I met up with the inspirational, entrepreneur and multi millionaire Alfie Best at the beginning of December and what better place to meet than in Selfridges in my quiet new spot the Fount Bar, which is perfect for informal relaxed meetings and wonderful cocktails by expert sommelier and world-renowned bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana (AKA Mr Lyan) (surrounded by luxury bags btw).
I must say this…In my time I have met plenty of similar individuals through my work as an editor of MiliOnAir and before that going back through my career. All of the people I have been lucky enough to meet have been absolutely wonderful, but I must admit I have never met such a lovely down to earth person such as Alfie. So I am excited to share with the World…Mr. Alfie Best
MOA: You were bought up in a Romany Gypsy Family, how did your upbringing make you the person you are today?
AB: Being brought up into a gypsy family means being brought up into an extremely close family that taught me how to be very diverse. Even though we were very poor, it did teach me the value of money too: knowing it’s one of the easiest things to part with and hardest things to make.
MOA: Like most inspirational people I know, they have had a tough childhood in one way or another, how was yours and did it help you become more balanced in life and in business?
AB: Others may see my childhood as a tough time; however, I don’t think it was. Even though we were poor, by that time I didn’t realise how poor we actually were, so I’m honest when I say that I was extremely happy! I believe I have always been a well-balanced person and I will never change. As a Gipsy you are always put down. I am very proud that I have been accepted.
MOA: Did you learn a lot from your parents of how to work hard from a young age and did they steer you on the right path?
AB: My mother and father are both massive inspirations as both of them are the hardest working people. They work 7 days a week. As we all know, if you do what you love, you will be successful. It was the guidance of my parents and the hard work ethic they have passed on that set me to climb the ladder of success.
MOA: Also did your parents teach you the value of money or has that come from learning from life, learning, mistakes or problems?
From a very early age I’ve always been told to save for a rainy day. I can say there is a little bit of that and a few mistakes, but I have learnt to be happy with spend a little and save a lot.
MOA: We are amazed that you had your first business at the age of 16! A van hire centre and dealership in Forest Gate, how did that happen?
AB: From an early age I got into motor trade and I first started buying and selling vehicles: buying and refurbishing them and putting them in the local newspaper. I then moved on to buy a van dealership at the age of 16. I felt I knew everything and I didn’t feel young at all. I look back now and I feel young though.
MOA: Was there ever a time in your life that you felt like giving up and working for someone else? Or was that never an option?
AB: Yes, there have been times in my life I felt that way. Not many…but I can think of one in particular: the early 90’s recession, when I lost almost everything I had. However, through the nurture of my mother and father, the grit they installed in me… it was not an option to give up. Just brush myself down, get back up on the horse and ride it.
MOA: People now days like to hear about failures, struggles and see the mistakes as they want the full story or bigger picture of the person behind the office desk, do you wear your heart on your sleeve in business and own up to any disasters?
AB: I’ve had many disasters which at the time seemed like the world was crumbling. Most of these did, eventually, turn into opportunities. In the world of business, no matter how big or small, we all learn every day. Our disasters should always be treated as learning curves.
Success: Alfie Best, 45, was born at the roadside into a poor gipsy family but is now worth £200m
MOA: Have you ever been down to your last penny, if so, what happened and what did you do?
AB: Yes I have. I went back to basics and looked at the bigger picture, why it happened and the possibilities I could choose from. So I started from scratch, rolled my sleeves up and did what everybody else wouldn’t.
MOA: You own Wyldecrest Parks, which is a huge worldwide mobile residential and holiday home business, how did that happen and how has it grown so fast and will we be seeing Wyldecrest in far flung places around the world?
AB: I’d recently sold my mobile phone business to an existing operator and then started in the commercial property sector. Being a Gipsy, born and bred in a caravan, what better business to be involved with? Hence Wyldecrest was born in 2001. In the last 15 years we have become one of the largest Park and Holiday Home operators in the UK and we’re expanding overseas.
MOA: What sort of people do you attract to your Wyldecrest Homes? Is there anything for first time buyers young or older?
AB: Most of the residential customers we tend to attract are over 50’s, who are looking to downsize and release some equity, and who also want some peace and quiet to spend their golden years. We do own and operate some family holiday parks too.
MOA: How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
AB: Our most successful form of marketing is reputation. We are ISO 9001 accredited, we have the first Primary Authority Agreement regarding Fire Safety within the mobile park industry and we won the 2015 LondonlovesExcellence Retail & Property Business Award. Wyldecrest gives to its resident’s peace of mind that they are coming on board with a good company.
MOA: What are your typical traits as a person? We know determination is one of them, but you must have superman powers to keep going as you do.
AB: I don’t have superman powers. I have the businesses I am in. I treat my businesses just like a lady: with honour, respect and integrity. By treating your business as something you love, it’ll love you back.
MOA: What have been the key milestones for the business?
AB: I believe some massive milestone were to become ISO 9001 accredited, fire department and home authority with trading standards agreement. These milestones have not been achieved easily but have set the bar high for each year.
MOA: Can you let us in on a typical Alfie day? Wake up, breakfast, meditate, go for a jog, emails from bed???
AB: My day consists of getting up at 6am; going for a 30-minute run, coming home, having a shower, shave and getting dressed. I get to the office for 9am and try to visit each department to see what is going on and try and have a meeting with at least one of the departments. I leave the office at around 4pm and travel to one of my parks. I usually get home around 8:30pm.
‘My mother and father are both massive inspirations as both of them are the hardest working people’
‘My father is my biggest inspiration’
MOA: Do you like to stay low key or are you a Snap chatter, Tweeter live broadcast type of person?
AB: I cannot say I am a low key person. I’m not a Snap chatter but I do use Twitter and Facebook just so all of the residents on my parks and potential customers can keep up with what I am doing.
MOA: Who is your greatest inspiration?
AB: My father is my biggest inspiration; I have looked up to him ever since I was little.
MOA: Do you have any time to mentor aspiring entrepreneur’s?
AB: Yes, and I am currently mentoring 3 young entrepreneurs with their businesses to help them grow.
MOA: Aside from Wyldecrest Parks, have you invested in any other business’s?
MOA: What is the most challenging aspect of being a self-made multimillionaire now?
AB: As your business grows the most challenging aspect for me is that we are constantly trying to grow as well as manage to keep the business down on safe ground.
MOA: If you have time…What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
AB: I don’t get much spare time but with the spare time I have I like boxing. I am a fully qualified amateur boxing coach. I like training in my spare time.
The father-of-two has made his name through his business, Wyldecrest Parks, which now has more than 40 sites across the country
MOA: What makes you happy?
AB: Seeing people who work with me achieve their goals for the businesses we are all involved with as this allows us to live our dreams. Also, seeing my residents happy and knowing that we contributed for them to have a better quality of life.
MOA: Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
AB: Uber. It is a sensational business that has not only simplified the business sector that they are in but the team has driven against opposition.
MOA: Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 years? 20 years?
AB: Within 10 years I see myself no different than I am today and hopefully doing the same thing. And hopefully I’ll see my businesses getting bigger and bigger.
MOA: If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask yourself?
AB: Is there a price to success? And are you happy?
MOA: Not many people know but there is another Alfie Best (your son), has he followed in your footsteps (and can we interview him for our next issue)?
AB: Yes, he has, he currently operates 2 mobile park homes that he purchased himself and I’m sure he would love to be interviewed for your next issue.
Thank you Alfie, it was fabulous to meet you and I appreciate the time you spent meeting me and answering the questions as I know how busy you are.
Catch Alfie in MilliOnAir Global Magazine
Connect with Alfie Best