‘Do your research,’ says Peter Jones

Serial entrepreneur and Dragons' Den investor Peter Jones says that many small business owners fall short when it comes to appreciating the importance of research.

‘The biggest cause of business failure at the moment isn’t that they’re struggling for cash and working capital, it’s a lack of research,’ says Jones.

‘You need to have the right research before you launch a business, and actually, if you have an incumbent company that’s been growing, a lot of people don’t focus on the key things that can improve a business.’

Jones, who was speaking to SmallBusiness.co.uk to promote Small Business Week 2009, adds: ‘The greatest thing you get out of attending an event like this is the real, intuitive advice about what you need for your business.

‘There are seminars and workshops and you can learn about how you can use technology to enhance your business, whether that’s for saving or generating you money, or taking you down new avenues.’

For Jones, the key to making a success of a business is not to stand still. ‘I get people who go to my website and ask: “Where do I go for this grant or that loan?” That tells me they are looking for cheap money. For me, that isn’t the right strategy. What you have to do is take a look at your business and find the right tools to do the job more effectively.’

As for the best thing about being a successful entrepreneur, Jones says it has to be ‘freedom of choice’, which is what inspired the Dragons’ Den star to start a business in the first place. ‘There are two things about being an entrepreneur. It’s a lonely road as not many people will pat you on the back, so you’re doing it on your own.

‘But it also gives you the freedom of choice to enable you to make your own decisions. Having a successful business gives you a much wider reach with the choices you have about what to do with your life.’

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