Monthly Column By Claire Menzies
What does it mean to be entrepreneurial? Well, it begins with spotting an opportunity and having clarity about what you’re proposing, whether it’s a new value, service, product or method for being more innovative or efficient. Next, you have to commoditise your vision. You’ll need to be more than just motivated to create change – and certainly more than a dreamer. How fearlessly do you respond to the unexpected, for example? And how capable are you of acknowledging – and examining – failure?
If you’re looking to start a new business right now, my first advice would be to find a seasoned mentor; someone who’ll tell you straight – the good and the bad. Then, assess your risk levels thoroughly. As you might end up failing catastrophically, your initial risk shouldn’t be greater than moderate.
When it comes to which character traits will serve you best, tenacity is vital, though not stubbornness. Networking skills are good, as is a certain personability. Judgement and circumspection are important too, meaning you’re prepared to look inwards as well as outwards to find out what you’re good – and less good – at. Complement your own skillset at the earliest opportunity and jump straight on bad practice too. You’ll also need to listen hard to stay relevant. We’re launching an Innovation Lab right now to demonstrate curated new tech advances to our clients to see how they’re received, for example. All ideas need road-testing.
It can be hard – and lonely – to be an entrepreneur. With that in mind, we created an Incubator Hub to help with and invest in other people’s ideas. We currently have two businesses growing alongside our three core creative companies. We offer mentoring, free premises, regular monthly salaries and centralised systems until they get on their feet. Whilst we’re obviously looking for a return on investment, we’re not venture capitalists. We use the process to give our other agency teams the experience of helping take an idea from seed to market. When the yield finally comes, the originators’ share buy-back can begin.
Vive the entrepreneurial spirit we say!
Claire Menzies, Chairwoman, Istoria Group
Image: ‘i am a bookworm’ is one of our two Incubator Hub businesses currently.