THE BLOG
09/01/2012 05:47 GMT | Updated 06/03/2012 05:12 GMT

Recipe for Wealth Creation

As an entrepreneur, my kitchen has also doubled as my office. The Genius story began with me slaving over a hot stove, baking loaf after loaf in an attempt to produce tasty gluten-free bread.

My children would come home from school to be presented with dozens of loaves lined up on the table.

Having family members as enthusiastic guinea pigs for my business idea was a huge bonus.

My motivation for becoming an entrepreneur started with a determination to make bread that my gluten-intolerant son could actually eat.

But what ingredients need to be mixed together to make an entrepreneurial success story?

For me necessity was the mother of invention, but more broadly a start-up needs to address a clear gap in the market for its products or services.

I recently was asked to judge the Scottish Entrepreneurial Exchange Awards. What struck me in examining all the entries was the sheer willpower of the entrants. I very much like John Elkington's use of the word "unreasonable" to describe such people. He was talking specifically about social entrepreneurs in his book "The Power of Unreasonable People", but the word captures perfectly the mentality of successful wealth creators.

But what creates the spark that starts the whole process of creating a new business? What factors need to exist to grow the seeds of entrepreneurship?

Ever met a shy, retiring entrepreneur? Me neither. So confidence is vital. And that comes from having a great support network - either in the form of family and friends or business partners.

As I look out of the window of my actual office (rather than my kitchen), it is hard to imagine that the physical environment of where one lives and works doesn't have a role to play. Living in Edinburgh, with its ancient foundations and captivating views, I feel inspired to be successful.

And having a close-knit business community is a huge factor behind the successful nurturing of entrepreneurs. I was lucky in that I met Sir Bill Gammell, the founder of Cairn Energy, a coeliac, and a fellow parent at my son's school,who became Genius' main investor. He has been a huge support from the very early days when I was baking gluten-free bread in my kitchen.

His encouragement is still as vital today as it ever has been.

Entrepreneurs always run into what look like insurmountable obstacles. And when that happens, we all need someone like Bill to give us extra impetus.

And then there is the question of capital. Originally, it had been my intention to test the Genius bread in the local Edinburgh market for a while, build my business slowly and see how it went. Again, it was my main investor who told me in no uncertain terms that I had to move fast and be bold in my ambition for the company. It wasn't even presented as a choice between building a big successful company or a small successful company. Rather, it was presented to me as a choice between building a successful company or seeing my idea swallowed up by somebody else with greater ambitions.

If I had any advice to new entrepreneurs it would be to move fast and be bold in addressing a market need. A great idea can quickly be eclipsed by a rival with deeper pockets unless you are prepared to move at breakneck speed.

Without early access to capital, building a fast growing company is very difficult indeed.

And then, once your business is off the ground, the ego-monster entrepreneur needs to admit that they need help.

Being prepared to work as a member of a team towards a common goal, is often difficult for entrepreneurs to accept. I am afraid we don't tend to be very good delegators. We want to do everything ourselves and it is hard to let go of the reins.

But let go we must. And then, with a first rate management team and a bit of luck, your dream can become something with a life of its own. And that is the greatest satisfaction of all.