Mike Darrington has been group managing director of Greggs plc for two decades. He told the Entrepreneurs Forum some of the secrets of the company's success.

What are your tips for running a successful business?

I have always been my own man and I am not very good at singing from other people's hymn sheets. Bearing this in mind, I have always tried to give senior people in the business autonomy to do things their way and to set their own budgets and targets. It is important to empower people to make their own decisions as far as you are able to. You must listen to people because no one has the monopoly on good ideas. I try to treat everyone in the way I would like to be treated myself.

How do you keep your staff motivated, do you offer incentives?

The business is broken into divisions. Each one has its own bakery and distributes, retails and makes profits, ten per cent of which goes to the employees in that division on a scale based on position and length of service.

The company has a strong image and good products - where does the creative drive come from?

It comes from all of us. I set the scene, then the management board discuss the issues.

Have you considered a rights issue?

I am the one who is against a split, but I do think about it seriously. It may be a weakness, but I do not want to go with the flow. I ask: 'Would the business be worth any more? Would it add value?' I am not convinced it would."

Would you consider expanding into Europe?

We already have our first two shops in Belgium but it is a 'suck it and see' situation. And there are plenty of opportunities in the UK.

So where will the next big growth come from?

There is a big market out there and our job is to do better and to take a bigger share of it. There are all sorts of changes and possibilities, for example we have looked at going into ethnic areas, but the time is not quite right yet. I am only interested in the mainstream market and selling a lot of a few lines."