Five-minutes with 4Networking’s MD Brad Burton

Brad Burton

Brad Burton

Brad Burton, Managing Director of  4Networking, a national business networking group, and author of the popular business advice books Get Off Your Arse and Get Off Your Arse Too, was in North Somerset in December to celebrate the fifth birthday of the Yatton 4Networking group.

The Echo managed to steal five minutes to interview the self confessed ‘genius’ who rose from crippling debt to a multi-million pound fortune, inspiring business people with his no-nonsense approach along the way.

What were you doing before you launched 4Networking? (Weston Echo)

A bit of everything really – I’ve worked as a doorman, journalist, TV Presenter, worked at Butlins, spent time on the dole and also delivered pizzas. As well as being an award winning marketer. (Brad Burton)

So what inspired you to set up 4Networking? (WE)

Well, I was working in London and it dawned on me that I could work 100 hours, 300 hours a week even and I wouldn’t be able to afford the things I wanted – I wouldn’t be able to get the big house and the car that I wanted. So in December 2004 I told my employer to stick his job. Three month’s later I was delivering pizzas, telling those around me that I was going to set up the UK’s biggest business networking group. (BB)

Did you encounter many obstacles to setting up 4Networking? (WE)

Of course – but I always had an unwavering belief that it would work. You will always have people, so called experts, telling you it won’t work. But it had to work, I didn’t have a plan b, I didn’t have a mate who could get me a job in a organisation or a load of savings to dip into. All I had was £25,000 worth of debt to keep me going. (BB)

What advice would you give to anybody wanting to start a business in North Somerset? (WE)

Start talking yourself into things instead of talking yourself out of them. Start getting out there and talking to people. You can sit in your room in your underpants waiting for the telephone to ring but you just have to start meeting people. You have to go forwards – there is no cavalry to do it for you. Once your self-employed you have to do it and you’ll find yourself working twice as hard becase there isn’t plan b. It’s important to realise that you can do it. (BB)

4Networking places much emphasis on building relationships as opposed to just strictly ‘doing business’- why ? (WE)

It’s the new 50/50 rule – fifty per cent business and fifty per cent building relationships. It’s about likeability – you can have the best product in the world but if you’re not honest, if you’re not likeable people aren’t going to want to do business with you. As soon as you sit down with somebody, within five minutes you can tell if you like them or not and whether you’re going to do business with them.

The reality is that people buy from people before they buy products or services. One thing I always say as well is never underestimate anybody – never think oh I don’t need to talk to such and such now, they can’t offer me anything at this moment. Treat everybody with respect because you just don’t know who they know. (BB)

Do you think anybody can run a business if they adopt your approach? (WE)

No I don’t think anybody can run a business. Some people suit being employed and some people suit running their own business, you need to have an unwavering belief in what your doing – you need the ingredients I talk about time and time again in my books. (BB)

Do you think conditions could be better in the UK to encourage business start-ups? (WE)

If you’re idea is good and you have the tenacity, the naivety, the get-up and go the conditions are always right. It’s about getting up and getting off your arse. People will always look for an excuse but at the end of the day it’s just down to you, and don’t worry about making mistakes because your bound to make some mistakes along the way. Everything happens for a reason, the good and the bad. (BB)

So the government couldn’t do more to help small businesses? (WE)

Forget the government – don’t even think about them, just concentrate on your business and get out there and do what you can. 4Networking is as good as it gets in this respect because you have a room full of potential clients and relationships. It’s got nothing do with what legislation government enacts, what tax-breaks it says it’s going to put forward. The government aren’t going to do if for you, or give you some magic pill that will make your business a success. (BB)

Can you teach risk taking, being pro-active, the get up and go mentality? Should more be done to instill these traits in the classroom? (WE)

Yes – kids need someone like me to come into schools and to talk to them. I needed a Brad Burton when I was young to give me some guidance and encouragement. I was told at school that I would amount to nothing – so surely it would be beneficial for kids to take on board what 4Networking, what the Get Off Your Arse books are all about and can do for some of them. (BB)

Brad Burton is MD of 4Networking, author of Get Off Your Arse and Get Off Your Arse Too and a regular motivational speaker at events. To find out more about him please visit: