Mike Greene: ‘I just don’t think politicians are really in touch with the real world’
Local business success story Mike Greene proves that determination, hard graft and clear life goals ultimately pay off handsomely. With his fortune secured, Mike has now achieved the perfect balance between family life, work time and his charitable causes. Clive Simpson popped along to meet this inspirational character – and glean a few tips in the process
Many of the most successful people have experienced their fair share of failure before going on to do great things. And international businessman Mike Greene would count himself as one of them. Born and raised on council estates, he’s worked hard to achieve a financially rewarding career after overcoming bankruptcy at the age of 27. Now he is a well-known business entrepreneur and angel investor, as well as a director of companies, trade associations, charities, marketing and retail organisations. Mike greets me enthusiastically when I arrive at his family home in the heart of the South Lincolnshire Fens. We chat sitting at the corner of a large farmhouse table in the family’s bright garden conservatory on a fine summer’s afternoon and it soon becomes evident that Peterborough’s very own Secret Millionaire is a man with a mission.
If there are any secrets when it comes to success in business and life then here might be some answers. His appearance on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire programme in November 2011 was a life-transforming experience.
Mike’s appearance on Secret Millionaire inspired him to commit one-third of his time to helping charities and mentoring others to help change their lives for the better
‘It really consolidated my thinking about my past and its effect on what I have subsequently achieved,’ says Mike. In the programme he became involved with various organisations working with underprivileged youngsters in Peterborough. ‘It was a deeply moving experience and I was affected by how selfless some people can be in giving so much of their time and emotion to these causes.’
But it was the kids themselves who proved the real eye-opener. ‘Most of them had a really tough start in their lives and all of them had some real challenges to contend with. However, the ways in which they chose to deal with them were very different.’ Afterwards, Mike sold his main business and took a three-month sabbatical during which he worked to raise £100,000 for 100 charities in 100 days. His appearance on the programme and subsequent challenge inspired him to commit one-third of his time to helping charities and mentoring others to help change their lives for the better. ‘We live in an instant world and too often we want a quick fix,’ he observes. ‘The National Lottery and programmes like X-Factor lead a lot of people to believe that we can get rich quick without hard work – but life isn’t like that.’
‘It wasn’t until the family moved to Peterborough when I was 11 that I finally got a bed to myself and no longer had to share with my siblings’
Mike’s own journey to fame and fortune stemmed from humble beginnings. His father abandoned the family when Mike was just a few years old, leading to eviction and living in an old people’s home before being re-housed in cramped, rented accommodation. ‘It wasn’t until the family moved to Peterborough when I was 11 that I finally got a bed to myself and no longer had to share with my siblings,’ he says. ‘Despite the tough early years, I always swore that I would be a successful businessman. Even as a young boy I told my mother that one day I would be a millionaire. And I really believed it.’
Today, Mike is living proof of his own mantra: ‘It’s not where you start that matters, it’s where you end up’. He’s a respected global retail consultant, an international speaker, a professional mentor, a philanthropist, an endurance adventurer and a passionate charity fundraiser. Above all he… [cont]