Tag Archives: Enterprise Skills

7 Books every start-up entrepreneur should read

There is a great number of books out there which is aimed at Entrepreneurs and the skills and techniques they need. However if you are starting a business you don’t have time to read too many, so I have limited it to seven, which you should be able to read in one week. Enjoy!

Entrepreneur Revolution: How to Develop Your Entrepreneurial Mindset and Start a Business That Works by Daniel Priestley

I very much agree with the theme of this book “The age of the entrepreneur, the agile small business owner, the flexible innovator. The days of the industrial age are over.” and every student I meet, its about developing this mindset. This book should mainly provide some motivation and inspiration for your plunge into the next books.

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Building a business is no longer about “the business plan” which is cast in stone, its about doing and then creating small changes or pivots to the plan as you move forward. He goes over the a number techniques an entrepreneur can use in order to create a business.

Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder

Great for the visual entrepreneur or those not interesting in writing a 50 page business plan. The book teaches us the right way to create a visual business plan and act on it. With pictures, graphs and timelines, this book is a must-have for every visionary young entrepreneur.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This classic book will turn your relationships around and improve your interactions with everyone in your life. Business is all about relationships, employees, investors, partners and customers all need you to be the best at dealing with their interactions.

Purple Cow by Seth Godin

Godin is one of the greatest entrepreneurial minds in the world and you should be taking a look at www.sethgodin.com. In Purple Cow, he advocates building something so amazing that people can’t ignore you and then allowing them to be your brand ambassadors. There are a lot of great case studies in this book.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

While working on his doctorate in the 1970’s, Stephen R. Covey reviewed 200 years of literature on success. He noticed that since the 1920’s, success writings have focused on solutions to specific problems. In some cases such tactical advice may have been effective, but only for immediate issues and not for the long-term, underlying ones. This is why a lot of entrepreneur books have case studies or information which is of little help to you in your situation.

Covey presents an approach to being effective in attaining goals by aligning oneself to what he calls “true north” principles of a character ethic that he presents as universal and timeless.

The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy

Every entrepreneur knows that the key to a successful business is good sales technique. Not only do you have to sell your product, but you also have to sell yourself and your idea.

This book gives you valuable information and strategies about how to make more selling by focusing on one thing – the person. Young entrepreneurs tend to forget the basics of selling and jump right over to getting results, but in order to get results, you need to know the basics. Brian Tracy goes over those major points thoroughly.

The trinty structure for an entrepreneurship centre

Last week I attended GCEC 2014 and was able to spend time with practitioners of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. It was a very worthwhile experience, especially when so many of them were from the USA which have a much more advanced culture of enterprise.

It became clear to me that there are three elements for a successful entrepreneurship centre within a University:

Entrepreneurship Research

Everyone knows if you start a business in Silicon Valley its great for technology businesses and the eco-system, network and financial institutions are set up to start, grow and IPO these businesses. This is a one place and the rest us don’t live there or want to start a high tech high growth business. This eco-system DOES NOT exist in any other part of the world. Cambridge also has its own eco-system. So we would expect each location, cluster and university to have a set of features that facilitate the growth of certain businesses? We would expect the university to have researched these and further more be able to articulate this through its research papers, education programmes and practical support for startups and growth businesses.

Enterprise & Entrepreneur Education

The core business of a university is education. We are experiencing great changes in the higher education environment and universities need to react in real time to the needs of their students and business community. The majority of universities in the UK get more revenue from CPD training than research grants. This is why local business is so important to them, as it provides a great sustainable revenue stream and also the opportunity to understand their local business needs, which helps feed the research. It also brings educators from cross disciplines together which is needed to build robust community focused institutions.

Enterprise Practice

The development of students into entrepreneurs and the development of entrepreneurs to leaders of high growth businesses is the most important part of the trinity. It enables the university to substantiate its research in the ‘real world’ environment and provide a practical outlet for the costly education resources. Moreover, it provides the feedback loop which all research and educators need to contextualize the theory.

I know some universities in the UK have some of these parts, but there is not one University in the UK, which ensures these three parts work together for the common development of the university and its community.

Looking forward to hear from those that think they do!!!

Little is more in Enterprise Support

When you are starting a business the more help and support you get the better, you would expect so.

However, after some years of helping and supporting startups, I am starting to see this is not always the case.

I guess its the difference between support and Intervention. To support someone, especially with mentoring and signposting which allows the person to find their way (with a little more direction) and   learn the skills and network required to manage their business is the right thing to do.

Its when the support becomes intervention that when the entrepreneur stops being the person in control and the support organisation does. This is when you have to do 50 hours doing this, sign all these forms and the process you will follow to make your business  is this.

This is wrong!

Everyone learns to be a entrepreneur differently, because they HAVE to be learn to be an entrepreneur, to solve problems, to look at the world in a new light of opportunities.

The problem these organisations have is that governments like a controlled process. They provide contracts to build bridges, its take some many weeks and will cost some much money. However, stating we can make some many businesses in so many weeks is not such a quantifiable statement. The process of starting a business normally starts many years before the person makes this statement. It may start with Dragon’s Den or The Apprentice in 10 grade. So the only thing you are really doing is counting those who have already spent many years deliberating this step.

The best entrepreneur support organisations do only ONE thing, they create an amazing network of people who all benefit from being part of it. This is because:

  1. Co-founders can be found in your network
  2. Mentoring can be found in your network
  3. Resources can be found in your network
  4. Funding can be found in your network

So before you start out in 2013, ensure you have the support network around you.

Developing Enterprise Skills at University

University allows a student to start one or more of three entrepreneurial paths; Intrapreneur, LifeStyle Entrepreneur and High Growth Entrepreneur.
The vast majority of you will follow the intrapreneur route, a path leading to a job and career within a chosen subject. While in this career you may become a manager and take on an entrepreneurial role within your organisation. If this is you, your time at university should prepare the student for this. You will need to develop your people and team working skills, general business and industry knowledge while taking your course.
For those with who require further study, a MBA provides the ideal opportunity to learn and develop management and business thinking.
Some of you will develop a life-style business built around your course subject or hobby which has developed through university. These people develop into the role of an entrepreneur, building friendships and confidence with time. They are not looking for fast growth, but the enjoyment of being master of their destiny or being emerged in their chosen business. The important skills to learn for this role are networking, time management and self esteem.
Some of you will have a high growth or high technology idea which can be developed through incubation, Science Park and this is the business which universities and business support agencies like, understand and what to work with. The important skills to learn for this role are financial management, managing people and powerful presenting.
The humble student society provides the opportunity for most students to run an enterprise which is focused on a particular sport or activity. These are great places to learn by doing and develop an understanding of how to behave in a business like environment. They have all the aspect of a small business, the focus, the polities, bureaucracy and of course customers who require service.
All employers want their prospective employees to have some work experience. This can be found at local businesses, student union or volunteering. The development of your professional business approach is something you should master before you start your career and should be in place when requesting interviews. Developing it after is too late.
Enterprise Activities and competitions is one way of gaining experience and being able to add it to your cv. Enter the business plan, Flux, Apprentice and Business Idol competitions which provide you with the opportunities to develop entrepreneurially.
Every student should demand the ability to learn in an environment which is safe, secure and provides the ability to reflect on the learning. This learning enables us to move forward with our understand and hopefully building on entrepreneurial success.
Finally my message is to learn by doing by putting yourself in situations whereby you have the opportunity to develop skills and have a few failures which will not be counted against you.