Some years ago, I interviewed Duncan Bannatyne as part of my research into high-performing entrepreneurs. The first time I first met him, Duncan wasn’t as famous as he is today; he hadn’t yet starred in Dragons’ Den. However, he was a hyper-successful entrepreneur who was listed in the Sunday Times Rich List and could buy dragon raja account freely choose how he spent his time. In fact, Duncan had bid £7,000 at a charity auction and won a walk-on-part in a Guy Richie movie. He enjoyed it so much, he decided he wanted to become an actor – and let his people run his companies (in here is a clue to Duncan’s success!)
He told me he’d just finished studying at the New York Film Academy, which is off the Strand near Trafalgar Square in London, but his subsequent auditions hadn’t gone well. Even with this lack of success in the movies, his star quality and ‘winning smile’ shone through, and it’s no surprise to me that Duncan has become a household name for his TV work.
I interviewed Duncan at the Park Lane hotel in Piccadilly, asking the same questions I had asked many UK entrepreneurs.
Duncan said one thing to me that day which, at the time, didn’t register with the potency it does now as I look back and reflect on those particular words.
He told me he had a Board meeting the following day and that he should have looked at his accounts but didn’t because he knew they were going to be fantastic.
How did Duncan know? He knew because he had people in his company who thought and acted like him. He had people he could trust in his absence to run the business and make decisions for him, while he went off pursuing his own acting career, and in later years his own television career.
His people think and act like business owners.
Let’s look at what is going on in the mind of a business owner, the mind of somebody like Duncan Bannatyne, and the mindset and attitude you need to develop in your own employees, so that they too think, act and make decisions like a business owner.
1. Confidence and Belief
The starting point for success for any great business leader is true inner self-belief and confidence.
·Confidence in your own ability to achieve the goals you set out to achieve.
·Confidence that you can overcome any obstacles.
·Confidence that you can make your customers believe in and buy from you.
Simply put, if entrepreneurs didn’t believe in the businesses they set out to create, they wouldn’t start in the first place, because they wouldn’t be able to make the team believe or their customers believe.
Your employees need to share the same level of inner confidence as someone like Duncan.
Anybody that has a vision and takes it personally upon themselves to create a business needs to have within them an unswerving, unshakable resolve, which becomes something of substance that other people can buy into and believe in.
It goes back to the very simple fact that if you don’t believe in what you are doing you can’t make your team believe. If your team don’t believe, they can’t make your customers believe. If your customers don’t believe, they won’t buy, buy again, or recommend you. So belief is the starting point.
2. Passion and Desire
The next core trait of a business owner, or someone like Duncan, is passion and a pure unadulterated love of what they’re doing.
Passion is the fuel that drives you forward, it provides momentum and energy, and is infectious. People around you will be inspired by your passion and will pass on that energy to their team. This feeling will be conveyed to your customers who will then be compelled to buy from you.
It’s your job as the business leader to instil your passion in every member of your team.
Customers pick up on passion and belief. It is a company’s passion and belief that customers buy into.
If you show passion and deep belief in everything you do, you give your customers a memorable and remarkable experience which they will want to share with others.
But, if your employees don’t share your level of passion and belief for the business, then as a company you will never achieve high levels of success and fulfil your true potential.
Clearly people like the Barman lack that passion and desire, and if you have employees like him, you’ll never be able to create a business which customers can believe in and buy from.
Whereas if you have people like Paolo who love their job, and demonstrate business-owner-thinking, they will exude an inner confidence and passion for what they do, which in turn will send out viral shock waves into the market about how excellent your company is.
The third element of the mindset of a business owner is courage and the confidence to step outside your comfort zone.
So much about success at a personal and business level comes down to having the confidence and courage to conquer your own inner fears, doubts and limiting beliefs. It’s having the courage to do the very things that you are uncomfortable doing.
You only have to look at one entrepreneur, Richard Branson, who (by his own admission) is a shy person and uncomfortable in public speaking situations.
However, he knew only too well that the best way to promote his brand was for him to become the face of it. Now, whenever we think abut Virgin we automatically think about Branson. When Virgin Brides was launched, he famously dressed up as a bride himself; when he launched Virgin Cola he drove a Tank down Fifth Avenue in New York to proclaim his battle with Coca Cola. He even injured himself whilst abseiling down the Palms Resort Fantasy Tower whilst promoting his new airline route between San Francisco and Las Vegas. He personally does television and radio interviews, but speaking to an audience is not naturally comfortable for him, as it is for media personalities such as Jonathan Ross or Ricky Gervais.