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How To Be A Successful UK Entrepreneur

Updated on May 21, 2012
Sir Alan Sugar is UKs most famous and well loved entrepreneur. In his program The Apprentice UK he funds one new business £250K after a competition to work with him as a business partner.
Sir Alan Sugar is UKs most famous and well loved entrepreneur. In his program The Apprentice UK he funds one new business £250K after a competition to work with him as a business partner. | Source

Recommended Reading List Entrepreneurship in IT


How To Be A Successful Entrepreneur

Never started a business? In the UK Business Link is loaded with great advice for how to get a business idea off the ground, and what tax, corporation and Companies House requirements are. One of the most interesting aspects, is that as a self-employed business owner, or sole trader, you have to pay National Insurance at roughly the rate of £20 per month.

Worked in a few small UK businesses? Recognise that if you have contributed to the bottom line and this is how you got an idea about business, you have been involved with intrapreneurship - or fostering an entrepreneurial culture within an organisation. Entrepreneurial jobs might sound like a contradiction in terms, but if you want to learn from the big international players, one of the best places to look is jobs in Google - the ultimate intrapreneurship group based in Milton Keynes UK.

Can freelance writing be the start of a UK business?

If one of your top new year resolutions is to start your own business in the arts stream, you need to look to famous entrepreneurs in that industry. I suggest starting your search for like minded professionals at the Business Startup Exhibition held each May in London. I went last year and tickets are free.

You could also consider looking at Hubpages and some excellent advice is available if you are in your first year on Hubpages regarding linking sites together. If you want to become an authopreneur you need to treat your book or writing as a business or else you have on your hands a very expensive hobby. With UK universities offering courses such as MA in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship, there are moves afoot to harness art and big money - universities think it is worth putting on a course.

Entrepreneurial Business Training

Do I need university training to excel at future entrepreneurship? Not strictly. There are many examples of people managing a business without formal training - think Dragon's Den. There's a lot of talk about entrepreneurs being rebels and dyslexics, however, a word of warning, these were obstacles to be overcome, not permanently embraced, and you can bet that these famous entrepreneurs have had some further training now they run large successful companies.

What is the key to being a successful entrepreneur in the UK? Knowing the best business to get into. Take into account your interests and passion, your knowledge base, your available resources and your desire. There's a lot of money to be made if you line up passion with sensible research. If you are at the stage where the plan's all written, the idea for business is firm, and you need investment you might want to try pitching to The Midas Touch angel investment team.

Is good knowledge of IT important to an entrepreneurial business? Yes. When I see universities putting on business education courses; combining entrepreneurship in IT with units outlining how valuable IT is at the business start up phase; it is impossible to ignore the trends. It is the reason why sites such as Elance and Odesk are doing so well. They offer web programming services from freelance IT specialists. See the recommended reading list provided for more on Entrepreneurship in IT.

Is there a difference between being a UK entrepreneur as opposed to a US entrepreneur? Yes. Your country of origin, be it UK or USA will affect your style of entrepreneurship. On the UK Apprentice, Your Fired, a guest panellist put it thus; (I'll loosely paraphrase this), "... you got fired because you were a girl who knew she was really good at selling, had the guts to lead the group and the strength to motivate the sales. In the UK our business approach to successful entrepreneurship is more like - I'm a bit rubbish at all of this - but I'll give it a go!"

The Midas Touch UK Live at Business Start up exhibition


Submit a Comment
  • ElizaDoole profile imageAUTHOR

    Lisa McKnight 

    9 years ago from London

    I agree MTS I don't think you can make it in any business these days without quite a bit of IT knowledge.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    It is always interesting to me to see how other countries impose small business rules. I do agree that IT is critical because it will be an integral part of any business, especially online...great job here...cheers...voted up and useful

  • ElizaDoole profile imageAUTHOR

    Lisa McKnight 

    9 years ago from London

    Wow. Digby that makes the $20 minimum a month you can pay as a self employed writer for example, a very attractive comparison. What a massive difference.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    The availability of health insurance is a huge advantage that UK entrepreneurs have over those in the United States. My husband and I are both self-employed and we pay over $2,000 a month for our combined insurance. We have no guarantee that it will last. The insurance company can just stop giving individuals health insurance at any time without warning. Because most Americans get health insurance through the companies they work for, many won't even consider starting their own business.

  • ElizaDoole profile imageAUTHOR

    Lisa McKnight 

    9 years ago from London

    @Marcy - the modesty you mention makes talent twice as hard to spot though! At least the US salesy approach is obvious. To defend you guys.

    @Summerberrie - lolz. I dare you to give it a try in your best British accent.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    ElizaDoole, it is so interesting to read about attitudes of the UK compared to the US - I would love to have the freedom while in a job interview to say I am a bit rubbish but I'll give it a go...

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

    Marcy Goodfleisch 

    9 years ago from Planet Earth

    I think I like the U.K. modesty you mentioned in the contrast between the two Apprentice television programs better than the brash culture here in the U.S!

    Thanks for this interesting information about starting a business across the Pond - voting up, and sharing!

  • ElizaDoole profile imageAUTHOR

    Lisa McKnight 

    9 years ago from London

    Thanks Marlene, Wayseeker and Allie for your reflections. There is a different business culture in the UK. Much more easy does it, carefully does it. Yet, extremely competitive and persuasive about end results and the bottom line.

  • alliemacb profile image


    9 years ago from Scotland

    Great hub. It's got a lot of useful information. Love the distinction between US and UK entrepreneurs. I saw an interview with a successful Scottish entrepreneur recently who almost seemed to be saying 'Sorry for being rich and successful, I didn't mean for it to happen.'

    Voted up and awesome.

  • wayseeker profile image


    9 years ago from Colorado

    This is a topic I had never thought about before and, in particular, never considered the differences between being an entrepreneur in the UK vs the US. While one thing I KNOW I'll never be is a business owner (I have no head for the details this requires), I find it fascinating to think about the difference this would require culturally.

    This is well written, clear, and full of useful information.


  • MarleneB profile image

    Marlene Bertrand 

    9 years ago from USA

    I thoroughly enjoyed your hub. I was tickled to see a picture of Sir Alan Sugar. I am an Apprentice fan and did not know about The Appentice in the UK. So, that was exciting to read.

  • Mmargie1966 profile image


    9 years ago from Gainesville, GA

    Interesting hub. I found it encouraging and helpful, even though I live in the US.

    Happy May Day! Voted up and interesting!

  • ElizaDoole profile imageAUTHOR

    Lisa McKnight 

    9 years ago from London

    Thanks Brian and Simone. Everyone needs a bit of Sir Alan, you're hired! And Simone, authopreneurship seems to be a new buzz word out there. Authors as entrepreneurs is the new Dickens it seems!

  • Simone Smith profile image

    Simone Haruko Smith 

    9 years ago from San Francisco

    I like your tips on 'authoprensurship' - and love that word! I had not really thought about how entrepreneurship might be different in the UK, so I also enjoyed hearing your insights on that front. Lovely Hub!

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Well who can resist reading a hub with the picture of Alan Sugar at the top! There have been many Uk entrepeneurs who have all started from nothing,except for having a passion. A passion for doing something you have always wanted can act as terrific boost to starting a business. You also need a good product or an idea, a marketing strategy and a little bit of luck. I think this country needs more entrepeneurs, they create wealth jobs and opportunities and a role model for younger people. Excellent hub voted up.:)


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