This morning I read a fantastic article by Lord Sugar on the Telegraph website.

Success? It’s down to you all the way: Lord Sugar

What I really love about his article is the simplicity and honesty of it.  Lord Sugar tells it how it is, cutting through the BS of the management gurus and pointing out some simple home truths:

Quite simply, your success is in your hands and only your hands:
May I suggest that whatever plans you are thinking of, don’t – repeat don’t – rely upon government or banks or anybody else to give you ideas? Unless you sign on to the fact that it is you alone that runs your business, you will be going down the wrong road. It’s all about you.

I was also pleasing to hear what he said about networking events.  I confess that I joined a few.  Everyone kept telling me that it was a great way to get business but always came away scratching my head and wondering why I couldn’t see the benefit.  It always felt like I was in a room full of suppliers and no customers.  Lord Sugar has this to say:

I am sick and tired of hearing people asking what to do, going to networking meetings and seminars expecting to glean some gems of wisdom. These events are money-making exercises and benefit one party and one party only: the organiser.

They have become an escape for people to justify sitting around wasting a day bullshitting with each other while they should be working. You will learn nothing other than that there are another load of people in the same boat as you.

Thank you Lord Sugar- it is good to find someone with the same viewpoint!

Lord Sugar then addresses the current trend to blame the banks for not lending.  I’m very much of the opinion that we to stop flogging this dead horse.  It is now 2011 and about time that we ceased using the banks as an excuse and a cover-up for our own failure to generate the wealth that we need to bring us out of recession.

Moaning about the banks is another thing that winds me up. Get real! Banks are a business just like you. They are there to make money from their customers and just like you, the more customers they have the more they will make for their shareholders. They are not a charity and they do not have to lend money to any Tom, Dick and Harry. They are not cheap – they’ll charge you to breathe, with arrangement fees and other costs.

For the last two years the banking sector has been bombarded by two simultaneous and contradictory criticisms:

  • The first being that they should reduce their lending as too much of it has been to high-risk businesses, markets and individuals.
  • The second being that they should increase their lending to businesses  – in spite of the increased risk of failure due to being in a recession.

The truth is, if you go to the bank with a well presented and sound proposition, they will lend you the money.  It isn’t that the banks are not lending – it is that business isn’t borrowing.

Finally, I’d like to thank Lord Sugar for highlighting that making money in business is actually very simple:

It is incredible that the simple basics of business go out of the window with all of these modern-day so-called theories and principles. You don’t need spreadsheets and complex business plans; you need a pencil and a plain sheet of paper.

As mad as it might sound, I wanted to cover my expense by Wednesday of every week so that profits made on Thursday and Friday were going to accumulate to net assets. I needed targets. There were weeks when I didn’t make it and I had to find the determination to step up a gear the next week to try to make up the deficit

No Lord Sugar, you are not mad – quite the opposite.

2 Responses to Success? It’s down to you all the way: Lord Sugar
  1. This is the comment I left on the Times post Adrian!

    Wendy Ager
    01/06/2011 07:07 PM
    I can’t say I agree with Lord Sugar’s view of networking. Small businesses often work on referrals. I’d recommend this strategy from a post I read about the idea, ‘Know me, Like me, Follow me’, being great for small businesses that works for networking.

    Having said that, there are those who are what I call ‘serial networkers’, and I too wonder how much work they are actually doing or getting when they are spending vast amounts of their time at these events!

    I don’t think he means not to take on advice and support in areas where you need other’s expertise.

    The general theme of what he says rings true though, with me, and I agree that it only us that can make it a success, and taking responsibility for our actions is paramount to ensuring that success. I don’t think he means not to take on advice and support in areas where you need other’s expertise.

    • Thanks for your comment, Wendy.

      The thing is, I actually agree with all that you have said. Perhaps the difference is in what we thought Lord Sugar meant by networking events? I was reading Steve Clarke’s blog post on the same subject. In it he refers to “Monday Moaning Meetings” which Steve agrees are a waste of time. It was this very type of networking meeting that I took it that Lord Sugar was describing.

      Of course, networking in it’s broader sense is a vital part of doing business, and I am in complete agreement with you and Steve on this point. I really enjoy meeting other like-minded people, building relationships, adding value. It is only by giving of ourselves to the community that the community gives back. Quite simply, the framework of business relies on networking and cannot function without it.

      The phrase ‘Know me, Like me, Follow me’ is one that has been ringing in my ear over the last week. As I mentioned on Twitter today; each day I learn a little bit more about Social Media but also realise that there is even more again to learn.

      I guess I’d just been to a few Monday Moaning Meetings at the time of writing that blog entry?


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