Dragons Den's Duncan Bannatyne – 43 Mistakes Businesses Make
by Jon Law, on October 1, 2011
I’ve just finished reading this business self-help book by Duncan Bannatyne, of the Dragons Den and the Bannatyne group of companies. It’s pretty good, easy to read and packed with great advice and importantly tips to avoid the mistakes he outlines. Below is a brief video of Duncan Bannatyne talking about his book.
I’ve not been a fan of Bannatyne, at all, I always found him rude. After being coerced into watching the Dragons Den a few times I changed my mind. He’s blunt, alright, but is willing to take a punt even when the Dragons' tide is wholeheartedly against the entrepreneurs presenting. He also understands the value of good SEO – search engine optimisation – and is a big twitter fan. So after a recommendation I ordered the book from Amazon.
Furthermore, despite his vast fortune, Bannatyne is not avoiding the UK tax system by using offshore companies. This led to a fall out with a previous Dragon, James Caan. I like this immensely, someone who is rich but not greedy, all good in my book, but shameful on the part of James Caan.
The book is well written, entertaining and easy to read. He seems less blunt in the book but his more easy-going writing style doesn’t detract from making the point. Forty three of them! It’s a good book and will make you think and, perhaps, reassess where your business is going. It offers an objective viewpoint.
The book is punctuated with excellent ‘Case Studies’ which serve to illustrate the points he makes. These are brilliant because they are recent examples that everyone will have heard of. There’s the Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Woolworths, Marks and Spencer’s, Bank of Scotland and more.
The very first mistake he highlights, concerns not taking good advice. He makes the point that there is a lot of advice available but most of it is rubbish. It’s easy to get hold of poor advice which can render an entrepreneur less likely to recognise good advice when it is given.
That in itself is a good point but I really liked how, right from the start (2nd mistake – taking responsibility), he busted the myth that to be good in business you need to be ruthless. He suggests that you need to be tough enough to make difficult decisions and to do the dirty work but not ruthless.
The book goes from the general to the more specific as the mistakes progress through all 43 and there really is some good stuff in there, still very general but there some ball park tips you can use to practically avoid mistakes.
For example, mistake 34 ‘failing to delegate’ is something that anyone in business can relate to, it can be very difficult to let go of the strings! And even if you do manage to delegate it can be more difficult to actually let the delegated person get on with the job without you interfering! Now that rings bells!
He provides an eight point checklist to follow so that the person you delegate to has all the skills required to do the job. Interestingly, the final point is simply – let them get on with it! If the previous seven points are taken care of you can comfortably do that. Good stuff.
Overall, the book is a very good read with a heap of useful insights which can be applied to your business which will help you succeed and attain growth. As a side note, anyone going on the Dragons Den should read this because there are a lot of basic errors explained, which you need to avoid if you want a decent chance of getting the investment. Definitely recommended! There may be more tips on Duncan’s blog, it is probably worth a look.