My time with James Caan of hit BBC show Dragons Den


As I reflect on my career to date, fortunate to have a world-first achievement and various successes under my belt, I’m mindful of two characters who played a prominent role in feeding my ambition: James Caan and Theo Paphitis of hit BBC show Dragons’ Den. Since working with them, I went on to found and build my largest business of all, with a £110m+ turnover. I was so inspired, it took me minimal time to achieve this mini miracle. Working with the best makes you hungry to achieve that standard, and go further. This substantial business was sold in December 2020.

Here I’ll tell you about my time with James Caan, and how it inspired to me a build a ‘Top 12 business’ in just 256 working days. It was summer 2009 and the UK was in the grip of a major recession. The collapse of the Lehman Brothers had sent shockwaves around the world and, almost overnight, businesses which had been bastions of our economy were going under. But, as with all times of challenge, there comes great opportunity. It’s a time for those of us who truly relish brave new thinking to rise to the fore, and seek out like minds in order to make change happen. Word was out there about my disruptive work within the accountancy industry. I’d built the largest network of accountants of its type in the world at the time, and showed them how to integrate up to 40 new services into their accountancy practices, allowing them to be far more profitable.

I also enjoyed a reputation as a leading UK wealth creation specialist at the time, helping over 10,000 high net worth individuals to maximise their business profit and to invest wisely.

In 2009, I was delighted to be invited to join prominent business folk, billionaires, and popular Dragon James Caan, at a visionary conference ‘Make it big in 2010’ in London. James and I got on well backstage, we were both passionate about inspiring confidence and plotting a solid path forward for the UK economy. We agreed, together with a few other speakers, to participate in a new event; one which would help kickstart individual businesses into growth and enhanced profit, helping them adapt and develop despite the economic uncertainty.

Our audience consisted of commercial business owners from across the UK and Ireland. In my speech, to a packed room, I focused on the importance of working with accountants to help structure their businesses more effectively. How to identify and implement cost saving measures, while driving new revenue streams. And how to leverage existing customers through upselling and cross selling techniques. I also highlighted the benefits of buying undervalued property, and laid out a roadmap featuring how to: find such property; negotiate on a distressed sale; and leverage the finance by borrowing from the bank. James’ speech later that day focused on wealth creation, and both of us enjoyed an extremely warm reception.

At the time, this experience was hugely inspiring to me. Working so closely with James Caan, and others of his ilk, I saw up-close the enormous success they’d achieved. My ambition, already considerable, sky-rocketed. Nine years later in 2018, I went on to build an established industry top 12 in just 256 working days. Something the UK economy has never seen before, and is unlikely to be rivalled in our lifetime. I then went on to repeat the process by consolidating 140 pharmacy stores across UK and Ireland in December 2020, to create a planned Top 10 in the industry.

It’s clear, looking back, how being among these industry greats pushed me to do more, and go further. This momentum propels me to this day.

Next… time with BBC Dragon Theo Phaphitis, creating the UK’s first Degree in Entrepreneurship.

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