Archive for September, 2017

2017 Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

 

I have had the great pleasure this year participating as a judge for the UK’s 2017 UK National Business Awards. The panel, some of the most impressive figures in UK industry and private equity, recently met with 11 inspiring entrepreneurs to determine the 2017 Inflexion Private Equity Entrepreneur of the Year. While you will have to wait until November for the announcement of the winner, here are some traits of “The Exceptional Entrepreneur”:

  • Self-determined. They don’t rely on others largesse to achieve success. They don’t bemoan their fate, they seek quick ways to change course. They believe their destiny is their own hands, their success is largely a function of applying their own skills and judgement to overcome foreseen and unforeseen obstacles.
  • Enthusiastic. They have tremendous passion and love what they do but most importantly they don’t allow that enthusiasm to evolve into blind zeal. Where zealots are motivated to solely convert others to their way of thinking, they are willing to find compromise where it allows them to accelerate towards their goals.
  • Intellectually curious. They are fast, mobile and quick to react to or even better anticipate competitive trends. The depth and breadth of their intellectual curiosity has enabled them to become people of interest to a diverse audience.
  • Flexible. They are focused on outputs not inputs and willing to switch paths at very short notice. Recognising that their success is not predicated on sticking to pre-conceived ideas rather their awareness of changing customer and market needs.
  • Time and awareness. They know where they are precisely in terms of the evolution of their business and the change agents impacting their markets. Such that they find it easy to make smart decisions today about the future.
  • Clear purpose for their wealth. They have a belief system that easily reconciles the differences between the utility of the financial, intellectual, social and cultural wealth they have created for themselves and their key constituents. While money is important, it is seen merely as the fuel for the life they choose to live.
  • Empathetic. Their emotional stimulae are acutely tuned to the needs of the people around them and the structured and unstructured situations that they find themselves in. Such that they seek to earn others respect ahead of being liked.
  • Stature. What others see, not what they hear or what they read, commands instant respect. They possess an inner confidence that in the company of others, draws people to them and to want to engage with them on a variety of issues, beyond their domain expertise. It has nothing to do with their physical size, how loud they shout or how deliberately they flaunt their success. They are not a “one trick pony”.
  • Time is a priority, not a resource issue. They possess both routine and exceptional discipline and organisation, which enables them to create speed. Priorities are quickly determined and actioned. They don’t procrastinate, nor do they waste time on irrelevant tasks and activities. Nor do they over-staff their businesses.
  • Ego and Resilience. They have learned to “park” their ego. They accept that they will both win and lose on their entrepreneurial journey but the result will never will impact their own opinion of themselves. Such that in defeat they are able to rebound quickly and figure out the best way to achieve that.
  • See the funny side of life. They are able to be both a gracious winner and a gracious loser. To laugh in equal measure at their good fortune and their bad luck. Their default position is to improve the situation, keep smiling and institutionalise the learning, not to seek blame in a crisis. Knowing that is what it is expected of them as a leader.

© James Berkeley 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Brexit Backlash

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

Close to 60 million people are daily waking up in the UK and countless millions in Europe are doing the same with the intent of improving they and their families lives. Their accomplishments are hugely impressive and yet we are swamped by a news media that insists on overlooking those achievements and fuelling fear about the consequences of Brexit. Why? Is it that a great many of those working in, and owning, media companies are themselves failing and using Brexit as a soft excuse for their own poor judgement and declining skills? Is it that their enthusiasm has morphed into blind zeal? As with all zealots they seek to convert everyone and find compromise impossible to accept? (OK, so Britain will stay in Europe on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday to satisfy them.)

© James Berkeley 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Warning Light!

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

 

When an entrepreneur or his/her Adviser overlook or cannot clearly articulate in 3 or 4 sentences, the greatest anticipated weaknesses in their business growth plans (markets, products, technology and relationships) given competitive market trends, you have a plan that won’t survive serious investor scrutiny. To pretend otherwise is to start driving a car where the wheel nuts lie strewn on the ground.

© James Berkeley 2017. All Rights Reserved.