It was another fantastic Sheerluxe Entrepreneurs Day this September with guest speakers including Jo Malone CBE, Whitney Hawkings (Flowerbx), Emilia Wickstead and our very own CEO, Rebekah Hall.
Rebekah spoke about her experiences as an entrepreneur and imparted some of the lessons she has learnt along the way. Here are the key highlights.
CLICK HERE - Behind the scenes of SheerLuxe Entrepreneurs' Day
It sounds like an uninspiring note to kick off on, but it's an important one. For anyone considering starting their own business, I don't want to sugar coat it. It will be tough beyond your imagination. For those already in it, I get it! I have huge respect for anyone who has taken the steps to start their own business. It will always be difficult, it just changes. Your capacity to deal with issues grows (and so do the problems!). Remember that nothing happens overnight. There are no instant successes.
YOU ARE ALONE
This may sound as depressing as the first point, but I look at it another way and actually find it empowering. There was a point of realisation where it suddenly hit me that I was on my own and the buck entirely stops with me. That doesn't mean there aren't people around to advise and assist, but it is a change of mindset to accept the ultimate responsibility. It makes you a problem solver, a chess player. It encouraged me to be much more strategic in my thinking across the board and to be tenacious in seeking solutions. Entrepreneurship can be very inward looking. Almost introverted.
In complete contradiction (as is often the case), networking, a very extroverted skill set is one of the most valuable tools I have in my kit bag. One of the most valuable career choices I made was to step outside of the expected career path and broaden my network by working with, and for, a series of entrepreneurs. I have nurtured that network and I draw on it daily. Everyone has one, but not everyone invests time in it.
INVEST IN PEOPLE
Good people add exponentially to a business, bad people are a drain. Of course the terms "good" and "bad" are too black and white. However, some people are a good fit and some are not. Reward good people well and get rid of bad people quickly. Be clear what you need and what your expectations are and be honest when it's not working. Getting embroiled in people drama is one of the biggest time vortexes in any business.
BE CLEAR ON YOUR OBJECTIVE
Singular on purpose. There can be lots of objectives, but what is the one most important thing that drives you? There is no right answer, and it will be different for everyone, but don't lose sight of it. The distractions will come thick and fast and unless you have a laser focus on your core objective you will lose it. There is only so much energy that you have to expand so make sure it is used in getting closer to your ultimate goal. Reassess and revisit that goal as it may change over time, but make sure you are always clear what it is.
YOU WILL GET IT WRONG
There isn't a successful entrepreneur in existence who hasn't got it wrong or failed at some point. It is the only way that you learn. There are two important differentiators of successful entrepreneurs. Firstly, never get the same thing wrong twice. Learn from your mistake and don't repeat it. Repeating the same mistake twice means you're stupid! Secondly, frame your failure differently. It's a learning exercise. A step forward and closer to your goal and a way to make you a more experienced operator.
DO MORE OF WHAT YOU'RE GOOD AT
Not just what you are good at, but what you are of value at. People often retreat to the comfort zone of jobs and activities that they know well and are familiar with. Step outside of this and challenge yourself and you may find something that you are extraordinary at, that no one else can do. These are the things that make you a great asset to the business.
When instinct tells you to change direction ... change. It can be disruptive to the people who work with you, as stability is something that most people cling to, but you are the person that must drive change. You need to carry your team with you, but if you aren't uncomfortable, you're probably not in the right place.
This is the number one common attribute in all entrepreneurs that I admire. It can't be taught, but it can be gained through experience. It is often said that kids with some kind of childhood trauma or disruption make good entrepreneurs as they learn resilience early in life. Maybe there is some truth in that. The difference between success and failure is the ability to stick at it, even when the going gets tough. So wear your hard knocks with pride as they take you a step closer to being that resilient entrepreneur that you have always admired.