Leading entrepreneur says "hundreds of people will tell you your idea is rubbish"

By: Mark Sinclair

Date: 23 July 2009

Richard Reed - web

Not a particularly cheery headline for a business startup blog, but it's an interesting observation which we can all learn from.

Richard Reed is co-founder of Innocent Drinks, a very successful business which brings fresh, tasty smoothies (and food products as it turns out) to a health conscious market in the UK, and now further afield.  I interviewed Richard yesterday for yourBusinessChannel's latest series on business startups.

It was a refreshingly straight-forward interview.  No business jargon.  No pretence.  No corporate positioning.  I asked pretty straight-forward questions, and Richard gave pretty straight-forward answers.  You see, one of the things that has clearly driven the success of Innocent Drinks is that they are honest and uncomplicated in the way that they talk about their business.  They call it "innocent" language.  And the language reflects their way of doing business - which is also said to be "innocent" in all respects.

Anyway, we spoke at some length about starting up a business, having great business ideas and such like.  And during this refreshingly honest conversation, Richard said that when you have refined your entrepreneurial idea - the idea which will be the driving force behind your new startup business - be prepared for hundreds of people to tell you your idea isn't going to work. That's right.  They're going to try to dissuade you.

Richard's advice?  Be ready for people to try to shoot your idea down, but if you truly believe in it, don't listen to them.  Keep going, and make your idea come to life.

Great advice from a thoroughly likeable, straight-talking and clearly very succussful guy whose business has just received a £30m injection of cash from Coca Cola.

Oh, and for anyone who feels a bit squeemish about Coke buying into Innocent, I asked Richard about that and got a very interesting reply, which we'll publish soon.

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