YourBusinessWithJamesCaan2016 - 19

INTERVIEW

JAMES' TIPS
One piece of
business advice:
lead by example

Three phrases
I adhere to:
You can't put in
what God left out
It's your attitude, not
your aptitude, that
determines your altitude
Observe the masses
and do the opposite

strength to strength. I have no interest
but I still look at it as if it's my baby.
I sold it when I did because I felt I'd
grown it to my limit. The business was
generating £100m per year and I felt
that was my capacity, I was entering into
an area where I didn't have the expertise
to take it to the next level.
Looking back, selling it allowed
me to establish Hamilton Bradshaw
which has given me enormous pleasure.
It also enabled me to do Dragons' Den
and write my autobiography The Real
Deal: My Story from Brick Lane to
Dragons' Den (Virgin Books, £8.99).
When I had Alexander Mann my entire
success was in one business whereas
today I have over 20 businesses and
that's given me a stronger platform.
If I'd have stayed I would not have
grown as a person. If you take yourself

out of your comfort zone it stretches you.
It was risky and if I'd stayed I would
have done enormously well financially
but it's not always about the money.
I've learned a lot more because I've
done so many things I would never have
done. I studied at Harvard Business
School, I've travelled, and I was
chairman of Start-Up Loans, probably
the highlight of my career.
What are you working on right now?
The biggest thing is my new online
training site, recruitmentguide.com. It
has given me the opportunity to share
my knowledge and expertise. It's a
step-by-step methodology that has
enabled me to become successful. I want
to share that to create a gold standard in
an industry I love. It's an enormous
project and such an important one that
I've been thinking about for two years.
It's taken me a while to find the right
mechanism and the right people to help.
You have been the seventh mostfollowed on LinkedIn for two years
now. How have you managed that?
You've got to remain current and you
have a responsibility to keep the people
who follow you engaged so I am

constantly thinking of advice and tips
that are meaningful and worthwhile. If
you stop doing that people lose interest
very quickly. Technology has brought so
many choices, it's a bit like flicking
through TV channels. I post every week
and take time thinking about it.
You founded the James Caan
Foundation ten years ago.
What is it all about?
I look at changing lives of those less
fortunate and I tend to do that in Asia
where people often live on a dollar a day,
have no access to running water or
electricity. The whole foundation was a
chance to use my business skills and
experience to create the biggest impact
from the capital I invested.
After the terrible floods in Pakistan a
decade ago (James was born in Lahore),
I helped rebuild a village and now it's
thriving and more than 2,000 people
have been rehoused. They've now got
flood-resistant roofs over their heads.
It was heartbreaking to see whole
communities being wiped out but I was
able to help them get back their dignity
by providing proper homes.
It was a huge project but gave me
great satisfaction. I worked on the
ground with aid agencies and charitable
organisations too, finding the right
partner to do the construction.
I often visit the school that was built
as part of the project and it gives me a
sense of satisfaction knowing I made
a difference by giving people access
to something they otherwise never
would have had.
You could retire several times over,
what drives you on?
I had the opportunity when I sold
Alexander Mann. For 18 months I did
"retire," but for somebody very driven,
motivated and passionate about what he
does that does not translate into sitting
on a beach or playing golf every day.
What would I do and how would I
spend my time? I need intellectual
stimulation and something to get me up
every morning that gives me a bounce.
Having retired and having nothing
meaningful to do isn't who I am so I will
continue to do what I do and develop
myself and the people around me.
That gives me purpose.

19


http://www.recruitmentguide.com

YourBusinessWithJamesCaan2016

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