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Failure: It’s not the end, but is the beginning …

9th March, 2016 No Comments


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How many of us have failed at something during our lives?

Well, the only true answer is all of us. Some more spectacularly than others, but each and every one of us has failed at something or other. But do we ever shout about our failures or freely discuss them with friends, families, colleagues or business associates? Some of us may, but most of us certainly don’t. It’s just not very British!

Maybe it is time to follow the American philosophy, where failure is embraced and seen as a positive.

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly” Robert F. Kennedy

Of course, constant failure will never result in success!  However, it is important to learn from our mistakes; understand the reasons why; and move on with our business ideas.

The most successful companies in the world have experienced failure but instead of disappearing with their heads down, they embrace their mistakes, develop their ideas and bounce back. How can we learn if we don’t make mistakes?

Richard Farson and Ralph Keyes, authors of ‘Whoever Makes the Most Mistakes Wins: The Paradox of Innovation’,  say, “We’re such a success-oriented culture, but think what we need is more failure. Improvements only happen when you try things differently.”

History is littered with stories of businesses and individuals who have turned failure into success. For example, it is said that the world famous Jacuzzi whirlpool was invented for arthritis sufferers, but failed to take off. It was then re-launched as a luxury item and the rest is history. Likewise, it is reported that Microsoft spent many years working on a failed database called Omega which resulted in the development of the most popular desktop database, Microsoft Access. Similarly, JK Rowling was an unemployed and depressed single mother who never thought she would make it anywhere. She spent night after night in coffee shops working on a novel about wizards, and describes herself then as “the biggest failure she knew.” Ultimately the way she embraced her failure formed the foundation of her incredible success. The list goes on and on………

Of course, not all failure should be seen as success. Careless, mindless, or malicious acts should be acknowledged and dealt with appropriately.

We need to remove the stigma from failure and see it not as the end, but the beginning.

“One who fears failure limits his activities. Failure is the only opportunity to more intelligently begin again.” as Henry Ford so eloquently said.

Written by Carole White, Chief Executive, TEDCO Business Support

 

If you have a business idea but are worried that it may not be the success you think it could be, take some encouragement from these words from Carole.  You should also take advantage of any help, advice, and support that is available to ensure your business idea develops into the firmest of footings upon which to build a business.  Contact you local Cavendish Enterprise partner to discuss the business support available to you.

 

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There’s probably never been a more exciting time to create your own job

1st December, 2015 No Comments


Ability, motivation, attitude

Michael Heseltine has been heavily criticised for his recent comment that it’s probably as good a time as any to lose your job and find another, stating that the current jobs situation in Britain is exciting.

For those whose jobs are at risk, looking for another job is not your only option.

There’s probably never been a more exciting time to create your own job through starting a business. Opportunities abound, technology gives you access to a global market and there is a whole raft of invaluable support available. Enterprise and entrepreneurship have, in the past been less prominent options to the mass population than alternatives such as employment, higher education or apprenticeships but they are now moving firmly from the periphery and into focus.

If you have ever considered running your own business but don’t know where to start, or feel that you don’t have the ‘right’ skills – there is more than one way to become your own boss. Entrepreneurialism depends on the development of an idea that can be transformed into a viable business and as a practice, it is inherently risky. People who have become accustomed to being an employee may not necessarily be an entrepreneur but they are very likely to possess the skills, enterprising attitude and experience needed to run a business.

Starting a business with a proven business model and established brand can be one way to launch a business. Franchised businesses have weathered the recessional storm extremely well, which is hardly surprising when we consider how easy it is to quickly recall 5 popular franchises when asked.

Perhaps you are looking to buy a business or feel you have a strong product or service with a clear marketplace.
The most important thing to consider is laying down firm foundations for your business. If you cut corners at the start up stage you will be forever catching up and could cause significant difficulties for yourself. A sound business plan really is your route map on the road to success.

It pays dividends to talk to other people who have gone through a similar experience and are prepared to share their wisdom about not only the pitfalls but the positives, what helped them to achieve success. The UK is full of incredible business people who really do want to help you. In addition there is an excellent range of business support available to help you with

• Accessing finance
• Finding routes to market
• Making the right connections
• Putting together a business plan
• Knowing who to turn to when things are difficult

Give your new business the competitive edge by getting ready to launch your new business properly. You could be creating jobs for others as well as one for yourself as your new boss!

Written by Carole White, Chief Executive, TEDCO Business Support

If you are looking to start a robust business with the potential for high growth, and to employ staff, the Start & Grow initiative might be just what you’re looking for – a premium support package to help you start up and grow your business over 3 years.

