This morning we met ex-Dragon James Caan and listened to his fun, inspirational life and business stories at a unique seminar in Whiteley, along with over 100 of the south coast’s best SMEs. The event was supremely planned, organised and executed by Billie-Jo Johnson-Roberts of Outsource2me (twitter @outsource2me1) whose great photos will be online soon.
James was supported by great presentations and information from
Amanda Brockwell of seminar sponsors Coffin Mew LLP Solicitors who inspired with information on EMI and EMO (employee ownership) models, the “John Lewis effect” and real life case studies that can boost growth (twitter @coffinmewllp)
The buzz about business generally was palpable in the room and as media partners, we were thrilled to be able to meet so many inspiring and inspired people. We were live tweeting throughout so have a wander through our tweets to see all the best points, funny bits and photos from the morning.
If you’d like copies of the presentations or more details please contact the above via any linked means!
Our favourite quotes and points summarised/paraphrased from main speakers :
“Opportunities exist by not following the herd” James Caan
“Observe the masses and do the opposite” James Caan
“From the age of 16 I knew I wanted to do my own thing – I loved the excitement of business” James Caan
“There is a skill and art in growing a business to exit” James Caan
“Q : Are you still looking for a £1 billion opportunity? A: Yes, if you have it, please come and see me” James Caan
“During periods of difficulty, EOB businesses grow better and can be more resilient” Amanda Brockwell
“”Herding shareholders can be like like herding cats” Amanda Brockwell
“Employee ownership is a hugely underused toll in unlocking growth” Nick Clegg (not at the event!)
“Make sure your vision is big enough” Dave Symondson
“£16m allocated funds to Solent LEP for infrastructure development, unlocking jobs and housing” (overhead) Gary Jeffries
“Key to growth” robust processes, CRM, efficiencies, scaleability, plans… (summarised points) Dave Symondson
Quotes from attendees* :
Forhad Ahmed from the Akash, in Portsmouth.
“I thought it was really good, we are only a small business but some of the problems James faced I thought ‘I have the same problem’… And his advice about investing in people made good sense.”
Eoin Moynihan, Managing Director of Titans Associates, specialists in sales training, management training, development and design leadership development, based on the South Coast.
“I thought James was very inspirational today, great advice to look at what the market is doing and go in the opposite direction, it really rang true for me.”
Samuel Ellis, Solar Fusion Ltd @samsolarfusion
“Fascinating event and running a family business myself it made me think a lot about James’s comments about how and when to recognise when you need to recruit an MD externally to help drive your business forward. The address by Gary Jeffries - it was interesting to hear about the services Solent LEP are offering and it is encouraging that they have secured finance to support business development in the South.”
Andrew Saunderd, ODT Business Interiors
“I have a similar relationship with my dad as James did with his – he’s my mentor and also the person who tells me the honest, point blank truth. I identified a lot with his stories and memories.”
“Absolutely inspirational – the whole event had so much flare. James was very non-aggressive and I liked his down-to-earth style.”
Jack Andrews, Spaceman
“I loved James’s philosophy on doing the opposite and never following the herd. I’m developing my fashion brand to be different and to defy the norm and hearing James’s comments reconfirmed what I already knew. Brilliant event all round.”
Coralie Todd, Quay Systems.
“Finally a B2B conference, in a manageable bite, that was totally focussed on real issues and practical solutions. And to top it off a super keynote speaker. Brilliant!”
Steve Nicoll, Senical
“There were excellent speakers with very informative subject matter, we certainly came away with a list of follow up actions. Met some useful business contacts too which is always a bonus at such events. The icing on the cake was the relaxed but straight talking key note speaker and former Dragon, James Caan. Fascinating insight into how he built his business empire from a broom cupboard! Look forward to future events.”
“At a time when there has been a lot of talk about the need for enterprise and new start ups, James Caan’s talk added real hope that there is support out there.”
Helen Buteux, Brand Director, I Am Now Media Ltd
“We were thrilled to be media partners for this prestigious event. There was a great buzz in the room, ambitious companies and superb presentations that can really help businesses drive forward with new ideas.”
* (some quotes have been shortened in transposing)