Archive: Oct 2012

  1. Top traits of the best entrepreneurs

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    I have worked with, literally, hundreds of entrepreneurs. With those who have achieved FTSE100 status and with those who bombed. They have been in all sorts of sectors, from web to transport to food. I have also set up companies myself, and I have invested in start up and early stage companies.

    So I feel that I can identify some of the attributes that enabled the best entrepreneurs to achieve real success – including some who first failed, if failure is the right word, in earlier ventures.

    In no particular order, these are the key characteristics that pinged loudly on my radar:

    • Never say never
    • Never take no for an answer
    • Resilient – never stop
    • Haven’t been conditioned to not follow certain paths
    • Not afraid to talk to anyone
    • Listen hard
    • Understand risk and are not reckless
    • Think big (global) not small
    • Act quickly
    • Passion and courage
    • Embrace ambiguity, contradictions and uncertainty
    • Understand that they don’t have all the answers and use a network of advisers to help them
    • Know that if everything is going well, something horrible is coming round the corner

    Finally, a great quotation from Ernest Rutherford: ‘We had no money, so we were forced to think’.

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  2. Ten guiding principles for business

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    1. Have a strategic business plan in place and review it regularly
    2. Talk, talk, talk to your people
    3. Define, monitor and respond to the key performance indicators in your business
    4. Research your customers and think of ways to improve their relationship with your business
    5. Research your suppliers with a view to improving their performance and costs
    6. Nurture a good relationship with your investors and bank to ease future funding
    7. Manage your working capital
    8. Aim for higher quality products and services so that you do not have to repair goods or customer relationships
    9. Ensure you have a good sounding board such as a non-executive or an adviser
    10. Stand back and get the bigger picture

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