JASON THEODOROU, Video Journalist, Fresh Business Thinking:

Today we’re at Smith & Williamson for Business Edge: Strategies For Growth, an event where expert speakers give business owners and decision makers the very best information and advice.

GUY RIGBY, Head of Entrepreneurs, Smith & Williamson:

Business Edge is all about helping entrepreneurs grow great businesses. We put on a range of speakers, with lots of experience in different areas of business. We’ve got entrepreneurs who have been successful and sold their businesses, non-executive directors who have actually run businesses or been chief executives. We’ve got advisors who help businesses work out how to grow the business, how to raise finance for the business, how to sell it. It’s a really wide range of activities that we’re putting on for these entrepreneurs. We asked some of the key speakers for advice on how entrepreneurs can grow their businesses.

JULIE MEYER, Founder & CEO of Ariadne Capital and Dragon on BBC’s Online Dragon’s Den:

80% of the major deals that I had gotten done, the first time I tried to do it, I got a no, and I had to convert it to a yes. So it’s not even 10 or 20 or 40% of the time. For me, it’s 80% of the things that had most contributed to my success, the first time that I tried to get the person across the table, whether it was investing in me or my fund or my company or whatever, the first time they said no, and had to convert it to a yes. It’s not easy.

DARREN SHIRLAW, Business Coach and Founding Partner, Shirlaws:

Capability is – think of it as business capability, organizational capability, infrastructure capability, sales capability, training capability etc. You can go right across the business and go – what parts of my business need more capability?

You want your capability as a business to be at an absolute maximum at the bottom of the market.

If you want to know where people get the most growth in the market, it comes out of the bottom of the recession, not at the top of the boom. Most market share changes hands in the corporate world at the bottom of the recession, not the top of the boom. The biggest opportunity you have in business is at the bottom of the recession, not the top of the boom. The biggest opportunity you’ve had in business for the last 30-odd years is right now.

RACHEL ELNAUGH, Entrepreneur:

To grow a market-leading brand, first of all you have to think like a market leader, and it’s so tempting, isn’t it, to look at what everyone else is doing and copy them. By all means see what other people are doing in your sector, but then try and innovate and do something better than anyone else, and that’s the way to stay ahead.

BRIAN LIVINGSTONE, Director, Smith & Williamson:

In my industry they always use to say, turnover is vanity, profit is sanity. At the end of the day, turnover really doesn’t matter. What you really want to do – you know I’ve got a business hero. One of my business heroes is a serial entrepreneur, and Morris used to say to me, “Brian, to be successful in business, you’ve got to be a digger, but you’ve got to be digging on top of a gold mine.”

NEIL GANDHI, CEO of Quickstart Global:

People go on and on and on about cultural differences around the world and there are whole courses on how to attend a meeting in China. In terms of how to hand over a business card, or whatever it might be, you can learn that on the plane on the way out. It’s not difficult.

JASON THEODOROU, Video Journalist, Fresh Business Thinking:

After the presentations, the audience networked with speakers and eachother to share powerful new strategies for growth informed by the event.

JULIE MEYER, Founder & CEO of Ariadne Capital and Dragon on BBC’s Online Dragon’s Den:

I believe that the entrepreneur is the engine of society. They have a disproportionate impact on society. They are the creator of value, they have the insight into how markets are going to develop, and we are very fortunate that they are willing to live abnormal lives to bring their businesses to life.

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