Alan Sugar – Small Business


“You can’t learn to be an entrepreneur by reading a book. The only way to find out is to try it out ‘

“Once you have decided to work for yourself, never go back to work for someone else”

“Learn from your mistakes, only work with people who share your vision and culture, and above all focus on your customers.”

“To be a successful entrepreneur, you need more than just a competitive advantage. You need a hiding place like a rhinoceros, the ability to operate well outside of normal comfort zones, the willingness to invent the rules, and total, absolute self-confidence – against all odds. Confidence is a critical skill for business success.

“You’re fired!” is of course Alan Sugar’s most famous catchphrase when he sullenly sends another tanned, teeth-grinding hopefuls from his famous boardroom on television The Apprentice.

Lord Sugar is Britain’s most famous, if not the most successful, entrepreneur.

His last impressive business success was the green cursor-blinking Amstrad PCW computer, which was launched in September 1985. When Alan Sugar was walking through Tokyo’s electronics district in February of this year, he had discovered a word processing program that had a monitor with an integrated printer. The overall package had the all-in-one compactness of a typewriter. He designed the PCW on a Cathay Pacific napkin while flying from Tokyo to Hong Kong. When the Amstrad ceased production in 1998, it sold 8 million.

Alan Sugar really became a household name in 2005 when he starred The Apprenticewho have favourited the BBC version of Donald Trump’s hit US show. A group of would-be business leaders hoping to be hired by the gruff “Sir Alan” were given a stupid assignment every week, and the gimmick was Sugar waving a finger at a candidate every week and telling them no are more wanted on board. The exhilaration came from the gap between some candidates’ (unjustified) self-esteem and their actual abilities.

As of 2010, the format changed so that Alan Sugar would invest £ 250,000 in the winner’s business. And Lord Sugar looks like he picked a few winners, including 2019 winner Carina Lepore (you can read our interview with Carina here) and our very own Small business monthly columnist Mark Wright who won in 2014.

Leave a Comment