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The Queen’s Speech reflects growing recognition of the important role of small businesses

29th May, 2015 No Comments


 

Following on from the election frenzy this month we have heard the Queen’s speech containing a record number of bills, outlining the incoming Conservative Government’s plans and priorities for the next 5 years. The 26 bill package was described by Prime Minister David Cameron as a “programme for working people” and the creation of full employment was at the heart of the plan. It does appear to contain several business-friendly policies, but a key question is ‘what does this really mean for the new and growing businesses that are the focus of the work of the Cavendish Consortium?’

Business reaction indicates that the Queen’s Speech was perceived as steady and relatively safe with no real surprises. Some of the businesses that I have spoken to are taking time out to get to grips with what it means, seeing this as the calm before the storm with much still to be debated, particularly around the in/out EU referendum. It is very positive to see the commitment to enterprise and jobs but there is a sense that we need to see the actions that follow on from the plans.

John Longworth, Director General of the British Chamber of Commerce commenting on the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill said:

“Simplifying life for small or growing businesses should be an objective shared across all political parties. There are many measures in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill that will receive support if they work in practice – including faster company registration, improvements to public sector payment, and measures to support business cash flow.”

The Government is committed to setting up a small business conciliation service to resolve business to business disputes, particularly over late payment which is a key issue for many small businesses. The cutting of ‘red tape’ and unnecessary bureaucracy is certainly welcomed by SMEs who are the lifeblood of our economy. New legislation is planned to help achieve full employment and we are committed to playing our part in realising this through starting and growing more businesses. It is to be hoped that emerging policies result in a practical, accessible ecosystem to encourage rather than inhibit new business growth.

Other areas of particular interest to small businesses are:

–   No VAT, income tax or national insurance contribution rises in the next five years for those working over 30 hours per week on the national minimum wage

–   An increase in the provision of free childcare by 2017

–   EU referendum before the end of 2017

–   An emphasis on the importance of building a Northern Powerhouse

–   Delayed plans to scrap the Human Rights Act

–   A continuation of the building of the High Speed 2 railway

 

As always the devil will be in the detail and in the practical roll out of the Government plans. I have been struck however by the general sense of optimism among businesses that I have spoken to. There is a sense of increased opportunity and a focus on building a strong future.

I’ll finish with a quote from John Allan, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses who said:

“The Small Business Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech, reflects the growing recognition of the role small businesses have to play in driving forward the economy and the need to do all we can to support them in that effort.”

I echo his sentiment, we must all play our part in supporting that effort and in driving forward the Government’s aspiration to “cement the UK’s position in Europe as the best place to start and grow a business.”

 

Written by Carole White, CEO, TEDCO Business Support

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Ensure your Biggest Cost is your Greatest Asset

14th April, 2015 No Comments


“Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

As a business owner or leader your staff is one of your biggest costs and potentially is one of your best assets if you create an engaged culture amongst your employees and sub-contractors to such an extent that they do things beyond what is expected of them.

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Poor internal communication in a business organisation leads to a lack of company direction and understanding of core messages.

Effective communication needs the buy in of all members in the organisation, from staff, and office managers to boardroom executives.

Do your team really understand the core values?

Do you communicate with each other effectively?

How valued do you think your people feel?

What are your key drivers?

How effectively do you work as a team?

Perhaps it’s time to take time out and take stock of where you are and most importantly where you are going.

This will mean investment of time, but as people are your most valuable resource it could be money well spent.

It may be that your staff feel a little jaded and lethargic, if so it’s time for a spot of invigoration!  Take the lead and energise and refocus your team. Take positive steps to move people (including you) out of their comfort zone.  The new financial year is an excellent opportunity to provide a clear steer on your business goals and the standards and behaviours you expect.

Spending time analysing both the positives and the tensions in your team can be enlightening and productive.  Make sure that everyone is on board and listen to their views and ideas.

Give individuals in your organisation the opportunity to reflect upon and discuss your business and ambitions.

This approach to internal communication and employee engagement gives you a much better result compared to conventional top down strategies. It ensures a clear understanding of your vision, values and mission and spreads a high level of commitment to your brand and across your workforce. Make sure that you are committed to giving support to anyone who needs it, whether that means formal training, coaching or perhaps a bit of confidence building.

By engaging staff with vision and values they can apply them in their day-to-day work, it is a fact that organisations that have a strong communications function outperform those that don’t.

A highly engaged team or employee will consistently deliver beyond expectations and will have a sense of belonging or a strong bond with the company or a brand. This creates a ripple effect that results in a great atmosphere in the organisation and real buy in from your staff, giving you competitive advantage and bottom-line benefits.

In the words of Virgil, “they can because they think they can.”

Written by Carole White, Chief Executive

TEDCO Business Support Ltd

 

 

 

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