Business development · 31 July 2019

Advice on growing your business from Lord Sugar and Piers Morgan

It’s strange to think that Lord Alan Sugar and Piers Morgan, two people who seem poles apart, were, only a few weeks ago, sitting in a room together dolling out savvy business advice to the masses – but that’s exactly what happened. The event in question? Climbcon, a dynamic and ‘inspiration first’ business event where industry leaders tell success hungry audiences how they made it big – and what others can do to follow in their footsteps.

Whilst one is a globally recognised journalist and social-political commentator, and the other a self-made billionaire and host of one of the most successful reality TV shows in the world, they are more similar than you might think. After all, both have experienced massive success and can draw on their early experiences to help other entrepreneurs stay motivated whilst scaling up. Here’s the advice they offer our readers on entrepreneurship and hitting it big.

Business Advice, (BA): How can business owners expand their team without taking out a loan?

Alan Sugar, (AS): When you start to get sales coming in for the first time, it’s really exciting. But it’s hard to know when it’s the right time to expand your team to keep up with the new demand. The key is that you don’t need to go big right away. It’s ok to start small, sometimes even only with only one employee, and build the business up slowly.

BA: What advice can you give to people who are making the transition from employee to business owner?

AS: Work hard obviously! It’s a competitive market out there, whatever sector you’re operating in. However, quality is the most important thing you need to build yourself a solid reputation when you’re starting out.

BA: What can entrepreneurs do to stay motivated whilst they’re working on making their business profitable? 

Piers Morgan, (PM): Retaining your passion is important. If you don’t have the passion then you won’t have the hunger to get out of bed in the morning.

The businesses you see that are successful have passionate people behind them. If you look at Rupert Murdoch, he has an absolute visceral love for print media. He can talk about for hours.

Look at Donald Trump, he loves real estate. Before he became president, he lived and breathed it. Ask yourself, do you have a passion for what you do? – Or is it just a job?

BA: Is achieving success down to luck or right place, right time?

PM: Yes, you need luck. The old saying is the harder you work, the luckier you get. I always say that I worked harder than most of the people I worked with when I was a young journalist. If you work hard, you make your own luck.

Bur resilience is really important too. In modern life, I think we’re battling a bit of a problem with this at the moment – where everyone is a little ‘woe is me.’

Egg and spoon race concepts where everyone gets a prize is quite frankly –  ridiculous. In the business world, if something fails, you get nothing – and that’s the reality.

BA: Do you find it hard to balance work and home life?

PM: No, because my wife has understood what I was about right from the start. It all goes back to the passion and hunger thing. You can’t change someone who has worked hard their whole life.

Furthermore, they’re not going to be exactly the same person they were when you first met them. You can’t change the thing that made them successful in the first place, but finding a balance is important.

AS: My wife and I met at sixteen years old and were married by nineteen. She’s only known me as a man who works hard. She recognised that all I wanted to do was work work, work. However, seeing how my own kids interact with their children is different. I never saw my children during the week when I was working during the early days, I only saw them on the weekends.

BA: What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who are trying to contact potential investors for support?

PM: This advice can work for any entrepreneur, no matter what industry they’re in or what they’re trying to do. For example, I get lots of emails every single day with people asking me for things. Essentially, none of us has time for niceties, so my advice would be to keep the message to the point. If you’re looking for something, whether it’s a favour or funding, don’t start asking about my wife and kids!

Click here for updates about when the next great Climbcon event will take place…

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Annie May is the Features Editor at Real Business and Business Advice. Following her graduation from LSE, she embarked upon a freelance career in current affairs journalism. Annie has written on subjects varying from African history and contemporary politics to community business and current affairs news in London. At Real Business and Business Advice, Annie is passionate about highlighting inclusive and diverse business disruptors and organisations for our evolving readership. Annie believes in fostering community inclusion and has volunteered for organisations such as Fairfield House, a UK based Rastafari centre and a senior citizen association for ethnic minority men and women.

Business development