Daniel Jupp, serial entrepreneur and founder of ‘pay per click’ consultancy Top Position
I am a calculated risk-taker by nature. But one of the most important qualities for me has been knowing my own strengths and weaknesses. As a manager, I have little patience with people so it’s been important to get someone in to play that role. I also tend to get bored easily, so it’s important to have people who can look after customer accounts once I’ve decided to move on to something else. My strengths lie in sales, and concentrating on that has absolutely helped to grow my various ventures. I’m one of those people who is always having new ideas.
Hedley Aylott, managing director of digital marketing company Summit Media
A lot of people think that entrepreneurs are just swashbuckling risk-takers. But that’s not true. It involves spotting an opportunity in the market and knowing that market inside and out. It’s very calculated. You also need a large degree of confidence and single-mindedness in the early days in order to get something off the ground. There tends to be a real determination to better your life, take care of the future and be unwilling to just make do.
Nick Glynne, CEO of IT company Easycom
My whole approach to business has been this sort of childlike, instinctive attitude, and that has been partly responsible for some of the mistakes I’ve made on the way. But I know if I had gone to business school, I would have been too intimidated to take the kind of risks I have. The mistakes have contributed to the success of the business in a way. It’s all part of the same package. If I’d been more cautious, I wouldn’t be here now.
Richard Denny, founder of training company The Denny Group
When people ask me whether entrepreneurs are born or made, I believe most of us learn on the way because we want to succeed. Everything I learnt about how to be successful in business was through my own mistakes, and by asking people cleverer and wiser than myself. That said, one of the most important lessons I learnt was never be too dependent on other people when it comes to your business ventures. I realised this after being let down very badly in the mid-70s by my business partners.
Saira Khan, owner of baby product Miamoo
Having met Alan Sugar, Duncan Bannatyne and Simon Woodroffe, they’ve all said they made huge mistakes at certain points. So I don’t think anything can fully prepare you for being an entrepreneur. I had to go through the corporate journey in order to realise that I needed to learn from my own mistakes; I’m glad I did it that way and didn’t start off as an entrepreneur to begin with. It made me realise that you need the freedom that running your own business gives you in order to learn and develop. I couldn’t cope with the bureaucracy of a corporation.
See also: Karren Brady Q&A – 6 qualities of a successful entrepreneur