Your Business With James Caan 2017 - 43
tend to follow crowds because we're
conditioned to do so. But all the way
through my career I've stuck to that
piece of advice.
You worked in recruitment as
a young man. What motivated
you to start your own
Once you get in a position where
you've found something that plays to
your strengths - it suits your style,
character and behaviour, and you have
an opportunity to put your stamp on it
in a way that makes it better - that is
exciting and motivating. Generally it's
not about the money. It's about you
and what plays to your strengths.
How did you get your human
resources company, Alexander
Mann, off the ground?
I had a credit card with a £10,000
limit. When I ran out, I applied for
another and then a third. The bank
wouldn't lend to me because I didn't
own property, but I effectively found
£30,000 that way. It was risky but it's
amazing what you do when you have
no other options. I paid them back in
the first year.
helps drive and navigates customer to
your site. And what's the cost of doing
that? It's a very congested market, and
navigating traffic and customers to
your site is challenging and expensive.
What mistakes have you made
in your career?
All of them! I've struggled because
I didn't have the right people, or I have
undercapitalised, or I underestimated
the cost of doing something, or it took
longer than I thought it would. I've
overestimated my own abilities.
But I strongly believe we learn
more from our mistakes than from
our successes. I've become good at
what I do because I've made more
mistakes than the next person, and
the more mistakes you make the
better you become.
The first lesson for me was to
embrace failure - failure is part of the
journey of success. Without it I don't
believe that you can be successful. We
may think we know it all but we don't.
What one piece of advice has
stuck in your mind and helped
you along the way?
Observe the masses and do the
opposite - my dad told me that. Just
because everyone is doing something
doesn't necessarily make it right. We
What did you do to make
Alexander Mann such a
huge success? Was there
a magic formula?
Recently I saw the business's
accounts and the business today
employs 3,500 people and generates
£920m in sales in 30 countries.
I'm proud to see how it has gone
from strength to strength. It is
considered to be the most successful
human resources business now. Key
to that success was having the ability
to identify the right team. Despite
having sold it, I'm still excited to read
about its continued success.
What was the biggest lesson
you learned when running your
Business is much harder than I
ever imagined, winning business
is an art and being able to financially
manage a business is challenging.
You are responsible for other people,