Steve Mills meets James Caan of Dragon’s Den

Steve Mills meets James Caan of Dragon’s Den 

I recently spoke to James Caan from The Dragon’s Den. 

James spoke at the Consultants Super Conference and Steve was one of the guests. Steve discusses what he took from the seminar. 

James was very focussed upon getting the very best out of people. In fact he said that he believes “people make success” and that success is about attracting people and having a competitive edge is about training them”. James went on to say that “sustainability is about developing people and profitability is about motivating people”. 

James built a recruitment business called Alexander Mann. He started it as a ‘one man band’ and built it up to a business operating in 50 countries and turning over in excess of £200,000,000. This business he eventually sold for over £80,000,000. When he started his business he decided that his brand and image were paramount to his success and having an office in ‘the right location’ was essential to this. 

James spent a whole day knocking on doors looking for an office in Pall Mall. He wanted a Pall Mall address and even though he only had £400 for one weeks rent to his name he was focussed on what he wanted. He eventually found an office, or has he called it a ‘”broom cupboard” and he went to work. 

James spoke about the principles he used at Alexander Mann. He called them “the five principles of building a business through people. His principles where: 

  • Have a vision and share it with your people 
  • Share the success of the business with those working in it 
  • Attract great people to the business by making it a great place to work 
  • Hire people who are better than yourself 
  • Encourage interpreneurship 

His advice for small business owners was to plan their business, not focussing on the five year plan so much, but focussing on getting through the next quarter and ensuring that you grow in that time. James suggested small businesses must focus upon getting better and better each day. As he put it “a big business is just a small business that improved”. 

His parting thought was “It’s your attitude, not your aptitude that will determine your altitude”.  If we can help you in any way, or you want further information and advice go to 07977 074 497.