I never stood at the beginning of my journey thinking I’m going to be an entrepreneur. I stood at the beginning of my journey thinking I actually can’t work for anybody.
I hear a lot said about passion. Passion is absolutely brilliant, but being passionate too early can be a very, very dangerous thing.
You know, I think the downs are as important in life as the ups but it’s how you handle those downs.
Deborah Meaden’s Top 10 Rules For Success
Evan: She’s an English business woman who ran a multi-million dollar family holiday business.
She’s now best known for her appearances on BBC’s Dragons’ Den. She has an estimated net worth of 40 million pounds.
She’s Deborah Meaden, and here’s my take on her top ten rules for success.
Rule number nine is my personal favorite. And make to stick around all the way until the end for some special bonus clips.
And as always if Deborah says something that really inspires you please leave it in the comments below. And put quotes around it so other people can be inspired as well.
Rule #1: Think around things
Rule #2: Love what you do
Rule #3: Don’t fool yourself
Rule #4: Think about your why
Rule #5: Handle bad times
Rule #6: Understand the market
Rule #7: Be fair and honest
Rule #8: Learn from failures
Rule #9: Have role models
Rule #10: Have fun
Protect your identity
Stay cool under pressure
Watch your customers
Rule #1: Think Around Things
I never stood at the beginning of my journey thinking I’m going to be an entrepreneur. I stood at the beginning of my journey thinking I actually can’t work for anybody. So my only real choice was to actually set up in business on my own.
And then I learnt through my business experience that actually I enjoyed the moments of yes we did it. And I actually oddly enjoyed the really difficult moments where you think oh what have I done what have I done? Because what entrepreneurs do, do is that they don’t see barriers, they do see ’round them.
It’s amazing the amount of entrepreneurs that I know that are dyslexic and I believe that’s because they’ve always had to think around things. They’ve had to find a different way to do things and that is something an entrepreneur does. One of the things I was asked to talk about today is some of the barriers that I’ve come across. Do you know I don’t think I have. And I obviously have but it’s kind of part of life.
It’s what you do as an entrepreneur. You get a problem you look at it and you talk to people. And you walk around a bit. And you think oh, that’s how you can solve that. And then you move on you don’t stand there for hours thinking, oh, wasn’t that difficult and didn’t we do well you just get on with it.
And for me that is a really, really important part of when you’re running a business ’cause you know. We all know it can get really, really tough.
Rule #2: Love What You Do
Interviewer: Do you think that people should go for something that they feel comfortable with?
Definitely, I think in business it’s really important well I think to be good at something you have to enjoy it, you have to love it. But the truth is I’m sure there’s many things that I didn’t know I was going to enjoy dancing, I didn’t discover that ’til I was 55.
So there’s many things in life that you can enjoy, but if you do find something then that sets you on your way. It sets you on good stead if you actually like the thing you’re doing.
Rule #3: Don’t Fool Yourself
Don’t fool yourself be absolutely honest and clear over your idea. Is it a good idea, is it a bad idea? Why am I doing it, what is my motivation? This is essential in every walk in life but it’s absolutely crucial for entrepreneurs.
I can remember times in my business life where I’ve actually done things because I wanted to do them. I had to convince myself that it was a brilliant idea simply because I wanted to do it.
And there’s a world of difference between actually taking a cool critical look at what it is you’re about to do and then getting passionate. I hear a lot said about passion. Passion is absolutely brilliant, but being passionate too early can be a very, very dangerous thing.
Rule #4: Think About Your Why
I’m going to say something else about business and I think it’s the most important thing that I have learnt. Before you start your business or in your early days think about why you’re doing it. Everybody in this room will have a different reason.
And if it is just to make money you’re a business person. If it’s because of something else if it’s because of a passion if it’s because you’ve seen something that you really, really want to do and you’ve got a burning desire to do it, that tips you into being an entrepreneur. Because being in business is more. No, I’m going to put this a different way business is about creating the thing for you that you want you want out of your life.
And it’s that old adage of am I working to live, or am I living to work? And business is your tool to create that life. The trouble is as we get into business, as business gets bigger and as it grows, we can forget that.
