Lord Sugar’s new year message Success? It’s down to you all the way was published in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph.

Whilst he gave some excellent down to earth advice about the banks:

“”They are not a charity and they do not have to lend money to any Tom, Dick and Harry” and “Forget them unless you have a clear road map of how you will repay them”…

he also said:

“”Unless you sign on to the fact that it is you alone that runs your business, you will be going down the wrong road. It’s all about you, and it’s going to be you who defines the way forward. I am sick and tired of hearing people asking what to do, going to networking meetings and seminars expecting to glean some gems of wisdom.”

In my last two blogs I spoke about the need for a range of skills to have a successful business, how growth brings challenges and how obtaining outsourced/freelance assistance can help when the business doesn’t have the need or resources to employ someone full time.

The Apprentice is prime time entertainment, it seeks to find someone that is a good all rounder, who has sales, marketing and people management skills together with financial nous.  Whilst there are people with all these qualities who start businesses, not everyone is an all rounder!

The Insolvency Service web site lists reasons for 65 cases of business failure a large proportion are down to inadequate financial management or poor sales and marketing in other words a deficiency in essential skills! If someone who isn’t an all rounder dogmatically takes the all about you approach then the business is more likely to underperform or fail. Even if the owner is a good all rounder, as the business grows the owner has to some extent rely on other managers. Incidentally, even all rounders make mistakes and may find it useful to bounce ideas off someone else. In fact you could look at another popular show, where one of the benefits of a Dragons Den investment is the advice that the owner receives!.

Yes you can say it is down to the business owner, it’s their business and they should have the final say on big decisions. However it is also about them having proper regard for their weaknesses and getting help where needed!

Whilst networking events or seminars can provide a few generic nuggets of advice, each business is different and I tend to agree that it would be unwise to use these events as a sole source of advice for YOUR business, which would have its own specific issues.  (Incidentally people actually attend these events for a host of other reasons.)

Lord Sugar is a highly successful businessman.  Whilst we can learn from people who have been successful, there are also lessons from those who have failed. I agree that it IS YOUR business and it IS ultimately down to YOU, however taking this idea to extremes can be a path to failure!