Entrepreneurship Part II | Sketches of a rocket, money and a graph

Entrepreneurship Part II | Sketches of a rocket, money and a graph

Entrepreneurship Part II | Sketches of a rocket, money and a graph

Entrepreneurship Part II | Sketches of a rocket, money and a graph

Part II

We’re back with more industrious insights from a plethora of pinnacle-topping entrepreneurs.

Where Part I explores the importance of timing, tenacity and big thinking, this edition focusses on trust, teams and self-belief.

By the end of the article, we hope you feel a little lighter on your feet, a little better informed and a little more optimistic about what you can achieve.

Stay grounded

Entrepreneurship Part II | A picture of Jesus with Kanye West's face

Entrepreneurship Part II | A picture of Jesus with Kanye West’s face

Kanye takes self-delusion to heavenly heights

People lose the plot when they start to believe their own hype. Think Kanye comparing himself to Christ.

To ward off early onset delusion, there are two things you must remember:

1. Every entrepreneur has had a lucky break

2. You never stop working for someone else

Clients, investors, shareholders – there’s always someone to answer to, even when you own the business.

So keep sight of the bigger picture and stay alert. That way, you’ll continue to recognise amazing opportunities when you encounter them. And be less likely to make foolhardy decisions you later regret.

As Tom Appleton, Co-Founder of Rocket Properties, warns: “Don’t take risks you can’t back up. If it goes wrong, you will not look good to investors second time round.”

Know when to trust others

It’s a delicate balance: knowing when to listen and when to ignore what people say. The key is to seek constructive feedback from a diverse mix of people. But to do that, you have to be open and unguarded.

Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder of LinkedIn and PayPay, said in a recent Radio 4 podcast: “A lot of entrepreneurs tend to be secretive. But your ideas aren’t your secret sauce (his words, not ours). Your passion, your learning – that’s your secret sauce (again, apologies). So go to anyone who’s smart who can provide commentary on that.”

It’s the only way any of us will advance – being told “No” or “What if…” or “Have you considered…” Constructive feedback can help us to stress-test ideas, validate their worth or, indeed, help us to see that we’re wasting our time. Ultimately, it’s better to recalibrate and re-channel our energies elsewhere than run full speed into a dead end.

Value your team

Entrepreneurship Part II | Sq. One Real Estate

Entrepreneurship Part II | Sq. One Real Estate

Sq. One Real Estate has advised on more than £4bn of developments in London alone

The Holy Trinity of leading property experts – Jamie Gunning, Guy Passey and Charlie Philip – came together to form an innovative mixed-use property consultancy, Sq. One Real Estate.

This dream team has advised on more than £4bn of developments in London alone. When asked whether there’s a formular to their success, Jamie emphatically answers “No…But one thing that’s essential is a good team in the office and a good supportive team at home.”

The boys have the sense to surround themselves with talent. That way, according to Guy, you can “be open-minded and not afraid to try new things or ask for help.”

Sharing success breeds success, too. Jamie finds it one of the most satisfying aspects of running a business: “I like to let people with talent, far in excess of mine, take full credit for the results.”

Be collaborative

Sq. One’s approach to teamwork is more than selfless – it’s smart. One person can’t think of everything. So while you may be an expert in your chosen field, the people around you will doubtless have other expertise and knowledge that, when combined with yours, results in richer, more original thinking.

Say it out loud

Studies show that there’s a cognitive advantage to saying words out loud. The act of speaking helps to fend off distractions, organise thoughts, plan actions, deepen memory and regulate emotions.

So don’t keep your ideas locked away, half-formed and muddled in your head. Share them with others and watch them take flight.

Believe in yourself

Entrepreneurship Part II | Dimly Lit Bar with red curtains and stuff on the walls and ceiling

Entrepreneurship Part II | Dimly lit bar with red curtains and stuff on the walls and ceiling

Barts, London’s worst kept secret

2009. The height of the UK recession. 52 pubs closing every week. 24,000 industry jobs lost. Great time to launch a bar, yes? That’s what Charlie Gilkes, Co-Founder of Inception Group, thought. He and his business partner, Duncan Stirling, opened Barts, a speakeasy-inspired bar filled with vintage curiosities, boozy aromatic cocktails and prohibition-era jazz.

It was a triumph, as Charlie recalls: “We turned up to Barts and found a huge queue of people eager to check out our novel concept. It was a real high point.”

Think like a customer

How do you make a bar that’s discreetly tucked away inside a 1930s apartment block in Chelsea, off the beaten track, hidden behind a disguised door, a success? Charlie: “Ask yourself if this is a product you’d buy or a venue you’d visit. If you can answer yes and the figures add up commercially, chances are it’s an idea worth pursuing.”

This approach doesn’t make you invincible, of course: “We’ve had several venues that haven’t worked out – but we’ve learnt a huge amount from our failures and continue to learn every day.”

This is what entrepreneurship is all about

Big ideas, calculated risks, making mistakes, learning from failure, building on success, adapting strategies and forging ahead. This could just as easily be a roadmap for navigating life as it is a roadmap for building a business. It’s not always easy – but we’re all capable of finding our way in the end.

It’s true. The entrepreneurs we’ve spoken to aren’t superhuman. They’re not otherworldly gifted or magically immune to failure. Instead, they’re focussed, imaginative, hard-grafting and capable of not allowing setbacks to crush their dreams.

A big shoutout to…

Tom Appleton of Rocket Properties, Jamie Gunning and Guy Passey of Sq. One Real Estate and Charlie Gilkes of Inception Group for their brilliant insights.

Image 1: Illustration by Picasa, sourced from vice.

Image 3: sourced from Inception Group.