The 100 things you need to know to start your own business

So you want to start your own business? Maybe you have a killer idea that you’re crazy sure is going to make millions. The good news is that you’ve taken the first step. You’re reading this! You are at the start of an incredible mega marathon. The starting line is crowded with wannabe entrepreneurs but only the fittest make it over the finishing line.  Many fall at the first hurdle and others don’t have the stamina and tenacity to stay the pace. Take heart because over twenty years building businesses  I’ve learned the hard way how to get over that line so now you don’t have to. There are 100 things you absolutely need to know and do to make that idea a reality and start your own business.

The world is full of armchair entrepreneurs. The compelling format of Dragons’ Den is based on that desire in all of us to do our own thing and be our own boss. I can’t tell you how many times people stopped me in the street and told me why I should have invested in one particular idea or another or why I was wrong to invest in others. When we’re locked in the Den I can hear the echo of those at home saying ‘I could do that’. And here’s the thing, they could. There is a successful business owner in all of us if someone shows us how. This book is for you if you want to stop talking about your great idea and start working on making it a reality.

In my time in the Den there were never any shortage of ideas, some mad and others that had potential. What I learned is that it always comes down to the person. I invest in people with potential rather than vague ideas because if you have what it takes I can teach you the rest. Since Dragons den I have helped well over 1000 start-up entrepreneurs who believed they had that one thing the world was waiting for – even if the world didn’t know it yet. The transformation from idea to business is not for the feint-hearted but if you’re up for the challenge then I’m ready to help you with some essential, practical and hard-earned advice.

If I had known then what I know now I might have avoided some of the pitfalls. People who get to the top often sanitise the journey but I am willing to share with you all of the secrets.  I want you to learn from my experience. I’m successful in business because I was willing to be sponge-like, to soak up as much learning as I could garner. I was determined and self-disciplined but I was also willing to be flexible, to be open to a different way and to adapt to changing circumstances.

Trailblazers have to have all those qualities and more. You need to take risks, but more importantly to balance those risks with the science and weigh up the rewards and punishments of pulling it off or taking a fall. Disciplined dedication and hard work needs to go hand in hand with passion and enthusiasm and when things go wrong you need to move on quickly. I raced out of those traps believing I could run the world and make millions along the way. Self-belief and a hefty dose of naivety got me so far.  I was hurtling headlong over those obstacles, patching up my bruised ego and losing time while others out ran me and got ahead of the curve. Failure is life’s harshest and best teacher. I’m the better for all of those knocks and so were my businesses. In saying that I think I could have done with a lot less of it. Stick with me and I will chart a course through for you.

Above all else remember that you have the potential to make something tangible from that big idea, you can own your own business and control your own destiny. I have proven time and again that anyone can be a business owner with the right mentorship and advice. In my last television series I worked with young women from the Traveller Community who had very little advantages in life, one had only had ten weeks schooling and hadn’t learned to read or write. Over the course of eight months I worked alongside them, coaching, mentoring and motivating them and all four were transformed into business women with all the skills and competence to earn their own living. Owning and running your own business can happen much quicker than you imagine. Don’t just dream about it happening in the future – make it happen now.

This much I know…there are no shortcuts. It boils down to 100 things you need to know to make your business fly. My new book will be a constant as you transform that killer idea into a fully-fledged business. Learn fast, fail fast and start fast.

Coming soon…