Interview with Michael Dart

Today I interviewed business leader, visionary and all round nice guy, Michael Dart of Darts Farm in Exeter. They’ve won every award under the sun this year, built an incredible business which is highly respected locally and turned a farm shop into an exclusive destination. I find out some of his secrets to success. Enjoy

When I grow Up…

When I grow Up…

When I was growing up there were a number of people in my life that I looked up to – family members, inspirational teachers, sports stars and family friends all featured. When I consider the person I am today – my morals, my feelings towards others, my views on business and so much more I can see elements of these people in me.

Without realising it, I have become a product of my environment. As I’ve grown up I’ve continued to seek out new role models and people that I aspire to be like or learn something from. I’m sure a few of you probably put names like Branson, Steve Jobs, maybe even Lord Sugar in your role model lists but sometimes it’s the people that are on your door step that have the most to offer.

My Dad plays a huge part in my business life – I bounce ideas off him regularly, he chairs one of my companies boards as a non-exec. He is there for me when I need that experience and I’ve often said that if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I can never thank him enough for that.

I’m lucky that my job takes me into hundreds of businesses as a consultant and trusted advisor. I get to meet more people running businesses around the country than I ever dreamed I would have done. Every person I meet is an opportunity to learn. Every now and then I meet someone I know I can learn a lot from and I make it my business to do so. I ask questions, I show interest, I forget my path for that moment and concentrate on others. I wholeheartedly encourage you to do the same.

There are a few people I’d like to pay special tribute to (business wise). Maybe you could consider doing the same today.

Ken Rudge – A good friend and businessman who lives and works in Devon. A very sensible head on him and doesn’t pull any punches.

James Trebble – Never have I met anyone who is so positive. Whatever life throws at this serial entrepreneur, he gets up, dusts down and gets on with it. An absolute delight to spend time with, everyone needs a JT in their life.

*Worth noting here that myself, James and Ken take a day a quarter out of our businesses to get together and talk about challenges, set goals and think about the next big thing for our companies – this is absolute gold dust.

James Dawkins – My business partner for 12 years. We might bicker every now and then but we’ve never fallen out and in 12 years I think that’s pretty impressive. He’s the ying to my yang (soppy I know!).

Nick Sprague – Ultra successful businessman and philanthropist. I think it’s important to have business goals in life and and mine are based on what this man has achieved. Not only does he have a number of successful businesses but he enjoys life, helps charities (even setup his own: and has a wonderful home life. If I’m where Nick is in a few years, I’ll be a very happy man.

My list could easily go on…

In my opinion its vital to surround yourself with successful and positive people. Role models are so important to have. If you’ve not done it already, seek yours out and make them a part of what you do.

Now Your Thoughts

  • Who inspires you? Give them a shout out on this blog. They deserve the recognition right?
  • How much of an impact did your childhood role models have on you?

Go and Fail….Now

Go and Fail….Now

We all make mistakes – it’s how we learn.

It regularly surprises me that so many people seem afraid to fail.

When I talk to people about blogging (and often, this is in order to convince them to try it), one of the things I hear a lot is that they are worried about writing something that’s incorrect or that other people might not agree with. WOW, I’ve never thought that when writing these blog pieces. This is an alien concept to me but seeing as though so many people say it, I thought it was worth giving some time to in this post.

I often get a similar reaction when talking to people about how I started my business at 19, straight out of University. They say things like: ‘I could never have done that’, or ‘you’re very brave doing that’ Well the truth is I never even questioned it – not once. Failure was not an option – I was going to throw everything I had at my business in order to see it succeed.

You probably won’t remember back to when you were one, but around that time you probably learnt to walk. Did it happen straight away? Did you bounce up one day from crawling, onto two feet and proudly walk around? I’ll tell you now, you didn’t! You probably had a few goes and quite a few falls – some really hurt. You failed a number of times but you persisted and then, one day, you were finally able to walk :)

Richard Branson, in his book ‘Business Stripped Bare’ (aff link) gives another good example of this in the music world (one he knows pretty well :)). Listen to a musician learning to play a new song. They try and try again before getting it right, they fail hundreds of times, it’s just part of the process.

It seems to me, that as we are growing up we’re more prepared to fail in order to learn. What happens when we become adults? Why do some many people become afraid to step out of line and do something a bit different?

I think this separates the true Entrepreneurs – they don’t have this worry about failure, it’s just part of the process.

So here’s the thing, if you don’t push your boundaries, if you don’t try new things with a preparation for getting it wrong, then you’re not going to get anywhere new. Entrepreneurs are awesome at this – they don’t question failure, it’s part of their makeup. They pick themselves up after a fall, dust themselves off and learn from it.

Through life, you’d be extremely lucky if everything you do works out exactly as planned, every decision you make ends up being the right one – it rarely happens.

So get stuck in – don’t question the what might be’s – try and find out for yourself….today

Do you worry about failure or do you just jump on in? I’m really interested to know your views on this.