Speaking to Boe Magazine, Lord Sugar offered three key pieces of advice and revealed some of the secrets to his own success. His first piece of wisdom was “knowledge is power”. The Amstrad founder highlighted the importance of knowing not just every detail of your own business, but also those you work with.
He stated that “there’s no business out there that doesn’t rely in some part on another, for the provision of services, products or promotion”.
He added: “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.”
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He added that knowing how your business partners will mitigate risks or unknown variables further down the line.
Linked closely to this is the relationships business owners make, and Lord Sugar advised that they should be held onto for a venture to be successful.
He added: “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.
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“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, he added.
Finally, the tycoon said that transparency is key – acting and dealing with partners in a fair but honest manner.
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Lord Sugar’s blunt style has been made famous on The Apprentice, and he spoke of the importance of 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, he added.
Lord Sugar said: “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.”