Ed Bussey is Founder and CEO of Quill. Quill specialises in the production of digital content at scale and at speed, and has been voted one of Britain’s most exciting and disruptive businesses as part of the Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50, Santander Breakthrough50 and Smarta100. Ed is a three-time digital entrepreneur and was awarded a Special Merit award at the 2014 Great British Entrepreneur Awards.
His top tips are:
1. Believe in the business you build
It can’t be purely about money – you have to feel that you are making a real and positive difference with your business. That authenticity of motivation influences everyone around you – your team, your customers and your investors. The days of building businesses purely for profit are over. Purpose now matters.
2. Don’t be afraid to go against the status quo
Before starting each of my businesses people told me they would never work – and we’re still proving them wrong. Your idea might be disruptive, but that shouldn’t put you off if you believe you are solving an important problem in the market. If anything it should motivate you even more.
3. Have a crystal clear vision of what success looks like
Know exactly what you are trying to achieve and make sure that everyone working with you can knows and can articulate that vision with the same precision as you. The best talent is attracted and motivated by playing a part in the realisation of a vision. You will also then be able to regularly measure your progress, mitigate risks and recalibrate activity towards that long term vision. Building a business is rarely a straight line and you have to know where you’re going if you’re going correct your course efficiently.
4. Understand the opportunity cost of your time
The most valuable commodity for an entrepreneur is in my view not money, but the opportunity cost of their time. Don’t waste that precious time on vanity projects that are never going to work. Get honest feedback (that might be tough to hear), be honest with yourself (what are you not good at), and learn to draw a line quickly and move on to something else.
5. Take time to unplug
Keep a balance. Building a business is invariably a tiring, stressful long haul. Find ways to get away and spend time which is purely about nourishing yourself. It’s especially important to learn how to switch off all the mental, physical and electronic noise that surrounds your business. Those pockets of space are the oxygen that fuel your effectiveness as a business leader. For me, mountain-climbing is the answer – I always return from the mountains with far greater energy and clarity of thinking.