This week we had three incredible, local entrepreneurs at our networking event sharing their journeys. We had Salma Chaudry from The Halal Cosmetics Company, Kieran Fletcher of Funda and Karen Livesey of Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Training (C.A.T.). An insight into the challenges and process of these three businesses proved inspirational to both newly established entrepreneurs and those still in the incubation phase. Throughout the talks and Q&A session some themes kept cropping up, again and again:
- See a need, fill a need.
- Start small and don’t expect the world.
- Do it now.
- Rinse your resources.
- Be your brand.
See a need, fill a need.
Each of our entrepreneurs said something worth noting: none of them actually intended to start a business. Whether through accident, life changes or ongoing exposure, each of our entrepreneurs found there was something missing from their area of interest. Once they found that, they couldn’t let it go. They developed their business almost out of compulsion and continued growing as other people saw the need for it too.
Start small and don’t expect the world.
When a business kicks off, it can really kick off, but we are talking over months, not days. There’s lots of planning, lots of relationship building and lots of delivery before momentum builds. Make sure you can afford to live during the slow-build and don’t lose heart.
Do it now.
Don’t wait, or you might miss your opportunity. You can learn as you go and even mistakes are just happy accidents. The main thing stopping people from starting is self-doubt, but we’ve all got mountains to climb. Even our established entrepreneurs admitted to still feeling like an imposter from time to time, so just push through it. It’s important to have a circle of friends, advisors and confidants who offer a shoulder to cry on and boost you up when you’re feeling low.
Rinse your resources.
Each one of our entrepreneurs kept stressing the importance of seizing every opportunity and using the resources at your disposal. That’s not just physical things, but people and services too. Make a list of all the people you know who might be able to help in some way, whether through supply, networking, emotional support – whatever they can offer – and don’t be afraid to ask.
Be your brand.
The main reason each of these businesses has been a success is that their entrepreneurs really believe in the product or service that they are selling. They care passionately about their offering and genuinely believe that their work is having a strong impact on their chosen market. That passion shines through when they speak and makes you really believe in the benefits.
Next month’s networking: Is selling dead?
Our next networking event is on Tuesday 11th December, with Phil Pond from Scarlet Opus. Phil is tackling a topic we’ve been discussing in the office to some length: Is Selling Dead?
Young people don’t take phone calls: if it’s important, the caller will leave a message. We don’t appreciate people interrupting our day with face-to-face pitches and would rather conduct research than have a product forced on us – no matter how charismatic you are. So, what does this mean for businesses? We don’t have the answer, but we’re interested to see if Phil does!