By Brian Chernett, Founder, The Academy For Chief Executives
Enterprise is at the heart of the Coalition Government’s policy for growth and it can only come from small business. A headline from The Telegraph 'David Cameron vows to free business from red tape' talks about David Cameron’s speech about the ‘enemies of enterprise’– civil service red tape and poor access to capital in his view – took attention away from another key message in his speech at the weekend, that if we are to grow the economy, it will happen through ordinary people building and growing businesses.
In the March 23rd Budget, George Osborne introduced 21 Enterprise Zones across England that, according to Budget 2011: selected enterprise zones designed to encourage new investment, ‘will seek to stimulate selected areas of the country through tax breaks, reduced planning restrictions and "superfast" broadband. The first zones will be based in Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, Greater Manchester, the west of England, the north-east, Tees Valley, Nottinghamshire, the Black Country and Derbyshire. Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, said he had been asked to select a suitable area in the capital and had chosen 125 hectares (more than 300 acres) of land in the historic Royal Docks, in the borough of Newham. Local authorities have been invited to tender for the remaining zones.’
The Chancellor also doubled the Entrepreneurs lifetime CGT (Capital Gains Tax) allowance. Budget 2011: Entrepreneurs boosted by tax reliefs, an article from the Telegraph, notes “Company owners will benefit from a doubling of the lifetime limit on "entrepreneurs' relief" to £10m from April 6. The relief limits capital gains tax (CGT) to 10pc on the sale of business assets under certain conditions.”
Being an entrepreneur is clearly being encouraged. How do you become one? Anyone can be an entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur is not an exclusive club that requires qualifications to join. To make a start, you first need an idea for a business. Ideas can be
- Completely new or an invention that solves a problem
- An adaptation of an idea from somewhere or someone else (that doesn’t infringe intellectual property)
- An existing idea applied to a new market
- Something commonplace (like running a shop) but done in a much better way
The idea alone, however, is not enough. We all have ideas in profusion. It is the ones that go somewhere that make a difference and they are often built on a foundation of earlier failed ideas. If you don’t try the idea out, how will you know if it was a good one?
Along with the idea, the entrepreneur will need qualities that come from within and resources from outside.
- Qualities include passion, determination, courage, drive, emotional intelligence, sense of timing and speed of action.
- Resources include research, finance, access to learning and support.
You will need to understand your potential markets and whether your product or service has the potential to meet the needs of enough people who are prepared to pay a price that allows you to make a sustainable profit.
You will also need persistence. Building a business is hard work and you'll need to believe in what you are doing and stick with it, especially when, as they will, things veer away from plan.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll need a team. Behind every successful entrepreneur there is a team of people who make the vision happen. They are the developers of the idea into a form in which it can be delivered to the target audience. No matter how good the entrepreneur, the quality of the team is critical. No great product or service was ever delivered by a single person. So when you hear it said that the country needs more entrepreneurs, remember that it also needs good team players, too. We need more team players than entrepreneurs, ideally, so that the really great ideas come to fruition.
Is it worth the effort? A lot depends on your purpose in setting up the business. Do you want the freedom of working for yourself; to create something tangible; make a good living; to do something worthwhile or to make a fortune?
These things, of course, are all possible, though probably not together. It depends on how you put your idea into action. It is the action step that makes the difference. Another significant ‘enemy of enterprise’ is to do nothing and leave it up to someone else.
What can you start acting on today?
Brian Chernett is the founder of The Academy for Chief Executives and Chairman of Academy Group ACE2. Having stepped down as Chief Executive of the Academy, Brian is now developing his own coaching and mentoring business – Wisdom Forums - for senior executives and building a new charity, The Ella Foundation, to coach and mentor Chief Executives in Charities and not for profit business.
Watch the video below featuring Brian Chernett, Founder, The Academy For Chief Executives, offering some advice on growing your business.
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