true that there is a fine line between entrepreneurship and insanity. Crazy people see and feel things that others don’t. But you have to believe that everything is possible. If you believe it, those around you will believe it too.

A two-for-one sale no other cosmetic company could ever hope to match: buy a bottle of ‘natural’ lotion and get social justice for free.

If I had learned more about business ahead of time, I would have been shaped into believing that it was only about finances and quality management.

Memorable Words From Anita Roddick

I hope to leave my children a sense of empathy and pity and a will to right social wrongs.

I think that more companies are now realizing its corporate reputation is at stake and what they fear mostly is consumer revolt.

Measure your success according to fun and creativity.

We were most creative when our back was against the wall.

I often get asked to talk about entrepreneurship – even by hallowed institutions like Harvard and Stanford – but I’m not all convinced it is a subject you can teach.

Whatever you do, be different – that was the advice my mother gave me, and I can’t think of better advice for an entrepreneur. If you’re different, you will stand out.

There is no scientific answer for success. You can’t define it. You’ve simply got to live it and do it.

Over the past decade… while many businesses have pursued what I call ‘business as usual,’ I have been part of a different, smaller business movement, one that tried to put idealism back on the agenda.

You change your values when you change your behaviour. When you’ve lived six months with a group that is rubbing their bodies with cocoa butter, and those bodies are magnificent, or you wash your hair with mud, and it works, you go on to break all sorts of conventions, from personal ethics to body care. Then, if you’re me, you develop this stunning love for anthropology.

Successful entrepreneurs may hate hierarchies and structures and try to destroy them. They may garner the disapproval of MBAs for their creativity and wildness. But they have antennae in their heads. When they walk down the street anywhere in the world, they have their antennae out, evaluating how what they see can relate back to what they are doing. It might be packaging, a word, a poem, even something in a completely different business.

All through history, there have always been movements where business was not just about the accumulation of proceeds but also for the public good.

I didn’t go to business school, didn’t care about financial stuff and the stock market.

But if you can create an honorable livelihood, where you take your skills and use them and you earn a living from it, it gives you a sense of freedom and allows you to balance your life the way you want.

But the minute we went public on the stock market, which is how our wealth was created, it was no longer how many people you employed, it was how much you were worth and how much your company was worth.

Values carry the message of shared purposes, standards and conceptions of what is worth living for and what is worth striving for.

Consumers have not been told effectively enough that they have huge power and that purchasing and shopping involve a moral choice.

If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.

The frugality that my mother exercised during the war years made me question retail conventions. Why waste a container when you can refill it? And why buy more of something than you can use? We behaved as she did in the Second World War, we reused everything, we refilled everything and we recycled all we could. The foundation of The Body Shop’s environmental activism was born out of ideas like these.

My goal was livelihood. We don’t use that word often enough. If I could give one piece of advice to anyone it’s don’t obsess with this notion that you have to turn everything you do into a business, because that ends up being a small version of a large company. But if you can create an honourable livelihood, where you take your skills and use them and you earn a living from it, it gives you a sense of freedom and allows you to balance your life the way you want.

Be courageous. It’s one of the only places left uncrowded

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