What can the £2500 StartUp loan really buy a new business? Admittedly, most of these young people won’t be trying to launch a tech company, but still, how far can that small sum really go in helping get even a new service business off the ground, when one has no assets, experience or network to call on?
Experience is an important factor in whether the majority of businesses will see their first year out. I notice in coaching individuals to start a business that even much older experienced people struggle to take on the pressures of a new business – with all the aspects that require focus and know-how: from marketing, to sales, to method of converting leads, to web presence and all that entails, to developing and delivering the service offering, to managing the books, and so on. It’s exhausting just thinking about it. But for school-leavers all this has to be learnt, on the fly, when starting from scratch.
Of course, there are some people who just take to entrepreneurship like a duck to water, and perhaps an exploration of what makes these individuals successful will be helpful to a newbie thinking of sacking off university and cashing in on that £2500 to start their own business.
The primary characteristics of a successful entrepreneur in my observations coaching hundreds of “solopreneurs” over the years includes, but is not limited to, the following.
Drive – most entrepreneurs are motivated by the ideas and feelings of success and accomplishment. The money is often not the primary driver, and most will pursue a project against the odds, at great financial risk.
Passion for the project. Again, most will continue with the project without pay, simply because it is a labour of love and they believe in the business. A quick gauge of this would be to ask “What would you do if I gave you a cheque that meant you didn’t need to work anymore. How would you spend your time?” Those who answer that they would have more focus and resources to plough into their current project, rather than disappear to the Maldives, or set up a foundation, are the ones who are a hundreds of times more likely to see it to fruition.
The ability to implement plans is paramount. It’s not just about knowing what needs to be done, or having a check list. Growing a business is about doing. Once you have the right business model for your desired outcomes, if you do enough of the right things in the right order – somewhere, something will click. But when everything is a new or a mystery – what are the odds of this happening before the money runs out?
Resourcing – is the key to implementation, and coupled to the vision. This is the ability to find the funding, the team, the skills, the resources the projects needs in time for when it needs it. For this reason would-be entrepreneurs will do well to see themselves as “Sourcerers”! – Individuals who have the ability to pull out resources out of their network, like pulling minerals out of the ether.
Vision – is the ability the see the world or the industry changed by the product/ service. It often develops with experience as one develops points of reference, a feel for what would make a marketplace better, and notices that things that appear fixed can change massively. Just look at the changes which have happened in your industry over the last 10-20 years!
In fact there is a fantastic clip on YouTube of Steve Jobs in which he talks about how the world isn’t fixed. Part of the fun of changing the industry is to see what you can prod and what pops out in response.
The world to an entrepreneur is malleable and fluid…
Anything is up for negotiation.
Anything is possible.
With this attitude, even a school-leaver with no experience and no resources has the possibility of not just setting up a business that will tick over and pay them a salary. With Vision, they have the possibility to change the world. Perhaps the £2500 might sway them to try. Personally I think programmes like Dragons’ Den or the Apprentice, and the biographies of our celebrated entrepreneurs provide more insight and inspiration - but every little helps! ;-)
And perhaps this government initiative is just confirmation that we are welcoming in the magicians of a new economy.