Think to yourselves why am I doing this?
We get forget the reason we started in the first place and we can get completely overcome with all of the issues and the problems that we have. So before you start or at the very early stages of your journeys think to yourselves why am I doing this? What is my motivation? And write yourself a letter because in those tough and hard times when we’ve all had them. When we all think I cannot believe I’ve gotten myself into it, that is the letter you need to get out. And you need to remember.
And also you need to remember in the times when your customers are looking at you in a very confused way saying, “I don’t recognize you anymore. “You’re not what you told me you were.” You need to get that letter out again and you need to see the promises you’ve made to yourself and you need to see the promises you’ve made to your letter. Oh, to your letter, to your customers.
“So before you start or at the very early stages of your journeys think to yourselves why am I doing this?” – Deborah Meaden
Rule #5: Handle Bad Times
Interviewer: You’ve had your downs as well as very substantial ups didn’t you?
Well, you know I think the downs are as important in life as the ups. But it’s how you handle those downs. The downs never stopped me the downs made the think mm, didn’t like that failing. I really don’t like that feeling. What do I learn from it? And therefore what do I go on and do differently?
Interviewer: Rather than it knocking you out, it inspired you to have another go did it?
Absolutely do you know oddly I think the disliking the downs outweighed the enjoying the highs. So I kind of focus more on I don’t want to do that again I want to get it right.
Rule #6: Understand The Market
Another critical point is research. It is so important to understand as much as you can about the market you’re about to enter if you’re going to minimize risk. Yes, being an entrepreneur is about taking risks but you can minimize that risk by fully understanding what you’re about to do.
That involves market research, understanding your customer, knowing what the market’s all about. Where I’m going to get the products from. It’s all the research that you should identify very, very early on.
What do I need to know? In addition to that, you also need to know the numbers that you need to know. So it’s no good just guessing well you know there’s probably a few million people out there who’ll probably buy the product.
Make sure you’re very specific. Come up with list, the key information you need to find out go and find out and don’t make your decision to enter that market until you’ve got all of that information.
Rule #7: Be Fair And Honest
Host: I like the line and I think this is great, that I’m not always nice but I’m always fair. Yeah, I mean I get I can be quite tough and I know that. But to be honest I could for the populist vote, I know what people will want me to say.
I know the nice thing to say but actually I think it’s quite unkind to lead people to believe that they should carry on with something that actually is going to fail. So I think I’m doing my job and I think I’m doing the right thing by saying don’t do that.
I never stood at the beginning of my journey thinking I’m going to be an entrepreneur. I stood at the beginning of my journey thinking I actually can’t work for anybody. So my only real choice was to actually set up in business on my own. – Deborah Meaden
Rule #8: Learn From Failures
Interviewer: Over all that very thumbnail sketch of a very interesting and a very inspiring life, what do you think you’ve learnt most? I mean what would you do differently in other words?
Do you know, I wouldn’t do anything differently because I think getting things wrong is, as we’ve just talked about getting things wrong is as important as getting things right. So I wouldn’t change anything because actually I have learnt a lot.
And the thing that I’ve learnt is I know what I value in life. I know what’s important to me. I know what I want to spend my time doing. I know the differences that I want to make. And, more important I absolutely know what I don’t want to do.
Rule #9: Have Role Models
I mean role models are really, really important. I could name you a lot of people I meet everyday and some of them are people I’m invested in. Some of the people I’ve worked alongside with you wouldn’t know any of them.
Because when I walk through life what I’ve realized is nobody has it all. And when we look at role models we tend to think that’s it that’s the person I want to be. Trust me however many times Evan says I’m the expert in everything, I’m not. Nobody has it all. But what I do realize is people in life that I meet do something extraordinary and I think that was brilliant. That was fantastic and I pick up that information, I put it in my tool box.
And when I need it I’ll remember, I’ll go back to them and I’ll think that was brilliant. So my role models don’t have names. They have moments and experiences and there are people who I could just roll off and you’d think who’s she talking about? And that’s my tip to you. Don’t look for that in one person that you can say that’s who I want to be. Look across the range and think that’s the moment, that’s the person, that’s the person I want. I remember that, I remember how they dealt with that.
