Determination and attitude – Karren Brady shares her recipe for business success

April 8, 2014

Businesswoman Karren Brady outlined her six key ingredients for successful entrepreneurs at The Business Showcase South West yesterday – the unique regional event championing the region’s innovation and enterprise.

Admitting that she had rarely met a business leader who displayed all six, she said anyone running a business needed to have some of these attributes, particularly when under pressure. 

In a speech that drew on her own career as well as offering advice, she also demonstrated how having determination and attitude – two of the six – had helped her survive turbulent times, especially early in her business life.

Karren Brady’s six key ingredients for successful entrepreneurs:

  1. Leadership. A real leader faces the music even if they don’t like the tune
  2. Ambition. Can your ambition inspire other people, can you continue to be a success year after year like Lord Sugar?
  3. Determination. If you have failed at something can you pick yourself up and brush yourself off?
  4. Attitude. Ask yourself what’s the worst that could happen
  5. Direction. Be clear and communicate
  6. Stay positive. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence

Becoming a director of Birmingham City Football Club at 23 had been an eye-opener and she quickly learned how badly some businesses were run.

She said she realised that the world is divided into three types of people in business – those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.

Delivering the first keynote speech of the day at The Business Showcase South West, she said running your own business “is perhaps the loneliest job in the world”.

“You are the MD, you answer the phone and make the tea,” she told the audience at Bristol's Colston Hall. “You have got to be totally committed. You have got to do what you think is right at all times.”

Lord Sugar’s right-hand woman on The Apprentice said a lot of start-ups were confused about their business plans. “Having a business plan is fine but having an action plan is far more important. When you’l make your first sale, when you’ll be paid,” she said.

“You also need determination to be the best you can be. I’ve taken every opportunity that has come my way.

“You also need the only thing they can’t teach you – enthusiasm.”

In response to a question from the audience about trust in business, she said it was vital in running your own business, adding it was a shame that trust was missing from many aspects of life.

“Our supermarkets sell us horsemeat as beef, our politicians fiddle their expenses and our bankers risk money that isn’t theirs,” she said.

The Business Showcase South West was attended by around 2,000 delegates who heard speechs from a range of business figures. More than 90 businesses exhibited throughout Colston Hall.

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