Frequently Asked Questions
Through Tim Campbells time as The Apprentice and now as a successful Entrepreneur and Business Speaker there are many frequently asked questions. Below are a few that have been asked recently.
Why did you enter the Apprentice television programme and what are your hopes for the future?
The whole point of the programme for me was to learn tangible business skills. It was a struggle at times but I want to be an example to others, to help them to see that anything is possible.
What are the leadership qualities you most admire?
I think there are several qualities required to be a good business leader, but the most crucial is having an overarching vision for the organisation. A leader needs to ensure their staff buy into a clearly defined strategy. It’s not the leader’s place to get caught up in the smallest details – this is why it’s important to empower your staff wherever possible.
I think Lord Karan Bilimoria, the founder of Cobra Beer, gave the best distinction between the two levels when he said that managers make things happen, whereas leaders make things possible.
Are people born good leaders or are they made?
Leaders can certainly be made but it has to be based on firm foundations. For instance, working with inspirational people rubs off on you but I believe you need to have natural personality traits like being organised and having excellent interpersonal skills. Employees need these qualities to make the transition from being a manger to becoming a leader.
What influence did Sir Alan Sugar have on your leadership and management style?
One of the most important things Sir Alan taught me was effective delegation. My difficulty was that I used to try to control all the tasks – right down to the smallest operational issues. He showed me how to empower my team, giving them smaller tasks, which resulted in more time to take control of the strategy and see the bigger picture. By placing more trust in my team to carry out the day-to-day tasks they had increased confidence in their abilities and were more motivated to achieve the organisation’s goals. Ultimately it was a win-win situation – they benefited and so did the company.
Who are the entrepreneurs you admire and why?
Well, obviously Sir Alan, has been one of the biggest role model in my career. His ability to manage people, maximising their effectiveness whilst at the same time tackling massive tasks has to be admired. Outside Amstrad, I think the scale of Stelios’ vision for Easygroup, with its diverse but profitable business strategies, is something you have to applaud as are the enterprises under Richard Branson’s Virgin umbrella.
Robert L. Johnson and Oprah Winfrey overcome adversity to create two billion dollar empires and a legacy that gains my admiration and respect.
Last but not least, John Caudwell, the founder of Phones 4U, has to be admired as his story is a real rags to riches tale. John started out just sweeping floors in a pottery but with hard work and amazing foresight he began selling mobile phones when they were largely unheard of. I remember that the reason he was so driven was because he couldn’t afford heating at home at the start of his career which inspired him on to achieve more. Several years later he sold Phones4U for £1.46bn.
What is the mark of a good leader?
The sign of a good leader is someone who can develop and grow by keeping in touch with what’s happening in their industry.
You are launching a male grooming business. How do you plan to get it off the ground and what tips do you have for other start-ups?
I can’t stress enough how important researching your target market is when starting your own business. The main thing is before you dive into the unknown, take a step back and assess the market and how your product or service fits within it. You can then consider how to differentiate your business from the competition and make sure you have the skills you need to help your business succeed.
It was a brave decision leaving the comfort -zone of a £100.000 a year job with Amstrad PLC.
What has been the biggest challenge so far and how did you overcome it?
When I started out on my own, the biggest challenge I faced was managing my time effectively. I had to keep reminding myself that I couldn’t do everything in a day. This is why it’s now so important that I prioritise my time, ensuring that it’s put to maximum use. Through good time management skills and effective delegation I’ve been able to achieve this and be more productive. Part of this ethos feeds into the work-life balance debate. I think having an even split at the most senior levels is hard to achieve but not impossible. With sound time management, your family life doesn’t have to suffer.
Do you find it difficult being out in the cold wide world on your own and who have you turned to for help?
Having a family who was there for me at all times was vital. They really gave me the confidence and belief I needed to progress in my career – if you set your home life in order your business will fly. I’ve also found however, that advice and guidance from business mentors is crucial. You can turn to them to get a different perspective, and get an objective viewpoint on your business ideas. Being able to consult someone with a wise head on experienced shoulders has certainly added tremendous value to my business. I thoroughly recommend businesses seek similar advice, it’s helped me immensely.
It is tough staying ahead of the competition. What advice do you have for others?
I honestly don’t believe that there’s a magic bullet that gives one business a competitive advantage over another. What I would stress however, is that you need to keep in mind your strategy and vision for the business at all times, and that everything you do should revolve around this.
Tell us about the social enterprise called Bright Ideas Trust which you have formed?
The Bright Ideas Trust is a nationwide initiative to help 16-30 year olds get their business ideas off the ground. I believe these entrepreneurs need two fundamental things: financial backing and real world business advice. Through the Trust we aim to provide both of these things. Thanks to the support of these businesses and bodies such as the Institute of Directors, Federation of Small Businesses and the Chamber of Commerce, we intend to make business ideas become a reality. We are currently approaching big businesses and asking them to donate money and time to help mentor the young entrepreneurs as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) agenda.
Our aim is to have regional ambassadors for the Trust who can provide business support advice that is tailored to the local economy. In a year’s time I’d like to think that there are groups of Trustees throughout the country meeting the needs of young entrepreneurs and helping to build a thriving community of local businesses.