I spoke at the Manchester Business School Entrepreneurship Club last Friday and I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The room was packed with really enthusiastic management and business students many of which were contemplating a career based on creating their own business. What struck me from this fantastic group of people was that there must be at least 10 potential start-ups in the room (just based on numbers and keenness). I also observed the diversity of the group with international students from many continents with a desire to explore self-employment as an option – each having their own contacts and networks back home. Encouraging a fusion of UK and international talent and ideas could be the starting point for establishing new businesses, global from day one. After all innovation and creativity breeds on diversity and interconnected thinking – The Entrepreneurship Club provides a great opportunity to unlock new enterprises with an international mindset. What a fantastic bedrock of different cultures, ideas and views to build on!
I went on to provide a real life picture of what going it alone actually means. Based on my experience of working with talented business people, I spoke about the role of leadership in the entrepreneurial environment. Entrepreneurs are individuals who make brave and courageous decisions. With focus and drive they become the SMEs that drive economic recovery. People who have lost their job, given up highly paid regular salaries and the safety net of a great package, but still they go on and give it a go. Many individuals have a passion, purpose or something to prove, in many instances this underpins their decision to set up. A small proportion of these new starts go on to achieve great things and become the so called gazelles of the economy – the high growth job creators, others achieve more modest results, non the less they have achieved something fantastic – become self employed and create opportunities for others.
I am convinced that the pioneers of the economy of tomorrow will be born in these difficult times – hopefully some of the students from Manchester Business Schools E Club. The reality is the optimists will see opportunity however many will only see the challenge and obstacles and opt for a more corporate career.
Successful entrepreneurs invariably take risk – more importantly they chose to subject themselves to pressures and situations many would not even consider for a second. But still they embark on their journey – if they get it wrong then the potential for everything to implode around them is more than a possibility – this means family holidays, commitments to the kids, house and other luxuries. But still they carry on. What is the driving force and the mindset that takes them to this place? Its all about great leadership, both self and organisational, as Winston Churchill said – when you are going through hell keep going – this is exactly what they do.