By Vicky Holdsworth, Marketing Director at ProFinda.
As the Marketing Director at ProFinda, with my second hat on as one of the Founding Partners of the WOF network and over my career so far – I have been lucky enough to meet with, be challenged by and learn A LOT (!) from a whole host of influential entrepreneurs – from a diverse range of companies and backgrounds.
To mark today’s #WorldEntrepreneursDay – I wanted to take this opportunity to ask a few of them (there are many out there!) that I have had the opportunity and the privilege to work with, to share their words of wisdom, motivation and insight for those of us already on or maybe looking to embark on this road…
Q: What advice would I offer to all entrepreneurs?
A: Do what brings you to life. Of course it helps if what you do/create, helps other people come to life.
“As women in business we are ambassadors of new ideas. Whether we are being disruptive in our industries, inspiring and causing social impact, or building business through innovations, we wiggle ourselves into better places and develop our influence.
This is powered by creativity, which is at the heart of ‘mental doodling’. Playing with words, images and ideas helps us stay mentally flexible, and this flexibility lets us pivot when we need to, rather than fail. We are advocates for our businesses as well as individuals and in turn our communities – we need to think about our impact – and what it means when for as unifiers and equalisers, and most of all to be brave with our big ideas.”
Roger Gorman, Founder and CEO at ProFinda
“Do, don’t talk!” “a 3rd of the people make things happen, a 3rd of the people watch things happen, a 3rd of the people say ‘what £%@ just happened”.
“It’s great to get as much feedback as you can from the market, your customers, your existing and potential investors. The real trick and the real difficulty is in deciding what to listen to – and ignoring or deprioritizing the vast majority of everything else. You should do this with absolute humility and respect. I’ve had many a meeting where others I’m with have thought “it was a waste” but there may have been 1 or 2 gems of absolute brilliance – it’s your job as the founder or the champion of your area of the business to always keep listening, keep engaging, keep parsing and to pull those diamonds out of the rough.”
“Being an entrepreneur is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done and as a solopreneur, the hardest. It takes fearlessness, perseverance & resilience, all coming from within. So sort your stuff out before you start or early on, which in my case was healing from my child abuse, because if you don’t you’ll self-sabotage in the most ingenious ways and you won’t even realise you’re doing it. Surround yourself with people who support you and propel you forward, lose the detractors, and live in gratitude and awe.”
- Try and find active angel investors that can introduce commercial relationships, try not to just take money.
- Read “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz
- Get to grips with Sales and Marketing as soon as you have a Minimum Viable Product.
- Network, network and network some more.
“A strong business foundation starts with the mindset of the entrepreneur. You need to take care of yourself without you there is no business. Don’t work hard work smart and make sure you don’t forget to have some downtime where many creative, inspiring and problem-solving ideas take place.”
- Act, analyse, amend, repeat.
- Be strong in your convictions but look for the lessons of others – successes and failures. Don’t reinvent the wheel, don’t repeat the mistakes of others.
- Curiosity is integral to the success of an entrepreneur, and yet fear of failure, or appearing silly or just not taking the time to stop & reflect, prevents many of us from asking the right questions. To have a business you must have a paying customer. Never stop asking: Who are your next customers? How and Where will they discover you? What will you offer them? And Why?
- Preparation is essential and being curious is like having a limitless tank of fuel when it comes to preparing, improving and evolving. As Abraham Lincoln wisely advocated – “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” You must also mentally and physically prepare yourself to avoid burnout. Do whatever you need to do to avoid burn yourself out, financially and physically. This will help you avoid being left with a one-off, very painful ‘entrepreneurial’ life lesson. Do something you are passion about, stay curious and you’ll have fuel in your tank.
About the author
Vicky Holdsworth is the Marketing Director at ProFinda — an international technology company that helps organisations understand their people better. If you want to connect with Vicky, you can email her at vicky.holdsworth[at]profinda.com, LinkedIn and Twitter.