What we've learned from entrepreneurs in 2016


Date: 15 December 2016

What we've learned from entrepreneurs in 2016When it comes to expert advice, who better to listen to than those that have been there and done it - the hard way.

To round off 2016, we've selected some of our favourite contributions from well-known entrepreneurs as well as small business owners and sole traders that we've featured on Start Up Donut this year. So here are eight great quotes on the joys and challenges of running your own business.

Have a merry Christmas and here's to a peaceful and prosperous 2017.

The Start Up Donut team

1. "JoJo's still run the way it was when founded. I have an open-door policy and spread my time around those who need me. Our directors have the same attitude and our business culture is non-hierarchical. I've always been very busy. Whenever I can't cope, we recruit."

Laura Tenison on how she scaled JoJo Maman Bebe.

2. "A lot of investors say they don't invest in businesses, they invest in people. You have to see that the founder is passionate … They have that vision and won't stop until they get a yes."

Tyra Banks on getting investment.

3. "Whatever the shop floor means to your business, when you started your company, you probably spent 90% of your time on it. As your business grows, the balance needs to shift; you should be spending more than 50% of your time on managing the company, not just working in it."

Kate Mercer asks: Is your meddling preventing your business from growing?

4. "We 'start by doing', because we believe that 'being done' is better than 'being perfect'. We build trust because it's the basis of every good relationship. We also spread enthusiasm and like to remain optimistic when faced with challenges. We're a family; act like one, share our successes and we're proud of each other."

Stephen Leguillon and Giorgio Ricco on the core values behind La Belle Assiette.

5. "The worst thing about pitching is when people repeat themselves. Keep it really short, really to the point. In two or three minutes you should be able to get your idea across. My best piece of advice would be my favourite phrase: Screw it, just do it!"

Richard Branson on pitching.

6. "There's no office politics - you don't have to be nice to anyone else in the office just because they are your boss/the favourite employee/new and/or useless. If you're not busy you don't have to stay sat at your desk looking busy. If you land a big job, all the rewards are yours."

Jane Shankster on the joys of being your own boss.

7. "Aim to walk away from every conversation having allowed the other person to speak more than you did. They feel great about the interaction and you'll gain valuable insight into what they do, who they know and how they could best work with you in future."

William Buist on how to build a strong, powerful, strategic network.

8. "Running your own business puts you in a unique position of being able to design the life you want – what work do I really want to do? Who do I want to work for? What will make me happy and fulfilled? Of course, like most of the things associated with running a business, that's easier said than done. But it's tantalisingly possible."

Sharon Tanton on running your own business.

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