Lara Morgan is successful. When she was 23 she launched her first business: Pacific Direct. She sold the business for £20billion. Speaking at the Elite Business Show at ExCeL she talked about the secrets of her success.
Lara Morgan stripped on stage today. At least we think she did. She was demonstrating Dryrobe, a product from a company she invested in. Why? she likes the product, a kind of coat/towel. You can put it on after coming out of a lake or the sea, and get changed - under cover of the robe. Which she then proceeded to demonstrate.
She agreed to invest in one company after one persistent entrepreneur offered to carry her shopping in return for a few minutes of his time - not so much am elevator pitch as a shopping pitch.
On another occasion she recruited an expert, paid him £120,000 per year when she was earning less than a fifth of that. You have to acknolewde the area where you are weak, she intermated.
You might be able to characterise her key message with the three Ss. Sales, sales and sales.
She said that this idea that when you start a business you need to raise hundreds of millions of pounds is utter insanity.
She also says you need to be a genius with Excel, you need to know the finances inside out, if not you will go bust.
But above all she says it's about sales. When you are starting a business you should be selling, every day. " If you are not selling, what are you doing? "
She says "Saturday is for admin, Sunday to let-off steam, evenings for marketing material, the rest of the time selling. "
And yes that's hard work.
When she started she had savings of just under £20,000 and she had to make that last.
Was it enough? She said she worked hard, she went hungry, and she made many sacrifices, but that is what you must do.
When she finally applied for £10,000 overdraft she was turned down, "partly because the bank did not believe her projections", she said. She changed banks, HSBC gave her the overdraft, and from that £10,000 she was able to trade around £800,000 a year.
As for staff, she says to them: "we don't do mediocrity, and I expect my pound of flesh." That may sound harsh, but she rewards well, she took all her staff on a holiday to Egypt one year, and she gave £2million to her staff when she sold the business."
Finally, she that if you are not an early bird don't run a business. And always be willing to accept you are an idiot.