Alan Michael Sugar is a British business tycoon who was born in the London Borough of Hackney in 1947. He founded Amstrad, an electronics company that was sold to BSkyB in 2007 for a cool £125m. He is also, perhaps most famously, known for being the presenter of The Apprentice, a UK reality TV show, billed as “the toughest and longest job interview process in the world”. Alan Sugar was knighted in 2001 and made a Lord in 2009.
Sugar has always been creative and industrious and in his teenage years was already earning more than his tailor father. His determination and doggedness showed in the way he built his business from the age of 21. He has longed espoused the ‘do whatever it takes’ approach to success; chase those start up loans, keep knocking on doors and don’t give up until someone listens.
Alan Sugar isn’t the only industrious businessman in the UK, but why is he considered more successful than most? This article aims to answer this question. So, below are the reasons why Lord Sugar is better than most!
His Eye for Opportunities
Lord Alan Sugar says, “A successful business person needs to exploit the market or sector they are in. They need to have a great understanding of it, they need to constantly monitor the market place and spot opportunities. That’s what successful business is all about, spotting new opportunities and exploiting them.”
As an entrepreneur, you need to be alert enough to spot even the smallest spark of an opportunity, as anything can grow your business. Alan Sugar began by buying a van that cost him £50 and started selling electrical goods out of it. And look where that led him.
His Zeal to Succeed
Most entrepreneurs claim that it is not their backgrounds that determined their success. As a child, Alan Sugar lived in a council flat with his family. He did not let that limit his ambitions.
In an interview, Alan Sugar said: “I succeeded because I had to. No one sorted out anything for me”.
He Stuck to What He Knew Best
“I’ve got a philosophy;” Sugar said, “Stick to what you know. Real estate is something that I know now, electronics is something that I know. I wouldn’t invest in a business I don’t understand”
Alan Sugar ran a business he was familiar with – consumer electronics – giving him an edge over his competitors.
His Reaction Towards Failure
Failure is inevitable at some point or other in life. Nobody aims for it, but it happens anyway. What do you do when you fail? Do you count your losses and run or do you learn from your failure and forge ahead?
“I think a lot of people are not prepared to recognise that something has been a failure and you’re successful by learning mistakes from your failure also.” (Alan Sugar)
His Great Work Ethics
Being the boss is not leverage to relax and do nothing while your workers keep your business running. Be an inspirational leader. Work hard and lead by example.
Part of Lord Sugar’s great success is down to the fact he did not let others do his work for him. He said: “I would have to be half dead to not go to work, it’s a work ethic built into me”.
He Understood the Market and its Value
“…. Use two days to go out into the marketplace to find yourself some new business or at least observe what your competitors are doing, in order to see how the market is changing.”
As Lord Sugar says, if you ignore the outside world because you are so concentrated on growing your business, you could miss opportunities. You need to go out there and find out what people want, and how you can get an edge over your competitors. Alan Sugar understands this and has used it to his advantage.
He Grew and Appreciated His Team
Nobody is an island and most successful individuals were able to get to the top because of the support and loyalty they got from those around them. How you treat your team matters because it will translate directly into how they manage your business.
“Generally, people that stay with you are motivated not necessarily by money but by the enjoyment and excitement of what you’re creating and the fact that you make them a part of the team…….if you ostracise people or don’t show appreciation then you can expect them not to show their loyalty.” (Alan Sugar)
His Product Spoke for Him
The products Lord Sugar made spoke for themselves because he made amazing products. Ideally, you will not need to do much talking your product up, as an amazing product will do the talking for itself.
During the London business forum, in answer to a question, Lord Sugar said: “In my experience, my product did the talking. You could be the greatest salesman in the world, the most charming person in the world, you could advertise but if the product sucks then you got no business.”
He is Disciplined
“Answer emails immediately, answer people’s questions immediately. That has been my success in running my company… I would heartily recommend it to all of you. If you decide to become successful, you should be disciplined.”
That was Alan Sugar’s response to the question, “You’ve gone from looking out of windows of classrooms to having a very regimented timetable on the weekends. How did you develop such self-discipline?”
He Notes his Progress
“You have to constantly look at your over-ends and cost, I think it’s cost control. A regular wake up call, regular checks of where you are will keep you afloat.” (Alan Sugar)
As a business owner, put into account your progress. You need to know how far you’ve come, no matter how inconsequential it might seem.
In conclusion, looking at the principles of Lord Alan Sugar, it’s not surprising he is so successful and considered one of the top businessmen in the UK. Born into a humble home, he did not let this limit his imagination, and made a name for himself through his own hard work and self-discipline. In 2016, he was estimated to be worth £1.15 billion.