James Caan’s Top Essential Business Tips
“A successful entrepreneur is not someone who is looking to take the easy route and be part of the crowd”...
While there are no fixed rules for success, I do believe that it takes a certain type of person to succeed in business. When I am investing, I have a tendency to focus more on the person rather than the product, and if I do make an investment, it is almost always in the person themselves rather than in what service or product they are selling.
Throughout my career, I have learnt a number of valuable lessons which have helped me develop my skills in order to make the most of my experiences. Let me share some of them with you:
My principal philosophy in business is to ‘observe the masses and do the opposite’.
A successful entrepreneur is not someone who is looking to take the easy route and be part of the crowd, but an individual that is willing to stand out and swim against the tide in order to get ahead.
Innovation, confidence, conviction, passion and unquestioning belief in what you are doing are essential for success in business as these ingredients will ensure that you never stop swimming the second mile.
Entrepreneurs’ need to be prepared for things to not always work out as planned when things become unpredictable, it is necessary to be prepared to take risks. Failure must not be feared but should be a lesson from which you are willing to learn. Persistence is essential- who dares wins.
Determination however must be coupled with excellent presentation and communication skills as this will enable you to convince others of yourself and your idea, and to leave them sharing your passion too.
Another of my life-long strategies has always been to try to adopt a win-win formula. To really succeed in the long term, you need to make sure that the people around you win too. Relationships are crucial in business, so considering the wishes of others will encourage them to continue working with you at a later date.
Complacency is your enemy: No matter how successful you are, you should never rest on your laurels. Every year you should be wondering how to replicate or build on the success of the year before. A successful entrepreneur will always be looking to identify business opportunities in the environment in which he operates.
Never underestimate the value of your team and the support system that they provide you with to enable you to achieve great success. Motivate them and reward them in times of high performance.
In challenging times like a recession, have the ability to revaluate your strategies and if need be, to adapt your model to the changing climate. Perhaps opt for a smaller niche sector from which to withstand it - you may find this to be easier and a more manageable way to survive the recession. Reconsider your competition as it may very well have changed; your threat might now lie in start-up companies as opposed to the larger international firms who have previously posed a danger.
Finally, with tight budgets, be sure to embrace the web and social media as alternatives to simply using the traditional marketing tools.
With the current economic climate, here are some tips on how to stay on top of your business game during tougher times:
Scoop up your competitors whilst the economy is at a low and they are questioning their future- why wait until optimism kicks in and your rivals are back with a vengeance in a position where they can bite harder when you can swallow them up now to avoid any potential threats.
With the rise of personal income tax to over 50%, why not reinvest your profits in your business and enable it to grow instead of extracting them as salaries or dividends where you will lose a significant amount of your gains.
Why not try the British Airways approach, and ask your employees to work for free in a bid to save the company....you never know, it may just work/it’s worth a go!
Don’t you wish you had reduced your debt earlier in 2007 when borrowing was much more obtainable?! Well to protect yourself against further losses against the rise in interest rates, ensure that the rates for the period of the investment are fixed and that any borrowing is strictly in accordance with the Enterprise Act.
Be sure to check your insurance policy as it is likely that it may no longer be as beneficial as it once was. Certain goods may now be overstated whilst those no longer in your possession can be removed from your policy altogether, financially liberating you.
A simple way to stay afloat is by paying off your invoices on time; discounts can vary from 2-5% per invoice so now is the time to pull your socks up and get efficient, as there’s money to be made in organisation. If you can’t, however, please avoid ignoring them or bombarding them with pitiful excuses. Be honest as its times like these when you need them most.
“Instead of being swallowed up by the recession, why not opt for a smaller niche sector from which to withstand it, you may find this to be easier and more manageable.
With tax rates soaring, make sure that you do not part with any more money than is necessary and that each penny that you can claim, is CLAIMED!
Perhaps now is the time to brighten up the gloom and to take a holiday, in times like this, a little time away to clear your ahead can be exactly what the doctor ordered and your absence may even facilitate a flow of new ideas and solutions back in the office.
Strapped for cash? How about offering employees share options as an alternative incentive?
Sell off all slow-moving stocks and translate into cash.
In times of a recession, it is crucial to keep returning to your company’s budgets so that you are aware of the ill-performing areas and can therefore suggest their abandonment before it’s too late.
Remove any member of your company who is no longer an asset or contributing to the max. There is no longer any room for expensive people so maybe it’s time to put your company on a diet!
To ensure that lessons have been learned and that mistakes are not repeated from one recession to another, why not take up Anthony Holmes’ (Author of Managing Through Turbulent Times) simple recommendation of keeping a “recession diary”; 5 things you wish you had done prior to this recession that would have made life easier, 5 things you have learned to do while managing your business in this challenging period, and the 5 things that you have learned not to do when managing your business in this recession.