An Interview With Dragon's Den Richard Farleigh
What can big organisations learn from entrepreneurs that can help them improve their business?
Start-ups often do some things better than large businesses. Often they take more risks, have less red tape and are close to their customers. Take note, Tesco!
From your time as a Dragon, were there any business ideas that you passed on at the time that you wish you had invested in?
I tried to invest in Trunki - very colourful kids' suitcases with wheels and a tow strap. The entrepreneur didn't accept my offer. Maybe I should have offered more - I loved the idea and now get a reminder every time I'm at the airport and kids whiz past riding them with big smiles.
What tips would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Most new businesses fail. So treat your first year as a research project to identify if there is a real market before you blow your life savings. And possibly your Mum's
What do you feel is your greatest achievement?
Home House. It is a beautiful Georgian mansion that we spent two years restoring before opening as a private members club. As a business, it started slowly but eventually counted Madonna, Paul McCartney, Brad Pitt and many others, as guests. Prince Charles has visited, plus even Australia's own royalty, Kylie Minogue :-). The reason though I'm so happy about, is because we saved a dilapidated historic masterpiece.
Who are your role models -- in business and in life?
I came through the fostering system, so my role models are not public figures, but people I've been close to through my life. An early school teacher who cared and got me out of backwards classes; an early boss who balances her business, ethics and private life; and my older brother, who despite a hard start in life excelled at his career.