How learning from others can help you realise your growth potential

Posted on the 4 January 2016

How learning from others can help you realise your growth potential

By Nigel Mills

As the year comes to a close all business people will be looking for ways to make 2016 the most productive and profitable year yet. At the Entrepreneurs’ Forum’s recent ‘Fortune Favours the Bold’ conference we heard from speakers from the worlds of business, sport, and beyond, all of whom gave some great advice, that I’m sure will give us some inspiration.

“You have to speak with authority and confidence, nobody else is going to do it for you. If you can’t speak up for your business, your clients can’t expect you to do so for them.” said Graham Robb, Senior Partner at Recognition PR, who chaired the Entrepreneurial Insights panel. Graham’s advice is self-explanatory, but its importance should not be underestimated, customers have to see you have confidence in what you’re selling.

“You’ve got to get quality into your quantity, do things to the best of your ability and don’t try to do everything, then you can achieve your purpose.” was the key message of Fab Flournoy, the phenomenally successful the Newcastle Eagles player/coach. Fab, a naturalised UK citizen who grew up in the Bronx and moved to UK to play basketball said .This is important for entrepreneurs, especially when scaling up their businesses, as quality can suffer without the right business processes in place.

Olympic Gold Medal winning rower Ben Hunt-Davis had a clear, powerful message; “Will it make the boat go faster?” In business terms this means we should questions whether changes we make grow our companies or increase our profits. If the answer is no we should think twice about them.

“87% of communication is visual” was the message of mentalist and ‘Master of Influence’ Gilan Gork. He ’ told us to think about what our body language tells other about us, especially when dealing with clients and colleagues, as well as what their body language can  tell us. Seeing how comfortable someone is with what you’re saying when pitching or selling is great intelligence that can make a difference.

Tony Cleary of Lanchester Wines noted that he keeps track of his businesses using a 24 month rolling profit and lost forecast, in his words, “The numbers don’t lie”. He advised attendees to mitigate risk positive strategies within individual businesses by building a diverse portfolio. In short, Tony doesn’t put all of his eggs in one basket.

Jeremy Snape, former England cricketer and sports psychologist said “You get the best results when you set a target and break down how you’re going to achieve it, millimetre by millimetre, winning one millimetre at a time.” Jeremy’s message is particularly relevant to the Entrepreneurs’ Forum. If we have a speaker who has made £1 billion, what they have to say isn’t always relevant. On the other hand, a speaker who has made £100,000 and tells us how to do it can give us the encouragement make £100,000 ourselves, the next £100,000, £1 million, and maybe more. In business we need to have lofty ambitions but break them down into achievable steps, create a roadmap, then through strong communications and a simple business model we succeed, millimetre by millimetre.

We know that there is a direct correlation between hard work and success, and by finding the right inspiration and making the right changes, 2016 can be an even more successful year for the North East’s entrepreneurs.

  Nigel Mills is Chairman of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum.