As a business and enterprise coach I am frequently asked about the kinds of skills and qualities I think new business owners need to develop. Now, everyone is different and we all come with a unique skill set. But there are three skills I believe to be universal if you are going to flourish as a freelance, self employed person or entrepreneur.
It's easy to be caught up in the excitement of a new business venture, but when it comes to choosing the person with whom you will spend more hours, than your spouse, it is important not to enter into a relationship you may live to regret - there is a lot at stake if goes wrong, but plenty to gain if you get it right.
I for one wear the 'Alpha Female' badge with pride! To me, this stands for being highly charged, positive and a people-oriented person. It truly frustrates me that the label often carries a negative connotation - it's equated to being ruthless, nasty or needlessly combative to succeed at all costs. Those who embody the latter approach aren't setting an healthy example for the next wave of young female leaders, don't you think?
If you're familiar with the UK business market, you will be well acquainted with the fact that 99.9% of all UK companies are SMEs*. Needless to say, this over-simplifies the landscape and the differences between companies that are classed as micro, small or medium in size. From independent retailers and tech start-ups to small food chains and larger hospitality companies, their growth ambitions and challenges vary wildly...
This year I attended both the Conservative and Labour Party conferences in my capacity as Chief Executive of the charity Young Enterprise. It's now a couple of weeks since the conferences and I've had time to digest and reflect not only on what was achieved there but also where it was achieved...
Falling back on my journalistic training, a surprisingly successful 25 career as a public relations consultant followed, during which I developed the courage and confidence to promote my own business as well as those of my clients. By the time I accidentally became a 'comedy producer', I had accumulated a wealth of experience and a collection of useful skills to grow my own brand.
I've met so many people with great business ideas who have never had the confidence or courage to just do it. It's so very easy to keep telling yourself that you'll start a business one day but in the end, never even try. Everyone has the ability to start a business and these days everyone can use a second or third income stream.
I'll always remember the riots. I was just leaving my office in the Bernie Grant Centre in Tottenham when messages started flooding through on my mobile. "A police car's on fire", one read. My phone didn't stop ringing for the rest of the evening... Next thing I know, I've set up a communications firm and I'm lecturing on the importance of social media - teaching individuals and companies how to make the most of one of the most powerful platforms on the planet.