We are the change

Deborah Meaden talks about British entrepreneurs

Deborah Meaden has recently released her new book Common Sense rules.  In this article Deborah shares with us her insights into British enterepreneurs.

I’ve been a Dragon since the 2006 series, and I have to say that the single aspect I enjoy most, aside from jousting with my fellow Dragons, is seeing the huge variety of ideas that are presented to us. As a nation, we Brits are not short of ideas. We’ve millions of them because we are great inventors. It’s almost as if it is in our nature to ask, ‘What if I do this? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if …?’ We are all potting-shed entrepreneurs at heart and I love that.

I’ve been fortunate enough to meet hundreds of entrepreneurs, with an incredibly wide range of personalities. Yet, the ones who truly inspire my Den colleagues and me and who get us reaching for our wallets all share a remarkably similar set of values.

Deborah Meaden on Passion, focus and an insatiable desire to succeed

The beauty about having these qualities is that they take care of a lot of the other daunting aspects of being an entrepreneur. Far too many people, for instance, are held back by their fear that they are not born sales people. I suspect that the multitude of entrepreneurs who tell me they ‘can’t sell’ are actually very good sales people. If they are passionate about what they do they can’t fail to sell their dream to other people, and they’ll be able to convince not just their customers, but also their staff, their bank manager and their investors.


An entrepreneur has to be quick minded and bright. That doesn’t mean they need to have gone to a top-notch public school, have a string of qualifications and be clever in an academic way. No. Rather, they must be clever in a quick-witted way, with a mind that refuses to accept barriers and that can solve a multitude of problems within seconds.

Confidence and self-belief

Confidence attracts, and most people can sense it. I can name my confident friends in a shot, even though many of them are really quite quiet people. They don’t have to make a noise, and they don’t have to tell everybody how fantastic they are. They just are, and they don’t care what anybody else thinks. And I have noticed in my business life that a confident person who doesn’t feel the need to explain themselves can create a powerful reaction.


It takes a lot of time and energy to be an entrepreneur. You have to be totally committed, and if there is the slightest inkling that you are not committed, everybody, including the market, will know. The ability to commit is not simply a state of mind; it is a core character trait.

Loss averse

Being loss averse is nothing like being risk averse. It is about hating to lose. Entrepreneurs are prepared to take risks, but they’re not gamblers.


As well as being realistic with their ideas, entrepreneurs should be realistic with themselves. It is amazing to me how many people fail to realise, as they dream about storming the market with their potentially groundbreaking ideas, that when they launch their business they are likely to go through patches when they will live on virtually nothing. It is almost certain that they will have to take a significant dip in their lifestyle and earnings before they recover. But when fortunes do pick up, it’s the best feeling in the world.


About the Author: Deborah Meaden is a successful UK businesswoman and entrepreneur and is best known as one of the dragons from BBC 2’s hit show Dragons’ Den.  Deborah has recently released a new book called Common Sense Rules: What You Really Need to Know About Business check it out and benefit from Deborah’s wealth of expertise.

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  1. Lavinia says

    Great post and very inspiring! I particulary enjoyed the point Deborah states about realism! So true and something all us budding entrepreneurs have to take on board! You may be interested in reading my post on whether ‘to be or not to be an entreprenuer’ – http://bit.ly/cqbPxA
    Thanks in advance!
    Butterfly Wealth Creation

  2. Quentin Magos says

    I suppose that initiative, purpose, industry, drive (and thus creativity) is a “must” for anyone who wishes to create something here in Britain out of “not much in particular to start with”, as it has always been, in Britain as with the rest of the world. Possibly the lesson to be learnt here in this article about entrepreneurial endeavour is that, in a competitive environment, the weak shall go to the wall… So it is imperative that anyone be strong enough to survive that Darwinian evolutionary challenge of “the survival of the fittest” in all things to be done in life, just as much as it is imperative for an entrepreneur to be strong for the sake of business survival, and so bettering the chances of thriving in his (or her) business life. Without it, all things fade and disappear into the dust of history…including Britain’s famed industrial heritage and entrepreneurial spirit.