6 lessons from Duncan Bannatyne

Words by
12 April, 2012
2 mins read

Duncan Bannatyne is one of Britain’s most renown entrepreneurs, his reputation for shrewd acquisitions and investments puts him alongside Lord Sugar, Sir Phillip Green and Richard Branson.

However, you may recognise him from appearances on Dragons’ Den .

It’s not just his business ethics that make him so well known, but his personal and family life.

As you may well have guessed, I’m a massive fan of Duncan Bannatyne and an entrepreneur that inspires me.

Today we are going to look at 6 lessons from Mr. Bannatyne, his business activities, the high and lows of his adventure to making his reputable £430 million personal fortune.

1. Work hard and never give up

“A lot of the difference between a successful launch or expansion and one that falters is down to you and your priorities” – Duncan Bannatyne

On a trip home from London I read Duncan’s book “Wake Up And Change Your Life” and it gave me the inspiration to act upon ideas, not just dream. If you have started a business and think you can walk into a £50k salary, get back to the drawing board!

First and foremost thing we can learn from Duncan’s experiences is work hard, work double hours, work until you can’t see clear – that’s how you will make or break!

Regularly he was working 80 hours per week starting up one of his spas, as little as 4-5 hours sleep and sometimes sleeping at his office.

2. Use debt to your advantage

Personally, I wouldn’t advise this because if your business idea goes belly up – you’re in trouble. But Duncan used up to 8 credit cards at one time to pay for builders on constructing his first care-home.

Now if that doesn’t prove how much of an entrepreneur he was, then I don’t know what would. At least £20k on all his credit cards, just because the banks weren’t prepared to give him a loan.

The real moral of this point is taking risks. Be ready for big risks and get ready for the challenges that come along with them.

That’s ultimately what’s going to be the make or break.

3. Know when to hold them & fold them

Duncan made a large sum of his fortune from his first mega sale. In 1997 Duncan sold 2 businesses for more than £45 million.

What we learn from here is that you need to act upon deals and offers carefully. However, you need to be sure you are making the right decision.

Are you selling to a competitor? Will the business price appreciate? There are many questions you need to ask yourself.

4. Age doesn’t matter

Duncan’s real entrepreneurial instincts were shown when he was only 16 years old, getting a newspaper round to buy himself a bicycle.

You always hear people making excuses about the age topic. You’re never too old or young to get your startup running. Take a look at all the big name entrepreneurs they all started out extremely young: Lord Sugar, Richard Branson, Luke Johnson etc.

5. Be charitable

I suppose this is common ground for many, but in business, what goes around, comes around.

Horrible to say, but if you support a certain cause, not only will it make you look good but it will reflect on your business as well.

6. Invest wisely in startups

When you look at some of Bannatyne’s investments in startups through the TV Show Dragons’ Den you will see a different side of him. If you are already in business – get investing in startups.

Obviously, not everyone is going to have a spare £50k sitting in an account for 20% in a company – but even investing via stocks and shares to get you in the mix.

Useful resources

  • View Duncan Bannatyne’s Books – Browse the wide collection of books available at Waterstones, from money, economics, business and more.
  • Sunday Times Rich List – Check out where Bannatyne is ranked amongst his fellow “Dragons” and more intel into his business portfolio.

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Gareth Boyd

Who Design Today founder and editor. A design enthusiast in every area from digital to print and physical form.

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