Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Behind every Great Man......lies a Greater Woman

I’ve recently discovered a TV program which airs in the UK, and is called Dragon’s Den.

The premise is that ‘Budding Entrepreneurs’ pitch their product or invention, to a panel of 5 already established and very successful Entrepreneurs, in order to raise capital for their respective product. The established Entrepreneurs then have to decide if they will invest their own money in the product, by posing various questions to the inventor thereof.

After posing their respective questions, they then must state if they are ‘IN’ or ‘OUT’. If they are ‘OUT’, then the decision is passed onto the next Entrepreneur. If by the end, none of the Entrepreneurs decide to invest, then the Inventor will of course not get his investment. But, if the Entrepreneurs are IN, they will then ‘haggle’ with the investor on what percentage of the company they want, for the capital amount invested. They can also haggle with any of the 5 other Entrepreneurs if they are also interested in the product in question.

Now, although the program in itself is most certainly fascinating, I decided to do some research on the 5 panel already established Entrepreneurs, and how they got to where they are today? The person who in my opinion is the most impressive of the 5 panelists, is a guy called Duncan Bannatyne.

Duncan Bannatyne was raised in the town of Clydebank, Scotland from a relatively poor family.

In 1963, at the of fifteen (yes, you were still allowed to do this at such a young age in those days :) , Duncan volunteered for eleven years with the Royal Navy as a junior 2nd class engineering mechanic (stoker) at the boys' training establishment HMS Ganges, Ipswich.

He served several years before receiving a dishonourable discharge (wait till you hear why!!) for disobedience and attempting to throw an officer off a boat landing jetty in Scotland - an offence punishable by hanging in a previous century!!! After the incident, he had to serve 9 months in a military detention centre before being discharged. Duncan was only nineteen years old at the time.

After spending his twenties moving from one job to another (can you see the Entrepreneur being born?), Duncan lived for a few years on the island of Jersey. With a difficult business climate for outsiders in Jersey, at age 30, Duncan and his wife (he met het on Jersey) moved to Stockton-on-Tees in Northern England.

Bannatyne's business career began almost immediately with an ice cream van purchased for £450 (and this is where it all started………). He soon expanded by buying more vans and eventually sold the business for £28,000. He then founded a nursing home business instead which he sold for £46 million in 1996 and children's nursery chain for £22 million.

According to the Sunday Times Rich List, Duncan’s wealth is estimated at £200 million.

Now, when I look at someone who has come from no education, not in an environment to aspire to something better and no family connections (his Dad said to him that Bannatyne’s aren’t supposed to own their own business), I found myself asking the questions, How and Why??!!

The answer is quite simple really……..During Duncan’s time setting up his first major business success (the nursing home care business which he sold for £46m), he received a letter from a woman asking him the following: What do you do, when you have the aspirations to be a success, but your husband hinders your ascent to the top?

Duncan’s Answer: DUMP HIM !!! :)

Duncan goes on to say, that although he was a success almost instantly at the start of his career, he could never have done it without the support of his wife. He had credit card debts of around £50 000, he could not borrow any more from ANY bank so he had to sell any assets he had (which included his ice cream business as well as his own house!!) in order for the nursing home to be built. And throughout all of it, his wife stood behind him.......

If you are destined for SUCCESS, Have you got a Partner / Wife / Husband / Boyfriend / Girlfriend holding you back ????!!!


Anonymous said...

Really useful blog.Good work keeping this updated! UK investment Thanks a lot!

Eric S Doms said...

You're welcome, Aidan !