Real Business with Alan Wick

The "Real Business with Alan Wick" show is broadcast at 5pm on the last Sunday of every month.

I love working with entrepreneurs. I particularly want to help and support startups and early stage businesses. So if that’s what you’re doing, or you know someone who is, this show is for you.

Here in Britain, we’re an entrepreneurial nation. There are around 600,000 businesses started up here every year, but the reality is that most fail: only around a third of them are still in existence after three years.

Running your own business can look and sound exciting; TV shows such as The Apprentice and Dragons Den focus on the "the deal", and can give the impression that it’s about making a fast buck.

But the reality is that it’s a whole lot more than that. Being an entrepreneur involves passion, innovation, patience, persistence (never taking no for an answer), resourcefulness - and a whole lot of discipline.

So I’d like to contribute to increasing the success rate of start-ups and early stage businesses, by sharing the learnings of successful entrepreneurs, and my own learnings from over 40 years in business; that’s what this show is all about.

Steve Jobs, who you may know as the founder of Apple, gave a wonderful speech to students at Stanford University at the end of their studies, as they were about to go out into the world. In it, he advised them to “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”

I’d like to adapt Steve Jobs advice for entrepreneurs. Instead of “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish”, I encourage entrepreneurs to “Stay Hungry. Stay Learning.

That’s why each of my shows will have an interview with a successful entrepreneur, with a focus on what they’ve learned, and are still learning.

Here are typical questions I ask them:

  • What does your business do?

  • What’s the story of your business so far?

  • Why did you start your business?

  • Was there anyone in particular that inspired you to start it?

  • What were your goals when you started?

  • When did you know it would succeed?

  • Did you have any business training?

  • What impact has owning a business had on your lifestyle?

  • How do you prioritise the cultural vs. the commercial aspects of running a business?

  • What is your greatest achievement in your business, so far?

  • What was your biggest mistake in your business, so far?

  • Was there ever a time you felt like giving up your business?

  • What's your biggest opportunity or challenge for your business in the future?

  • What is your most important learning so far?

  • What's the most valuable advice you'd give to someone considering starting a business?

As well as that, on some shows, there’ll be a chance to phone in to ask me a question about your business, which I’ll do my best to help you with. I’d love to hear from you.

If you have a question you’d like me to answer on the next show, I’ve set up a 24 hour hotline number, where you can leave a message. The number is 01342 889488. Or you can email me at

A little bit about me: I help businesses achieve their goals. I’ve been doing this for 15 years. Before that I spent 25 years founding and running my own businesses in a variety of sectors, nationally and internationally. If you'd like to find out more about me, check out my website.

I’m really excited to be able to share my knowledge and help your business.

If you end up missing part of the show, or you want to listen to it again, then go to the Listen Again page on this website.

I hope you enjoy the show, and more importantly, that you learn something from it that's useful for your own business journey.



The crucial difference between Pricing and Charging

Pricing and charging are often seen as one and the same. I believe that pricing a product or service is a strategic decision, whereas charging is tactical. I’m defining strategy as the game plan and tactics as the moves.

Pricing products and services needs research, planning and thought. For example, the Recommended or Suggested Retail Price of a product, the “Rack Rate” of a hotel, or the headline hourly or daily rates of a service. Setting the price for that product or service sets its perceived value i.e. how it’s positioned in the marketplace.

Charging for that same product or service is tactical. It can be varied or altered according to circumstances. A business can discount a product or service for a number of reasons.

What’s crucial is always to show the full price, as well as any discount, so that the original perceived value is not lost. For example, imagine you're in the market for a camera. Let’s suppose it’s the first time you’ve bought one. You’re feeling both excited and nervous as you enter a camera shop.

The camera salesman listens to your needs and says, “Okay, given what you’ve told me, I suggest you look these three options. They’re all excellent; each one has its pros and cons: there’s this one, which is priced at £1,000, this one priced at £500, and this one priced at £250. The one priced at £1,000 is on special offer, because they’re going to replace it with a newer model, so we’re able to charge you only £500, in other words a 50% discount. Which one would you like?”

Given these options, I think most of us would choose the £1,000 one, discounted to £500, rather than the £500 one or the £250 one. Most of us associate high price with premium product, and by definition, the highest-priced product or service is perceived as the best.

We associate price with value, so it’s very important that pricing of products and services is carefully thought through - i.e. a strategic decision - it says what you, as a business owner, value your products or services at. 

As for charging – be careful not to dilute the value of your product or service by offering discounts or specials too often; be tactical about why, when and to whom you offer a discount.