Academic achievement must go hand in hand with an entrepreneurial mindset

30/04/2015

The next three months will see universities churning out thousands of very proud new graduates – BA Hons, BSc’s the lot. A great education with brains packed full of new learning, knowledge and facts. But why do so many fail to find a job? How many of these bright new graduates have had their prospects limited by the conditioning of the external environment? These young adults have been supported in life skills and getting their head in shape for the next stage of their life. How many walk away with a personal growth plan that defines very clearly how to move their life on and make the best of their three years spent at university? How many have thought creatively about next steps… charity work, setting up their own business, free lancing using specialist skills they have acquired?

My view, is that we have some of the best academic institutions in the world and we create some of the finest talent, but so many never realise their potential and end up in jobs that fall way below their true capability – futures that lack direction, bouncing around from one job to another. It’s no use having a long list of qualifications if you don’t put them to best use. More effort and energy should be put into developing the creative and entrepreneurial mindsets that drive ambition and ultimately greater achievement. If you cant find a job why not create your own and set up in business? We need to see more graduate entrepreneurship.

I speak from experience, I left university in 1986 with a degree in Chemistry – great technical skills, but struggled having conversations, making presentations and generally selling myself to potential employers – no skills for life. I am not sure much has changed to be honest – I had to work it out for myself. We need to equip this next generation with a more rounded experience thereby allowing them to combine great academic qualifications with a mindset conducive to achievement and releasing personal potential. We must remember that we get what we think about. The universities are a rich seam of next generation entrepreneurs, work is needed to getting them started.

Are the cap and gown, the photograph that hangs on mum and dads wall and the handshake from the university chancellor the best send off we can give them? As well as the well-earned degree certificate, they should all leave with a “plan for life” or maybe a plan for their own business.

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Sales: A profitable career

10/03/2014

The UK needs more sales professionals. It’s a core skill many of the successful business people and entrepreneurs I have met possess. They commit time, effort and energy learning how to sell, they train hard and learn how to build long lasting relationships and win-win outcomes with customers.

Those individuals who learn how to effectively sell will always have employment, they get the highest paid jobs and many often go on to set up their own business. They enjoy fulfilling careers and make a big difference to their employers.

The call centre and door to door commissioned sales, sales-rep provides the classic view of a career in selling – the reality is these can be both highly paid positions and they provide a grounding in the vital skill of having a great telephone or face to face conversation – essential to success and personal progression.

Train hard, learn, read and hone your sales skills – it will deliver a long lasting and profitable career.

We are supporting National Apprenticeship week. Find out more about The Winning Sales Academy >>>>

Fresh Thinking

23/08/2010

The term “thinking out of the box” does my head in. Easy to say hard to do – how do you do it? Get to the route cause!

Don’t fall into the trap of routine. Repetitive behaviours will deliver a mindset that lacks vision, imagination and creative spirit. When we do the same things day-in day-out we establish a routine, this state of mind both inhibits and prohibits new possibilities. We find that the same old problems surface and bizarrely we think that by doing the same thing over and over again the results will be different. We must be aware of our habits as they become hard wired into our daily schedule. The manifestation of routine is that we experience a sense of monotony, feeling of being stuck in a rut, poor self confidence, low energy levels and loss of purpose and direction.

Everyone experiences these feelings at some point, however we can take some simple steps to rewire our thinking. Emphasis must be placed on constantly searching for stimulus – things that will disrupt habitual behaviour, strengthen our creative muscles and deliver a freshness of thought;

Alternative perspectives – constantly look at your challenges from different angles – ask yourself “how would your role model address the issue?”

Remove yourself – from the daily routine and spend one day a month do something completely different.

Connect with nature – spend time in the open air and appreciate the wonder of the countryside. Combine this with regular exercise, it provides a boost to our energy levels. It also helps us to value our existence.

Don’t Think – don’t pre judge the outcome of any situation. Just observe and detach yourself from comment. By not thinking you clear your mind.

Take a look – observe what your peers do and share experiences with them. Wherever possible engage with people from other cultures, religions and regions of the world.

Five simple practices will act the fuel for fresh thinking. Doing away with routine is a liberating experience. It energises us, and keeps us motivated to perform at high levels.


Are business schools entrepreneurial?

21/06/2010

On my tours of the universities – I see engineering faculties doing engineering projects, I see medical schools practicing medicine. So why dont business schools set up businesses? Teaching business models and the hard skills of strategy  finance, IT, marketing, branding, product development is great – but entrepreneurs have something special – the spirit – courage, they build relationships, take action, have mental toughness and deal with setbacks – think on their feet – they are passionate about what they do – they have a mindset aligned to success. This stuff cannot be taught it has to be coached and to be honest I dont see a lot of it happening.

Business schools need to put their great thinking into action and help their undergraduates/post graduates explore the option of setting up companies – many set up departments of entrepreneuship and too be honest they are everything but. Are they equipped to be enterprising?


Mark Prisks Ideas on Supporting Entrepreneurs

08/06/2010

I like Mark Prisks new ideas around creating the “growth hubs” to support small businesses. Providing a modern service by offering online support features significantly in his ideas – good stuff, but…….. the reality is entrepreneurs learn from other entrepreneurs and from people they trust – i.e those that have the real ‘licence’ to offer guidance . This means that whilst having resources online is part of the mix, you just cant get away from the power and effectiveness of coaching or mentoring. A service that relies too much on the digital channels could be a false economy. Real business support results from face to face interaction where there is mutual respect.