As Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014 kicks off, there’s going to be a flurry of events, articles and announcements from a whole range of established entrepreneurs, keen to give the next wave of entrepreneurs tips and advice on how they too can make a success of themselves.
I’ve been running FutureGov, a product company that designs and builds modern public services, for over 6 years now and I’ve received as much advice as anyone. But even I still remember what it was like just starting out and know that it can be difficult to know what advice to listen to listen to that will really help both you and your business.
I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way, but here are my top tips to help you grow if you’re just starting out – and a healthy reminder for those entrepreneurs who are more established and already on their way of the important things to keep in mind (and yes I know some of the advice conflicts – that’s life)
1. Say yes to everything
You never know when great contacts will be made, great opportunities will come up or when a great idea will strike you in the middle of a conversation about something else entirely. Say yes to as many interesting meetings as you can, talk to as diverse a range of people as you can, attend as many events as you can. Even those random emails out of the blue may have value, even if it’s not immediately obvious. Be generous with your time and brain, and the rewards will open up for you.
2. Know when to say no
Conversely, be clear about what you’re interested in and what you get from a reciprocal relationship – with clients, team members, partners and even strangers. Set the right rules for the relationship, so you’re clear that your relationship is not just a one way street. If you’re being generous, people need to be generous in return. It’s okay to say no to things that are distracting or are only beneficial for the people who want your time.
3. Go deep
Deeply understanding the problem you’re trying to solve or business you’re in is key. Be focused about solving that problem or delivering the best possible products or service that you possibly can. It took me a while to work this one out.
4. Culture is King
Create the right kind of culture to ensure that you can attract the best talent to make your business a success. This also means that the best talent out there will share your values and vision of how the world should be. Create a culture that nurtures this.
5. Start small but think big
Focus on one thing that you really care about and try and solve that issue, ignoring everything else. Equally, don’t be afraid to experiment and try a few things to see which is the sweet spot of something you care about. Ask yourself: is it really a problem that people will pay you to solve and is it actually of interest to you?
6. Know when the right moment is to go for growth
Once you’ve built the foundations, know when you’re succeeding and be opportunistic. Take the chance in front of you when it opens up. Be bold when the time is right and throw everything you have behind it. Know when you’re winning, push forward and look for opportunities for investment, growth and support.
by Dominic Campbell, Founder FutureGov