This question was asked, and answered, quite a few times last week at different business and training events in Cornwall, in relation to the launch of a new business initiative in the county.
Evolution: Fit for the Future was the first of five events hosted by Unlocking Potential to mark Global Entrepreneurship Week 2011.
And if it’s anything to go by, the rest of the programme is going to be a cracker.
Today wasn’t just about the inspirational speakers, who included Laura Tenison who founded Jojo Maman Bebe and Lord Digby Jones – it was about the variety of people who were there – from the public sector, private sector and third sector – who asked insightful questions and contributed to the afternoon discussions.
What did I take away from today?
Lord Digby Jones was this morning’s key speaker, and highlighted the increased competition that is coming about from international business expansion in the Far East and India.
He also stressed that economic recovery in the UK is critical, given that one in four babies born today will live to see 100, so our economy is going to have to support an ageing population for a long time to come – and for that we need international trade and sustained growth.
And that’s where the private sector come in. (No pressure then).
Digby suggested that, to capitalise on the growth opportunities, businesses need to:
- add value
- deliver consistent quality
Not rocket science, but a good reminder with powerful examples and evidence to drive the point home.
Peer-to-peer learning is invaluable
This underlies the whole Unlocking Potential initiative – businesses supporting each other and sharing best practice.
We saw it in practice this afternoon when delegates held discussions in small groups about what keeps them awake at night (juggling lists and effective delegating being two of the main ones).
- members must commit to attend regularly
- members are from non-competing businesses/sectors
- no selling is allowed
Running a successful business in four i’s
Her presentation was packed with real life examples, great lessons in entrepreneurship and practical advice for business owners.
Laura opened with the following four elements of running a business:
- Innovation – constantly look for new product ideas and improvements, and never become complacent
- Inspiration – look high, look low, on holiday, at the weekend – look for inspiration everywhere you go
- Imagination – be creative with your marketing and PR to exceed the increasing demands of customers
- Insomnia – waking at all hours remembering things you’ve forgotten, having your most creative thoughts at 3 o’clock in the morning, and generally existing on less sleep than you thought possible
All so true!
More from Laura’s presentation in tomorrow’s post when I’ll share what keeps her awake at night, her vision for the future of the business, and how social networking can make the difference between sell-out and drop-out for a new product.
So if you get asked “Are you going?” to any other business events this week, say “yes” and book yourself in for a day that will leave you inspired, buzzing with new ideas and, if you’re lucky, full of a delicious lunch of lasagne followed by chocolate mousse…..
Who inspires you? Share in the comments below or on the Facebook page.