63 Duke Street London W1 1991 to 1994
Following the closure of Noble Warren Investments Ltd it was no longer viable for me financially to maintain the Offices at 50 Maddox Street, and so I terminated the lease as soon as was possible.
I wanted to stay in the same area of London with which I was familiar, and was not ready to leave the office environment. For me, working from home was a last resort and would not encourage entrepeneurial activity. It was important to have an office, where meetings with potential customers and colleagues could be held while I looked for the next business opportunity. And – more importantly – this was before the widespread availability of Broadband and high speed internet which would make running a business from home that much easier.
Through my previous connections, I discovered that the existing tenant and owner of the lease on 63 Duke Street, part of the portfolio of UK Property Company Land Securities Ltd, was looking to surrender the 15 year lease and was willing to pay a reverse premium. This was a commercial property and it was also a good address in London’s West End within easy reach of the Central Line and Jubilee Line underground stations of Oxford Circus and Bond Street respectively. The rent was reasonably low and the property in reasonable condition. There were two or three sub-tenants in the building at the time who I hoped would remain, and from whom I would collect rent which would contribute towards the amount payable in the lease agreement. I made the commercial decision to take over the lease – I had office furniture and equipment from Maddox Street that I could transfer to the new offices, and the Reverse Premium I received was enough to cover the payments due under the terms of the lease for a couple of years.
As with the previous offices in Maddox Street, I started with the top floor of the building, which was essentially a house in the period style with 3 floors and a large basement used at the time for storage. The ground floor was not part of the lease, and was a fastfood restaurant. The first second and third floors consisted of one large room overlooking the street. There was no lift – again a slight drawback – and stairs connected the first and subsequent floors via a secure front door, with an intercom system for each floor.
The top floor started as my personal office, and was “open plan”, with an interesting feature which was a small roof garden accessible by ladder! As before, I used the Panasonic telephone system to interconnect between floors and make outside calls.
Close by were Portman Square and Manchester Square, pleasant places to have a walk or relax, and Oxford Street, with Marks and Spencers and Selfridges, was two minutes on foot.
Activities, Businesses and Personalities
When I moved to 63 Duke Street in 1991, the first order of business was to find an alternative source of income which would replace Financial Services and to create new trading Companies as vehicles for any new enterprises.
I first formed Mayfair Mortgage Service Ltd in July 1991 as an umbrella company for any current or future property dealings or interests.
The obvious place to start was in Sales and Marketing, and over the course of the next few years I formed three UK companies which were Marketing companies. I liked the word “Power” and used it as part of each of the names.
Powerpen Ltd. This company was for once not my brainchild, and was the first “power” company formed in March 1992. The products were different types of Pen from the most simple to the more expensive which were marketed by a form of MLM which encouraged the sale of the “powerpen”. The pens were despatched to customers from the offices.
Powerhouse Marketing Ltd. This company was formed in September 1992 with the intention of using the name for any general marketing projects.
Power Communcations Ltd was also formed in September 1992 with the purpose of focussing more on business linked to products or services related to telecoms and communications.
New Companies, Officers and Duke Street Personalities.
All the Power Companies had Directors in common – namely myself, Paul Hesling, William Welch and Martin Hopper. I first met all three at 63 Duke Street, although I cannot remember the exact circumstances.
Paul Hesling was a tall “larger than life” character with a great sense of humour and personality, and I am certain that he would have been successful at GCP or Merchant Investors or any other sales oriented business. He worked very closely with best friend Will Welch, and they were both involved with various marketing schemes before I met them. Martin Hopper was a quieter more serious personality, and he also had experience in MLM Sales and Marketing. Powerpen was the first and last project that we were all actively involved with, and Paul’s idea, and unfortunately it was no more than modestly successful.
I have since tried to “track them down”, hoping that I would find them on LinkedIn or Facebook, but without success. The information available from Companies House does mention a Paul Philip Hesling as a Director for a company called Energy7 Ltd but I am not certain that this is the same Paul Hesling.
They were all talented marketing consultants, and – importantly for me – possessed the “entrepeneurial spirit”. They were also great company, and it was a pleasure for me to be able to focus on new ideas with them. They moved on to other marketing businesses as my attention turned to another opportunity – in the UK Telecommunications Market – but the parting was wholly amicable.
The next chapter in my entrepeneurial journey was about to start with Nationwide Power Communications Ltd