At Pitch@Palace 7.0 Bootcamp in Nottingham, David Ross, the co-founder of Carphone Warehouse, had some advice for budding Entrepreneurs. He believed that there are seven fundamental principles that will help in achieving success:
Ross said that he was incredibly fortunate to have been brought up in a family that understood the concept of striking out on your own. He added that the characteristics of an Entrepreneurial lifestyle – very irregular working patterns, risk taking, the need to live the business day and night – was aided by the backing of a supportive family.
While Ross acknowledged the importance of taking advantage of the opportunity to learn, he added that schools and universities are more equipped at preparing people to work for companies rather than to work for themselves. However this was not a bad thing, he added, this meant that a lot of bright people would not become Entrepreneurs, preferring the corporate lifestyle. “That gives us a competitive advantage,” he advised.
3. The addressable market and market size
Using his own example as co-founder of Carphone Warehouse, he said that identifying a market that had a gap and filling it was key. His gap came when he noticed that in 1991 fewer than 5 per cent of the UK population had a mobile phone but that it was destined to become a ubiquitous product.
4. Understanding your customers
From the outset, Ross ensured that he put customers at the heart of everything Carphone Warehouse did. By speaking to them more than any of their competitors, they found a USP that they could anticipate what customers wanted next.
5. Action not words
Entrepreneurs need to be able to do things other than just talk about them. Talking may be easy but execution is key.
6. Resilience and self-reliance
For every good day there’s going to be a not so good day, he said. And when there are bad days the buck stops with you so you need to have the resolve to deal with this.
The power of creating and maintaining a network is also key. Ross said that the Pitch@Palace Entrepreneurs were already ahead of the game through the incredibly powerful network Pitch@Palace provides, with its expertise, mentors and connections available to all those who attend. He concluded with the rallying call that now more than ever the UK needs Entrepreneurs: “Uncertainty creates opportunity so I urge you to push forward with your ideas”.