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Duncan Bannatyne

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Duncan Bannatyne is a Scottish-born serial entrepreneur, investor, and author who is known for his role as a business angel on the BBC programme, Dragons’ Den. In additioning to authoring seven influential business books, he started a nursing home business called Quality Care Homes and has since expanded into health clubs and hotels. His other business interests include spas, media, TV, stage schools, property, and transport.

Bannatyne was born in Clydebank, Scotland in 1949 and raised in a relatively modest household. When he was just 15 years old, he volunteered with the Royal Navy and served for 12 years. He received a dishonourable discharge for threatening an officer, a situation he defended in his biography as a reaction to this officer’s abuse of this authority. After leaving the Navy, Bannatyne moved to Stockton-on-Tees in the North East and began his business career. He bought an ice cream van and eventually expanded to owning several vans before selling the business for GBP28,000. He then founded Quality Care Homes, a company he sold for 26 million in 1997. He also founded and subsequently sold a children’s nursery chain, Just Learning, that same year.

Soon there afterwards, Bannatyne expanded into health clubs, starting Bannatyne’s Health Clubs chain. He acquired 26 health clubs from Hilton Hotels in August of 2009 for 92 million. As it stands today, Bannatyne’s is the largest independent chain of health clubs in the UK. In October of 2008, he opened the Bannatyne Spa Hotel in Hastings.

In 2011, Bannatyne’s wealth was estimated at 430 million. However, his net worth dropped the following year to just 85 million after a divorce and drop in property values of some of this health clubs. In 2014, his wealth was estimated at 175 million.

In addition to his business investments, Bannatyne is a well-respected philanthropist who has funded several projects in Romania and also established the Bannatyne Charitable Foundation in 2008. He also appeared on the TV programme Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in 2008, was named the President of the charity No Smoking Day, and is a trustee of Comic Relief, a charitable organization.

Companies and Investments

Bannatyne Health Clubs (Founder), Quality Care Homes (Founder), Bannatyne Spa Hotels (Founder), Just Learning (Founder), Dragons’ Den (Business Angel), Electro Expo (Investor), ChocBox (Investor)

Lessons Learned

No matter what life throws at you, never stop fighting and going after your dreams.

I believe employee loyalty is one of the most important aspects when building a successful enterprise.

Always do your homework and prepare yourself for an interview before stepping through those company doors.

No reward comes without risk. In some cases, you must throw caution to the wind and go against your better judgement in order to come out ahead.

Making decisions based off of instinct is always the right choice.

Think about your business strategy and product or service before pursuing anything. Similarly, be very honest with yourself about the future and the market you are aiming for.

Inspiring Quotes

Duncan Bannatyne's Quotes

The best time to start in business is now. It’s always now. Tomorrow, it’s now. Yesterday, it was now. 10 years ago, it was now. There’s never a better or worse time - the sooner you get on with your plan, the sooner you can put it into action.

Duncan Bannatyne

Business is not an exact science, so I get to learn something new every day. I also get to help people develop their businesses.

Duncan Bannatyne

You’ve got to understand your market. And you need passion and drive and a business plan. But you can’t have all that and a rubbish deal.

Duncan Bannatyne

Entrepreneurs never retire.

Duncan Bannatyne

Influential Books

- How To Be Smart With Your Money by Bannatyne, Duncan (2010) Paperback

Duncan Bannatyne - Wake Up and Change Your Life

Duncan Bannatyne - 43 Mistakes Every Business Makes...and How to Avoid Them