Thursday, October 21, 2010

Business Tips from the Dragons' Den

A privilege and honour to be nominated for the Mount Pearl Chamber of Commerce's annual Best in Business Innovation Award last night, it was an equal pleasure to listen to Dianne Buckner of Dragons' Den fame share her Top 10 Tips - those characteristics that successful entrepreneurs share - straight from the Den!  I paraphrase as I summarise them here.  The list should be read in reverse for order of priority.

  1. Successful entrepreneurs know how to get to YES.  They seek to understand where their "target" is coming from, what would be important to him/her and how to make a pitch that will get an ultimate yes.

  2. When pitching a solution, successful entrepreneurs remain open and flexible.  By being agreeable they negotiate until a deal emerges that is good for all the parties involved.

  3. Tough times are not necessarily bad times. Most successful people have the ability to deal with circumstances that present themselves at the moment and many success stories such as Home Depot started in times of recession. Tough times can spur great creativity.

  4. Successful people stay abreast of trends.  In this age of fast paced innovation there is no shortage of new trends.  While eco-friendly economics and social media are currently hot trends, Dianne also cited the example of a company who came up with temporary phone numbers - used like a disposable phone number that could be useful for online dating etc.)

  5. Successful entrepreneurs are brief.

  6. A comfort level with their own weaknesses - successful entrepreneurs understand that they cannot be great at everything and they have a plan for dealing with them.  They understand that there is always something to compensate for.

  7. Contrary to popular belief, successful people proceed with caution.  They go out on a limb with caution.

  8. Hard work.  No surprise here and no way of avoiding it.  Successful entrepreneurs work exceptionally hard.

  9. Success also requires not to work too hard. Successful people define success by something broader than money.  Working too hard always takes a toll - health and relationships being first in line.

  10. Persistence.  Successful entrepreneurs learn and get better continuously.

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