Your Business With James Caan 2017 - 44
and managing and motivating people
is daunting. When it gets bigger, you
sometimes ﬁnd you're out of your
depth because it's something you've
never done before. You need to be able
to have the right people around you.
Your father owned a clothing
business on Brick Lane, which
he built from scratch. What
did you learn from him when it
came to starting and running
your own business?
When Dad came to the UK he couldn't
speak English or even read or write, so
what I learned from him is that sheer
determination and hard work goes a
long way to success. He had all the
odds stacked against him, but in his
own way he achieved success.
You're in a position that you
could retire easily if you wanted
to - but do you still get a buzz
from running a business?
Sadly, yes, I do get a buzz, even after
30 years! It's still my passion - I still
like the excitement and challenge, and
I love seeing businesses I've invested
in grow and develop. It's like watching
a child grow - it gives me an immense
amount of pleasure.
As long as you enjoy what you do,
why stop doing it? I'm not motivated
by money but by what we create and
the impact we have on the lives of
people we invest in.
What has been the highlight of
your career so far?
Becoming the chairman of Start Up
Loans and having the opportunity to
replicate what I achieved myself and
help 28,000 businesses and 60,000
people to be given the same chances.
That was a remarkable experience.
And your proudest moment?
Going to Buckingham Palace in 2015
to receive my CBE from Prince William
- that was quite an experience.
What gives you the most
satisfaction about running
I love having the freedom to do what
I want to do, to create something and
build something I'm excited by.
THE SMALL SCREEN
When you were approached to
do Dragons' Den, what attracted
you to being on the panel?
I'd never done TV before, but I'd
just started Hamilton Bradshaw
[James's headhunting and recruitment
company] and we were looking for
entrepreneurs to back because we
were unknown at the time. Me being
on Dragons' Den meant we attracted
hundreds of entrepreneurs seeking
help and ﬁlled a gap.
Was the transition from running
a company to being on TV a
I was out of my depth on TV as I'd
never done it before. I found it
daunting having cameras in front of
me knowing there were six million
people watching. I never got used to it
- it was part of a journey that I loved,
but I did miss my day job. I was
privileged to have the opportunity, but
I don't see myself as a TV personality.
Dragons' Den led to other TV
work, including CNBC's The
Business Class and The Pledge on
Sky 1. What do you like about
being involved in TV shows?
Each one has its own ﬂavour. It was a
very diﬀerent market on CNBC, and
The Pledge was incredibly challenging
because it was all about current aﬀairs
- not something I'd done before.
Whenever I ﬁnd myself out of my
comfort zone I get excited by that.
You've had phenomenal success
on social media. Why do you think
your blogs are so popular?
When I started writing, I had columns
in the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday
Times and the Evening Standard and I
loved sharing my ideas. But with social
media you get an immediate response.
With my columns, how many people
read them or what they thought was
unknown. If I write a blog on LinkedIn,
people respond within 10 seconds.
I had no idea I could have an impact
to a level that would make me one of
the most followed people on LinkedIn.
It's exciting to know how much my
advice and ideas are appreciated, now
by nearly three million people.
"Whenever I ﬁnd
myself out of my
comfort zone, I get
excited by that"