Starting a business is no easy task and every business owner will know there are challenges along the way which test the best of us to our limits.
The advice of those more experienced than us cannot be ignored. Renowned business leader and star of The Apprentice Lord Alan Sugar recently shared his advice for business owners via the Company Check Hub. Here’s his advice for business owners and how you can implement it in your own business.
1) Knowledge is power
Lord Sugar is no stranger to a thorough exploration of those he seeks to do business with. The Apprentice is the most prominent example of this but, as Lord Sugar explains, knowing about those you do business with is essential to developing an effective relationship in the future.
As he states, “there’s no business out there that doesn’t rely in some part on another, for the provision of services, products or promotion. Your business will have suppliers and it will have customers and it’s important to know their numbers as well as your own.
“Why? It comes down to trust and, to be frank, just being sensible. Due diligence sounds like a big undertaking but even just having a basic understanding of a company’s credit rating and financial status can alert you to potential issues and arm you with the knowledge you need to form a more secure relationship, based on trust and transparency. That’s where websites like Company Check are so powerful.”
Undertaking due diligence should be a part of every new relationship, whether they’re a client or a supplier. Take the time to understand those you seek to work with to mitigate the risk of any unknown variables further down the line.
2) Business is built on relationships
Ever heard the phrase ‘people do business with people’? Lord Sugar suggests that relationships are essential to business success. As he says:
“It’s really important to build those relationships over time and work on nurturing them even when you don’t have an immediate need for something from that person. Never be so sure of yourself that you think you don’t need anyone else. Treat others with respect and when the time comes, that relationship will have a positive impact on your business.”
Maintaining and nurturing business relationships is important, but it can be challenging. Try tools such as LinkedIn to help you manage your networks.
3) Be transparent
It’s not enough to be ‘nice’ as notorious hard-man Lord Sugar points out.
“I’ve never pretended to be anything other than who I am. And that’s important in business. I’ve invested in a lot of businesses over the years and one of the things I expect from them is that they are transparent about what’s happening, and what’s going to happen in the future.”
Be clear about what’s on offer. This means having clear, easy to understand terms and conditions, agreed deliverables, straightforward payment processes and so on. Make it easy for those you do business with to understand what they are getting and what to expect and you’ll be in a much stronger position to work together effectively.
Alastair Campbell is the founder of Company Check, the UK’s most widely used source of business data, used by businesses across the country as part of their due diligences processes.