Your Business With James Caan 2017 - 42
you learn - it's about networking and
developing as a human being. All those
factors are important for business.
The younger you are when you start
a business, the more risks you take
because you won't have developed as
an individual. Building social skills,
networking, entering into debate,
travelling - all these mean you will
have matured. The more developed
and rounded you are, the better it is
when it comes to starting a business.
That doesn't mean you can't or
shouldn't start a business at 17 - there
are examples of people who have
achieved success at a young age, but
the percentage is tiny. When you're
starting a business, you want the odds
in your favour.
Do you think young people today
have the skills and drive to start
their own business compared with
young people a few decades ago?
I think they are more aware of
what's needed, and more ready.
Twenty years ago there was no such
thing as crowdfunding or a venture
community, for example. There was
no Dragons' Den and there wasn't a
proactive government encouraging
you to start your own business.
Today, circumstances are far more
favourable to business. Technology
also has had an enormous impact on
our ability to start a business - 20
years ago there was little in the way of
internet; now the information is there
for entrepreneurs and it's so accessible
that it's been transformative.
I think the hunger for success is
similar now, but that hunger is an
incredibly personal thing. It depends
on circumstances and your ﬁnancial
and social background. It's very
diﬃcult to generalise.
If you come from a ﬁnancially or
socially challenging background, you
may be hungry for success because you
want to improve your situation. But
those from a privileged background
can be incredibly hungry too, because
the benchmark has been set so high.
Both my children - Hanah and
Jemma-Lia -are both incredibly
motivated because they've seen their
parents do well. There's as much
pressure on both sides of the fence.
"One common mistake
entrepreneurs make is
underestimating how much
it's going to cost to launch"
What are the most common
mistakes people make when
starting their own business?
They underestimate how much it's
going to cost to start and launch,
and are therefore under-capitalised.
They think they can do it all
themselves and forget it's about a
people strategy, not an individual.
Or they underestimate the challenges
of executing the plan and being able
to deliver what they started out to do.
They stumble because they need a
website and hadn't thought about it,
or they need to hire people and
underestimated the cost of that, or
they miscalculated the cost of
producing the product or delivering
the service at a proﬁt.
Another common mistake people
make is not thinking about how to
drive traﬃc to their website. Pay-perclick isn't cheap - the cost of driving
traﬃc in volume is always more
expensive than anyone anticipates. It's
one of the biggest challenges - you
come up with a great idea, it's exciting,
but how many businesses are already
out there on the net?
If there are a million people in a
crowd and I was trying to ﬁnd one
person, how would I ﬁnd them? Think
about how I might ﬁnd your company.
You need a marketing strategy that