As a sole-trader, you sometimes get a bit lonely. That’s not meant to draw some sympathetic response, just a fact that many an entrepreneur will tell you!
So it’s good to attend events such as Business Northwest – an annual exhibition that brings together business people from across the region and beyond – to discuss business practices and network.
I’m not going to bore you with the networking side of things. Rather, I’d like to share a few of the nuggets of wisdom that came from the likes of Rob Law – famous Dragon’s Den reject and now the head of multi-million pound kid’s brand Trunki. Or from Kirsty Henshaw – Dragon darling and inspired entrepreneur behind Kirsty’s ice cream (born out of a fruitless search for ice-cream for her dairy intolerant little boy). Or the tour-de-force that is oversize bra magnet (does that sound right??) and fellow Lancastrian Nikki Hesford from Miss Fit UK.
In no particular order, here goes…
- Failure is an option – some of the most innovative companies almost encourage their employees to make mistakes. It’s a big part of the development process and something we shouldn’t be afraid of. After all, if we fear failure, we’ll take less risks and that’s not good for generating new ideas.
- People who are successful in business do things. Sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how many of us talk ourselves up or waste time doing things that make us feel productive – think pointless lists and too much tweeting – without actually moving things forward.
- When faced with despair, deal with it. So the bank won’t lend you money, your client didn’t pay up, the factory you use just went bust. People have been through worse – poor Rob Law’s girlfriend dumped him in the same week his Chinese supplier went belly up – so don’t let clouds of depression take over. Deal with the issue and move on.
- Screw it, let’s do it. Don’t spend ages worrying about whether or not something will work. Give it a try, don’t take it personally if it goes wrong, and learn.
There’s plenty more, but that’s for another time.
Look at me, writing all this as if I’m some kind of business guru! I’m not (yet!) but another thing I took from the conference was that it’s good to share – with your competitors as well as allies. So then you don’t have to be lonely any more!