With its experience in entrepreneurial success, Barclays has put together its own insights on how SME leaders can go for gold, while also securing feedback from investors and other business figures.
Richard Heggie, head of high growth & entrepreneurs at Barclays, said: “Moving towards the end of 2017 and looking ahead to the New Year, we expect entrepreneurs to be focused on retaining talent, fine-tuning growth plans and accessing the right funding.
“Entrepreneurs and business owners have a wide range of topics, issues and opportunities to navigate when expanding their organisation. We asked business experts from the judging panel of our High Growth and Entrepreneurs Awards for their top tips when thinking about startup, scale-up and social entrepreneurs.”
Key considerations for seeking entrepreneurial success
(1) Heggie continued: “The biggest obstacle is a lack of experience: do everything you can to get it – speak with mentors and investors whilst surrounding yourself with other founders who have been there and done it. Don’t be shy about approaching people to grow from their knowledge and experience.”
(2) Jon Coker, managing partner, MMC Ventures, said: “When starting your business you must set and communicate very clear objectives. In addition, it is essential that you understand how and where you will focus.
“Identify the things you won’t do and don’t do them. If it feels comfortable you are not focused. It is also crucial that you stick to your hiring plans.”
(3) Philip Salter, founder, The Entrepreneur Network, said: “When starting up your business you must ensure that you have a plan for getting your product out quickly, this involves both testing and integrating. You also need to have the right people around you.
“People who share your passion and vision are essential at this early stage of your business. It is also essential at the start of this venture to spend time with the other founders around you.
“These individuals will share the same challenges as yourself, and will have the solutions you seek.”
Entrepreneurial success obstacles when scaling in the UK?
(4) According to Heggie: “Invest in building the management capability and leadership to really enable you to scale your business – this is one of the biggest obstacles entrepreneurs face.”
(5) Irene Graham, Scale Up Institute, said: “The biggest obstacle is access to top quality leadership. Better access to markets both at home and abroad would always be a pressing issue. Increasingly infrastructure is restricting the growth of scale ups.”
(6) Ian Shott, managing partner, Shott Tuniva, said: “The biggest obstacles facing scale up businesses in the UK are the quality of leadership, the ability to hire top people and the ability to secure the correct and appropriate funding/ banking over time. For me the biggest obstacle is often the vision and ambition of the leadership.”
(7) Rohit Mathur, Barclays VP of venture capital, said: “The biggest challenge facing scale-up businesses is not thinking big. US businesses think big and go for global domination.
“Another challenge is financing – capital is required to match big thinking entrepreneurs.”
(8) Antoine Nussenbam, partner, Felix Capital, said: “The biggest obstacle facing scale up businesses is access to talent.
“I would then argue that capacity to be agile, technological know-how and access to funding follow accordingly.”
Differences in entrepreneurial success when growing a social impact business and growing any other business?
(9) Rodney Schwartz, CBO, ClearlySo, said: “There is a difference between growing a social impact business and growing any other business. An entrepreneur must think what are the impacts of their actions and how can they measure their impacts efficiently.
“Funding advantages must be considered with the activity of these entrepreneurs. These must consider how they can capitalise on being SI.”
(10) Holger Westpluf, senior investment manager, Venturesource, said: “Growing a social impact business has many additional complexities in addition to the day-to-day commercial challenges that any business faces.
“Tackling these early, involving the community and wider stakeholders, rethinking the supply chains, serving disadvantaged or hard to reach customers, working with disadvantaged staff etc. are all great practices that can become competitive advantages. There is a distinct need to grasp the opportunity.”