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Top tips for Starting a Business (3 & 4)


Top tip: Business is personal!

It would be easy to get the impression from the media, just think of the Dragons’ Den panel, that entrepreneurship is all about the heroic entrepreneur. Of course, the founding entrepreneur plays a vital role in starting a business. We know that entrepreneurs share certain characteristics including the ability to recognise opportunities, the need to achieve, are over-optimistic, are prepared to take risks, like autonomy, feel that they can control things, are gregarious and creative. Not all entrepreneurs have these characteristics or have them in equal measure. We also know from research that they are born with certain attributes, have a family background and through life gain experience and build networks – all of which contribute to their values.

Maybe it’s just easier to remember one person and believe that they have all the innate abilities to launch and run a successful business. The reality is somewhat more complex. In his autobiography Richard Branson, perhaps the best-known entrepreneur mentions, all sorts of people how have helped in along the way.

It’s worth reflecting on your own entrepreneurial characteristics, traits and behaviours.

Top tip Four: Network, network, network

Assuming you are like everyone else, it is worth considering who you know and how they might be able to help you with your business. Not only is a problem shared a problem halved, it’s far easier to build a successful business with the right team and the right extended networks. It is surprising how willing people are to help you – especially if you are happy to help them.

In his book, Against the Odds, James Dyson, the famous inventor, mentions all the people in his network who have helped him. From a member of his tennis club to a network of talented designers. So, building and and maintaining networks looks like another important entrepreneurial skill. So to is understanding team roles and how they work.

 There are eight team roles: Chair, team leader, innovator, monitor-evaluator, team worker, completer, Implementer and resource investigator and five stages of development: Forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning! Sound complicated? Don’t worry, just join us on the Starting a Business free online course and we will explain all.

So, the five ways to build a successful business team?

  1. What are your best characteristics for being a successful entrepreneur?
  2. And which are weak in or missing?
  3. Learn as much as you can about teams.
  4. Start getting involved in teams and watch how other people behave and the team develops.
  5. Do you spend enough time building and maintaining your network? Remember to give as well as receive!

Professor Nigel Lockett
Professor of Enterprise at Leeds University Business School

Starting 30th June Starting a Business free online course