Looking at the list of my fellow judges on the panel for the StartUp Awards this coming summer in London makes me so proud to be a small part of the StartUp community in the UK.
Being a lifelong entrepreneur I have always had a passion for new businesses and to supporting people with their growth and development. Since starting my first business at the age of 17, the passion and drive that it takes to build something from nothing, has always been a part of my life. I am so pleased to be able to pass on some of my limited experience to the new generation of exciting business-minded people.
Working for a StartUp means wearing several hats, working long hours, and following a dream. Doing whatever it takes to take the idea out of your head, onto paper, onto the internet, and into customers’ homes is an amazing journey that few will ever fully understand. People often ask, “Is it worth it?”. The people who will win these awards as the best start-up business in London and the South East know the answer to that question better than me.
Start-up businesses often come from one of two sources.
They can be a passion, or they can be a solution.
Building from Passion can be exciting and is fraught with problems. Passion, like any emotion, can get out of control. Entrepreneurs can fly off in different directions, going where their passion takes them. Their passion for the project guiding them along the journey, often putting out fires with one hand and starting a new fire with the other.
Building from passion is engaging, motivating and without passion, the journey would be hard. It is that passion that gets solopreneurs out of bed in the morning and guides them through the day. That passion drives the success of the business and causes several sleepless nights. I am confident that a lot of people at these awards will be driven by the passion to make their project a success. And the very fact that they are at these awards shows that their passion and ideas were justified.
Passion alone will not build a business. If we are driven by passion, we need a very clear vision. That vision will keep us focused when the hundred other ideas are bubbling away in our minds! It is the passion that keeps us going, but it is the clear, and organized vision that guides us down the path.
Passion requires control. Control can be built around planning. Now planning seems to be contradictory to passion in some regards. Passion is exciting, planning is controlling that passion and keeping it aligned with the vision! Research the idea, build a plan, create a documented path towards the vision, and be determined to reach the goal in the end. Remaining focused through passion can be hard.
Passion, like any emotion, has its good days and bad. When there are bad days as a full-time worker, in a big business you have support, HR to turn to, Team Leaders, owners and managers, but as an entrepreneur, you have yourself to push yourself along. You are your greatest burden and your own greatest support.
Passion can cause budgets to disappear fast. One of the biggest failures of many a great idea, is running out of money to support it. Having structure in the Company as well as in the finances will build stronger foundations for the success of your startup.
Building a business from Passion can be immersive, and can block out all the nay-sayers, you just know in your heart of hearts that you are doing what you are meant to do, and it can be so rewarding.
So do you build from Passion, or do you build a Solution?
A commonly used phrase is “Your mess becomes your message”.
There are several meanings that can be attributed to this. There can be personal mess and emotional mess that can drive a business idea. Going through turmoil and difficult times can provide great strength and from that people can offer great comfort and support to those who also experience the same unfortunate and difficult experience.
It can also be something as simple as a messy desk, or messy business operations. It was the messy desk that drove me to build my first business.
I started my Entrepreneurial life in Real Estate. I like houses, I like people. I liked being out of the office and seeing different things and going different places. It was a natural fit at the time. But when an estate agent has multiple properties, they are selling, to multiple people, it takes a lot more than a big pad of post-it notes to keep things organized.
Building a CRM Solution that allowed multiple users to input property details, customer details, contact information, integrate it with a phone solution, emails, and communication channels. Adding in a diary function and being able to get all the paper off my desk was my startup idea. If you know me or have worked with me, you know that the essence of organization and de-cluttering still runs deep.
The “Mess” was both figurative and literal. One of the most common complaints that our business was getting was losing customers because we would forget to call them. Or when we did call them, we would forget which property they were most interested in. In real estate today, communication is the most important element of the job, and still one of the biggest complaints that prospective buyers have. In my mind, building a CRM Solution to fix this solution was clear.
I am sure many entrepreneurs at the StartUp Awards have had similar “Lightbulb” moments. You look at a problem that many people experience in their daily lives, but you look at it from a business perspective, and you find that solution, build the solution, market the solution, and fix people’s problems.
Your business is a solution to a messy problem and suddenly, your mess has become your message.
Whether you build from passion, or from a solution-focused approach, a start-up entrepreneur who has successfully built a business from the concept they had in their head, and who is being acknowledged by these prestigious awards should be celebrated and should be immensely proud
I am proud to be a part of the StartUp Awards and proud that my new business ConxHub, can support entrepreneurs and start-up businesses by offering money-back guarantees, no long-term contracts and a mobile phone solution adaptable for any business, of any size, in any sector.
A Start-up, in my view, should always remain a startup. It is that mentality that continues to drive growth, innovation and success. And it is SO exciting.