When I stereotype the American startup founders I've met in London, I notice the gene that they seem to share with Penny - that American go-getter "shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" mindset. (Somewhere, my British friends are rolling their eyes at that cheesy quote.) Americans don't seem scared of their own idealism, whereas in British culture, I find brazen optimism often equated with stupidity.
What really matters is how the idea is executed. That's what makes the difference. Things like your brand, your marketing, the attention you pay your customers, and crucially - the passion you have for the idea - are what make your proposition unique. Success is built on people, not products or patents.
For many entrepreneurs, launching a business can be the most exciting time. Putting so much effort into your ideas and seeing them take form is a great achievement. However, I have spoken to a lot of startups in the past that feel as though they have reached the finish line by simply getting their business off the ground. In reality, this is when the hard work really begins.
So, you want to be an entrepreneur ? It's not for wimps or the delusional . It's a long term play and you need to have the stamina for it. My advice : add real value for the customer, by picking a hard problem that can change the status quo, dream up a solution for them forgetting the obstacles you'll face along the way.
Recently, David Cameron said that he wants to change attitudes towards enterprise in Britain. Along with this, he wants to spur enterprise in the country, to create a legion of start ups. Why? Because we are at serious risk of falling behind and one only has to take a look over the Atlantic to see how good things can be.
As any entrepreneur will tell you, founding your own company is far from an easy ride. Starting my business was the most rewarding thing I've ever done. I had a very clear vision of my product and what I wanted to achieve so I was lucky, but it still took an awful lot of determination and hard work.
For me this budget got it wrong on the start up front by ignoring the value start-ups bring to our economy and doing nothing for them. We may not realise the impact of this up to the election, which is perhaps what the chancellor is counting on, but it's clearly not in our country's long term interest. A budget for 'doers'? I don't think so!
A few months ago, I spent an extremely enjoyable afternoon at my old school giving a Careers talk about start-ups. Interestingly, the most pressing question that emerged from these 6th-formers was whether they were about to waste £27,000 and three years of their life on a University degree if what they were really passionate about was starting their own business.