Rule #10: Have Fun
Interviewer: Who would get the most money if tables were turned and you had to pitch an idea in the den?
Let me guess.
Don’t say you said Deborah.
Interviewer: Who is the most stubborn in the den?
We actually agreed.
Interviewer: Who looks more intimidating in the den?
I hesitated but I probably do sadly.
Interviewer: Who is more likely to team up with another dragon for an investment?
Yeah, yeah I’d say that’s a fair one, yeah.
Did we go .
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Interviewer: Who has the best working wardrobe?
Interviewer: Which of you is the stingiest in the den?
Neither where’s my neither paddle?
I think that’s fair did you go neither? I wouldn’t say either of us are stingy we’re just competitive.
We’re just very generous big hearted people.
Interviewer: Who makes the flashiest purchases?
Interviewer: Who takes the longest in hair and makeup on set?
Oh shut up!
To be fair I was lying. I definitely take longer than Peter.
Interviewer: Who has had the most successful investment since the den started?
Just Google it. Can we have on more question like this?
Interviewer: Who is more likely to get their investment chosen against Duncan Bannatyne?
Oh either both.
Interviewer: Great, thank you very much.
Thank you guys so much for watching. I made this video because I Amit Arora asked me to. So if there’s a famous entrepreneur that you want me to profile next, leave it down in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do.
I’d also love to know which of the clips meant the most to you. What did Deborah say that really left it’s mark on you? Leave it in the comments I’m going to join in the discussion.
Finally, I wanted to give a quick shout out to Torsten Kuehn, I hope I pronounced that okay. Torsten, thank you so much for picking up a copy of my book, it really, really, really means a lot to me. So thank you guys again for watching, I believe in you, I hope you continue to believe in yourselves, and whatever your one word is. Much love, I’ll see you soon.
Protect Your Identity
My career, my business love of my life really. The last time I worked in a business was Weststar Holidays. And Weststar Holidays by the time I sold it we were providing about 200000 holidays a year.
And I loved that business, I absolutely lived, ate, and breathed it. And actually I almost would have felt disloyal to go on and run another business, I really loved it. I was asked to talk about IP today.
And I thought well actually in Weststar, in the traditional terms you wouldn’t necessarily have considered the IP of that business. But of course there’s IP in everything you do. Everybody thinks of IP as you’ve seen me on Dragons’ Den.
You know, I have to look at the patterns. I can’t help myself. Patterns, trademarks, all of those things. But actually IP is much more than that and protection of that IP is much more than that. There is the legal protection. Is this important to protect it? Is it protect-able? Does it actually matter? That’s the legal side of it. But there is also the brand protection. The things that Cobra Beer has done so brilliantly.
They made this wonderful thing. I just know they would protect that to the ends of the Earth. What does Cobra Beer mean, nobody is going to take that away from them. So that whole thing it’s not just about legal protection.
What really matters to this business? Why do the customers really like me? And I’m not going to move away from that because I know that’s what my customers want. And as businesses get bigger we can sometimes lose that.
We can sometimes forget what it is that out customers want and we kind of think, oo should we try a new. Well we’ve done that let’s try something else. And before you know it you’re doing something completely different.
And your customers are looking at you and kind of, “Weren’t you the people who promised me that? “And you’re over here somewhere.” So that is the whole protection of what you are and who you are is really, really for me, very, very important.
Stay Cool Under Pressure
Important to be able to stay cool under pressure. Now this obviously is when you enter the den that’s very important because you’ve got to get your message across but that is so in business life. Because if you can’t stand up to the pressure in the den, trust me you are not going to be able to stand up to the pressures that actually happen out there in real business life. So remember to do whatever it is that you’ve got to do to prepare yourself to make sure that you do not crumble under pressure.
Watch Your Customers
Interviewer: What are your favorite rules do you have any favorite rules?
The one that I do keep banging on about is I hear so often people saying keep in touch with your customer. You know the customer’s king or the customer’s really important and then they completely ignore them. And it’s just to me so obvious. Watch your customer, respond to your customer. They’re changing all the time, I’m a different person today than I was last year.