Deborah Meaden has recently released her new book Common Sense rules. In this article Deborah shares with us her insights into British enterepreneurs.
I’ve been a Dragon since the 2006 series, and I have to say that the single aspect I enjoy most, aside from jousting with my fellow Dragons, is seeing the huge variety of ideas that are presented to us. As a nation, we Brits are not short of ideas. We’ve millions of them because we are great inventors. It’s almost as if it is in our nature to ask, ‘What if I do this? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if …?’ We are all potting-shed entrepreneurs at heart and I love that.
I’ve been fortunate enough to meet hundreds of entrepreneurs, with an incredibly wide range of personalities. Yet, the ones who truly inspire my Den colleagues and me and who get us reaching for our wallets all share a remarkably similar set of values.
Deborah Meaden on Passion, focus and an insatiable desire to succeed
The beauty about having these qualities is that they take care of a lot of the other daunting aspects of being an entrepreneur. Far too many people, for instance, are held back by their fear that they are not born sales people. I suspect that the multitude of entrepreneurs who tell me they ‘can’t sell’ are actually very good sales people. If they are passionate about what they do they can’t fail to sell their dream to other people, and they’ll be able to convince not just their customers, but also their staff, their bank manager and their investors.
An entrepreneur has to be quick minded and bright. That doesn’t mean they need to have gone to a top-notch public school, have a string of qualifications and be clever in an academic way. No. Rather, they must be clever in a quick-witted way, with a mind that refuses to accept barriers and that can solve a multitude of problems within seconds.
Confidence and self-belief
Confidence attracts, and most people can sense it. I can name my confident friends in a shot, even though many of them are really quite quiet people. They don’t have to make a noise, and they don’t have to tell everybody how fantastic they are. They just are, and they don’t care what anybody else thinks. And I have noticed in my business life that a confident person who doesn’t feel the need to explain themselves can create a powerful reaction.
It takes a lot of time and energy to be an entrepreneur. You have to be totally committed, and if there is the slightest inkling that you are not committed, everybody, including the market, will know. The ability to commit is not simply a state of mind; it is a core character trait.
Being loss averse is nothing like being risk averse. It is about hating to lose. Entrepreneurs are prepared to take risks, but they’re not gamblers.
As well as being realistic with their ideas, entrepreneurs should be realistic with themselves. It is amazing to me how many people fail to realise, as they dream about storming the market with their potentially groundbreaking ideas, that when they launch their business they are likely to go through patches when they will live on virtually nothing. It is almost certain that they will have to take a significant dip in their lifestyle and earnings before they recover. But when fortunes do pick up, it’s the best feeling in the world.