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Ask the Entrepreneur: Expert Insights and Advice for Success in Business

Man holding briefcase climbing up stack of coins
Man holding briefcase climbing up stack of coins
Vincenzo Guzzo, Renowned entrepreneur and television personality from Dragon's Den

Vincenzo Guzzo

Renowned entrepreneur and television personality from Dragon’s Den

Mediaplanet had the amazing opportunity to interview Vincenzo Guzzo, renowned entrepreneur and television personality from Dragon’s Den, as he shared invaluable insights into his journey to success and provided his advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Q&A entrepreneur dragon's den
What do you look most for in an entrepreneur who appears on Dragons’ Den to make you want to invest into their business?

The show attracts numerous talented individuals with innovative business concepts, and while I’m always impressed by the level of creativity displayed, what truly captivates me is a founder’s unwavering dedication to their venture. I seek out those who exhibit a deep commitment to their project and are willing to go above and beyond to see it come to fruition – a drive that extends far beyond mere talk. In addition to passion, I prioritize collaboration, and seek out entrepreneurs who understand the value of working as a cohesive team. After all, success is seldom achieved alone, and I’m eager to invest in individuals who share this belief and are willing to invest their own resources – including time, money, and effort – to see their vision come to life.

Q&A entrepreneur dragon's den
How did you build a successful customer base with Cinémas Guzzo?

It took years and endless hours of hard work. Throughout 50 years of business, we
recognized that in order to create an exceptional Guzzo experience, we needed to continually adapt and update our approach. In so doing, we were able to provide an unparalleled movie-going experience that kept our customers coming back time and time again.

Despite our successes, we were not immune to the challenges that came with the pandemic and labour shortages in recent years. However, with a dedicated team of professionals who are passionate about their work, we were able to navigate these obstacles and continue to deliver the exceptional service our customers have come to expect from us.

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Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?

The truth is that it involves a great deal of sacrifice… you must be willing to give up a lot. To achieve success in business, it’s essential to embrace two difficult realities: failure and loneliness. By confronting failure head-on, you’ll develop the resilience needed to weather any storm, whether it’s a tangible obstacle or a self-imposed barrier like insecurity and anxiety. It’s also important to recognize that success can be a lonely journey. As you ascend the ladder of achievement, you’ll find that fewer people can relate to the challenges and pressures you face daily. You may struggle to find individuals who share your concerns, worries, and triumphs. Conversations with yourself become commonplace, as you seek reassurance and affirmation that you’re on the right path. This is an unexpected consequence of success, but one that is crucial to acknowledge and accept.

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What piece of advice would you give to university/college graduates who want to become entrepreneurs?

I’ve told plenty of students: “don’t do it…become a lawyer, a teacher…work 9 to 5, then go home!” If after hearing this, they still know it’s what they want, then my advice to them is to accept that they can’t be a successful entrepreneur and expect to live ‘normally.’ There are no concrete office hours or separation between your ‘work life’ and ‘personal life.’ My best council is to enjoy the ride instead of concentrating on the finish line because there really isn’t one.

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What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs to invest their time in?

That’s a very subjective question and the answer can look quite different from one person to the next. Entrepreneurs need to invest their time in what they are passionate about. They need to be experts in their field, and they also need to spend time learning how to operate a business. At the end of the day, the activities worth investing in are those that will propel them one step closer toward their goals. I always recommend speaking to other entrepreneurs in their industry and finding a mentor to provide guidance and feedback.

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