How passionate are you about your business? by @AngelsDen #IndieRetail

Passion is what drives us forward. It’s what gets us out of bed in the morning and into the office because we demand success, we are satisfied with nothing less and we will face every day with renewed vigour to achieve it. Your passion will be noticed by your customers, suppliers, anyone you come into contact with, and yes, if you are seeking funding from a business angel they will spot it too. Passion is one of the most important things that a business angel looks for in an entrepreneur because they know that it will see you through the tough times and reward you and them in the good times.

I like to think that sometimes life can be simplified into a micro environment, a familiar place that everyone knows where the full wonder of human diversity can be seen and appreciated. This is true of football stadiums and supermarkets and it is also true of retail outlets where you can see every level of human passion (or lack of) in a confined space.

To explain what I mean here are a few typical examples…

Business angels will run for the hills at the slightest hint of zombie in you!

The zombie – It may seem a little cruel but you have to admit that every retail outlet on the planet seems to be required by law to employ at least one of these, and in some cases the poor business owner must have done something wrong in a former life because their shop is over-run by them.

A “zombie” can be recognised by the perpetual look of boredom on their face with nothing going on behind their eyes. You are more likely to get actual customer service from a call centre than you are from someone like this and business angels will run for the hills at the slightest hint of zombie in you.

Business angels are not interested in pushy sales tactics used on them or your customers at the expense of the customer service.

The Rottweiler – Have you ever been in a shop where the assistants will not leave you alone? They follow you everywhere, “can I help you Sir?”, “can I be of any assistance?”, “do you want me to look for your size in that?”, etc.

The “Rottweiler” is doggedly determined to badger you into buying something from them and have no interest in whether what they are selling you is what you want. Inevitably they may well make sales, but the returns will cancel out any profit the business may have hoped for. Business angels are not interested in pushy sales tactics used on them or your customers at the expense of the customer service.

Business angels have heard it all, so no amount of praise from a total stranger will make a dent in their armour.

The sycophant – Fawning over the customer is rarely a comfortable sales technique (unless you’re a fan of Pretty Woman).

The “sycophant” is often cringe-worthy and avoided at all costs because of the embarrassment of the continuous false praise. Business angels have heard it all, so no amount of praise from a total stranger will make a dent in their armour. It’s best not to try this approach.

Whilst you may have more knowledge about your business than the angels you are seeking funding from, humility is always advised…

The know-it-all – The old adage “the customer is always right” is of course not always the case, but the customer must be made to feel that they are king…

There still seem to be far too many sales assistants out there with a superiority complex who either will not let you get a word in edgeways to buy or they put you off buying by attempting to look down on you. Whilst your passion for your business may mean that you have more knowledge about it than the business angels you are seeking funding from, humility is always advised during these negotiations.

When you are presenting to business angels you must exude confidence!

The wallflower – They can’t sell to you if they don’t speak to you. Passion for your business should go hand in hand with the communication of this passion. When you are presenting to business angels you must exude confidence.

Would you buy from any of these sales assistants? Would you recommend the shop to your friends? Business angels buy into the dream of a business, its profit potential and the passion of the business owner.

If you are seeking additional funding and would like to discuss your business or business idea with a number of business angels then visit  where you’ll find a refreshingly different approach to business funding.

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About Clare Bailey

Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion (formerly Clare Rayner), is one of the most well-known and respected retail experts in the UK. With unrivalled knowledge in retail, high streets and consumer matters, she offers unbiased, independent content – whether engaged as a professional speaker, for broadcast media, or for a written feature. Clare is a business woman, entrepreneur and founder of several small businesses. Having been born into a family of successful business owners, it was inevitable that she’d eventually jump off the corporate treadmill and step out on her own! Today her brand portfolio includes The Retail Champion, The Retail Conference, the Future High Street Summit and the Support for Independent Retail campaign. In addition, she is co-founder of Mobaro Retail UK and a non-exec director of Beed Virtual Assistant Services. Having started her career as a fast-track store management trainee for McDonalds, she went on to work with leading retailers such as M&S, Dixons and Argos. She moved swiftly into management roles before being headhunted into senior consulting roles with global software giant SAP, and international management consulting brand, Accenture. Her corporate background in senior retail, consulting and technology roles, coupled with her experience of creating and running her own business, has enabled her to be equally capable whether consulting to global brands or micro businesses. This unique blend has not only positioned her as a leading expert in all things retail, but has enabled her to add meaningful commentary and insight to the debate around the future of the high street, and, how technology is driving fundamental change in the way consumers, and businesses, interact. Clare has become an influential voice in her field, which has resulted in her becoming a regular media contributor and sought-after conference speaker. Often seen on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, and Chanel 5 (to name a few), Clare speaks on a myriad of retail, high street and consumer issues – but is particular adept when it comes to explaining the context behind retail trading results, newly released data, and government stats, in a palatable and informative manner. In addition to broadcast and conference speaking, Clare is the proud author of two best-selling business books published by Kogan Page - The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success, published July 2012 and How to Sell to Retail: The Secrets of Getting Your Product to Market, published February 2013. She has provided contributions to various academic texts, including Retail Marketing Management (published by Pearson). With an engaging, conversational yet informative style, Clare writes for press and content agencies, providing features, articles, blogs and opinion pieces as well as contributions to white papers and reports. However, when the situation demands a more serious style, Clare can deliver - In 2016 she wrote an extensive report for a major insurance and risk law firm, as a retail expert witness, to support a public liability suit. She found that project particularly enjoyable as it played well to her strengths – assimilating large amounts of data and information, identifying the key points and articulating that in an understandable manner. When not on TV or speaking at conferences, Clare’s “day job” sees her supporting consumer-facing businesses through her consultancy services. When asked to describe what she most loves about retail consulting it is typically the opportunity to “dig deep”, getting “under the bonnet”, in order to leverage the business data to uncover the insights that lead to “lightbulb moments”. She also loves working on business change programmes that centre on improving the processes and systems to increase profitability by supporting more rapid, better informed decision making, improving the customer experience, or simply by become more efficient and streamlined. In this respect she considers herself a “business engineer” with a brain that works like a relational database! Due to her years of experience, her logical, objective approach, her quick, rational thinking, she is known for being able to cut through complexity, seeing right through to the crux of issues, finding creative solutions that others may have overlooked. As if all that wasn’t enough, Clare is a working mum, juggling a home life in rural Lincolnshire with her partner, their 5 kids, 4 cats, and geriatric Labrador! For all enquiries, contact Clare directly on 01727 238890 or email
This entry was posted in Blog-a-day for Indie Retail, Independent Retailer Month 2011, robust repeatable processes, saleable business, scalable, Service and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to How passionate are you about your business? by @AngelsDen #IndieRetail

  1. Pingback: A preview of first 7 blogs for blog-a-day for #IndieRetail | Clare Rayner: The Retail Champion

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