Former Blades boss reveals secrets to business success

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KEVIN McCabe, has revealed that a fear of failure, learning from others and being adaptable have helped him to find global success in football and property.

The former chairman of Sheffield United Football Club was at Sheffield Hallam University for an ‘In Conversation With...’ discussion, as part of the University’s special nights out season.

Speaking to a packed lecture theatre, he talked about his working class roots, his success as an entrepreneur and the challenges he faced in the boardroom at Bramall Lane.

“Everyone makes mistakes and the fear of failure drives you on in business,” he said.

“I’m lucky that over the years I’ve had partnerships with many great people and made some great friends.

“Business can be exciting - it can be stress, strain and hassle, but it can be exciting. You’ve got to adapt to be successful in business, especially overseas. Don’t always believe you know what’s right, but learn from your partners.”

Kevin originally studied at Sheffield Hallam, where he trained to be a surveyor. He has been at the forefront of sport in South Yorkshire since 2008, when he became Chairman of Sheffield United football club.

The Sheffield-born entrepreneur shed light on a colourful career that includes the high-profile high court battle with West Ham United, multi million pound business deals and ownership of a Chinese football club, Chengdu Blades.

He said: “I never set out to pursue an exciting career. My ethic was always just to drive myself forward. I’ve always enjoyed learning and I wanted to learn the business of football. I’ve taken a lot of risks and had a lot of able people working with me. If I’ve got an Achilles Heel it’s that I can’t resist an opportunity.”

Kevin also had some advice for the business studies students in the audience. He said: “An entrepreneur is a leader, not an executive. You have to work with executives, but you’re different, and it can get lonely. And you’ve got to have humour - be a serious businessperson but never be a serious person.”