How they did it: Business training tips from Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs - we can’t help but admire, even envy, their initiative, enterprise and most of all their ability to make pots of money. Their assured and polished public personas may lull is into the impression that they accumulate wealth effortlessly, but the truth of the matter is that these are driven individuals who have, with hard work, total commitment and, at times, no small degree of risk, pursued their goals relentlessly in order to achieve the great success they now enjoy. Could you follow in their footsteps? Where do you even start?

Every business starts with an idea, but how do you turn your product or service into a viable business? Research is key: finding out who your potential customers are, whether there is a genuine demand for what you’re offering and gaining a realistic view of how much money could be made are crucial early steps. This will form the basis of a business plan which can be used to map out the development of your company and help you to persuade potential investors, suppliers and partners to back you. There are all sorts of other things to consider too, such as securing your intellectual property with the appropriate patents and copyrights to stop others from copying your idea. With so much involved, and so much at stake, getting some solid business training is always a good idea. Various courses are available at local colleges, and government-run support helplines also exist to offer practical advice. BBC Active can also help with training through video. How did all those famous entrepreneurs do it? BBC Active has a large array of programmes which explore that very question and offer a glimpse into the world and the psyche of the entrepreneur.

In How We Made Our Millions, Peter Jones, himself one of the UK’s foremost entrepreneurs who millions of us know for his 9 years in the Dragons’ Den, talks to the entrepreneurs behind brands such as Lush, The Range, St Tropez and Cobra beer to discover what makes them tick and how they came up with their individual recipes for success. We discover that the path to the top isn’t always a smooth one, but find out how these single-minded business giants overcame the obstacles in their way to reach the dizzy heights of success they now look down from. Peter believes that all successful entrepreneurs share certain qualities. What are they, do you possess them and can they be taught? This fascinating exploration of their stories reveals some of the answers and makes a great business training resource for those looking to emulate them.

Steve Jobs: Billion Dollar Hippy looks at the rise of one of the most inspirational and visionary figures of our generation, the late co-founder of Apple. With contributions from colleagues, contemporaries and admirers, we learn how Jobs’ boundless ambition and grit saw a college dropout take an enterprise that began in the garage of his parents’ California home to the tech superpower we know today. Though naturally not everyone can pioneer the sort of technological advances that put Apple on the global map, there is yet much to be learned from Jobs’ tenacity and undisputed mastery of the art of publicity.

The phenomenal rise of the budget airline is the subject of Flights and Fights: Inside the Low Cost Airlines, focusing on two of the biggest players in this competitive industry, Michael O’Leary and Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou of Ryanair and EasyJet respectively. This close-up on the ethos, strategies and publicity stunts of these larger-than-life characters is a lesson to any budding entrepreneur.

There is one hugely successful entrepreneur that others have tried again and again to emulate and his story is told in Warren Buffett: The World's Greatest Money Maker. Known variously as ‘The Sage of Omaha’, ‘The Wizard of Omaha’ and ‘The Oracle of Omaha’, Buffett is considered the most successful investor of the twentieth century, amassing a vast fortune and topping the world’s rich list several times. What is the secret of his extraordinary success? His amazing story is told here.

Making it to the top is just the beginning though. How do the successful entrepreneurs stay there, what motivates them to keep striving for more where others might just retire quietly, and how do they deal with adversity? Trouble at the Top is a fascinating insight into what it takes to retain a top spot in the world of big business.

BBC Active offers these and many more programmes on all aspects of business which make compelling and instructive viewing for any would-be entrepreneur. Though it’s true that not everyone aspires to a multi-million pound business empire, even those with more modest ambitions can gain valuable business training from studying the stories and accomplishments of some of the world’s most successful business people.

Take a look at our Business Training for Top Bosses article.