Lord Sugar’s comments leave sour taste
Now it’s time to look at a claim levelled at me in The Scottish Sun newspaper, which also appeared online and was repeated again on the Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back show. In essence Lord Sugar appeared on a video and made these three claims which resulted in me publicly being branded a liar. He said:
- He doesn’t know me
- That he has NEVER given me ‘business advice’ or mentored me
- That we only had a brief meet and greet
I have long admired Lord Alan Sugar and still do. I have often wanted to benefit from his words of wisdom. For this reason, I paid for a one-hour, private round table session with him at the Business Empires event on November 10, 2017 at Heathrow Airport’s Hilton Hotel.
The total cost was £4,800. You can see the receipt here. So for Lord Sugar to say we only met for a quick handshake and a photo opportunity at a conference is wrong.
The price I paid clearly reflects the fact this was not just a brief meet and greet at a conference. In the emails I received from an organiser, in connection with the boardroom event, it was made very clear that there would be an opportunity for me to ask questions relevant to my business.
I have attached two emails from her which confirm that this was a private round table event at which I would be able to seek personal advice about my business. I have also attached my receipt for £4,800.
During the session with just four other businesses, each participant was allowed to ask questions about their business. I shared my business plan with Lord Sugar and received advice. Specifically, I explained my strategy of Buy Low, Rent High and he said it made sense which gave me a lot of confidence.
He also advised me to get into commercial deals as residential property was very hard to scale. This was why I put many of my properties onto commercial leases and sought bigger development deals. I found Lord Sugar’s advice about my business to be extremely useful.
One of the businesses at the same event was featured in a newspaper article. The news story was headlined:
Two brothers running a Norwich business get advice from Lord Sugar
It was published in the Norwich Evening News and was specifically angled on two brothers receiving valuable business advice from Lord Sugar. It is clear from the story that gaining business tips from Lord Sugar was the main reason they wished to attend the event. In fact, they talk about that in detail in the story. They are quoted as saying: ‘When the opportunity arose we both thought it was too good to pass up,
How often do you get to spend time and get some advice from a billionaire?’ I felt the same way about receiving advice.
Here is a link to the article:
To be honest, had one of my own students paid me nearly £5,000 for business advice or a mentoring session (whatever you want to call it) I would not be appearing on camera, saying I don’t know him, that I met him only briefly at a conference a few years ago and had a quick photograph taken with him. I certainly wouldn’t be saying that ‘any claims that I have given him business advice and mentored him are pure fantasy and completely untrue.’ Frankly I feel a bit short changed on that one.
I explained all of this to The Scottish Sun. While they added some of my comments to the online article, they argued that the issue was that I had used the word ‘mentored.’
An executive from the newspaper said: “As you acknowledge, when you tell people that Alan Sugar ‘mentored’ you, what you are referring to is a one-hour session which you attended with other people, where participants were permitted to ask questions about their businesses. In light of this, I do not believe it is inaccurate or misleading to report that Lord Sugar has denied mentoring you.”
I said I had paid him for mentoring – and I meant I had received business advice from him. I’m sorry if that gave the wrong impression. BUT it has been widely published as fact that I specifically did not receive ‘business advice’ from him and only had a ‘brief meet and greet.’ I did not lie about those points.
And yet those accusations have been published as hard cold facts – and have been shared everywhere online.