The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a significant crisis for businesses across the globe. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that almost 400,000 UK companies closed in 2020, with a further 250,000 predicted to follow suit this year. Despite this, the pandemic has given rise to a surge in new businesses. In the UK alone, more than 400,000 start-ups were formed in 2020, with a similar increase in other countries such as the US, France, Germany and Japan. The question arises: what does it take to launch a successful enterprise? The life and experiences of four UK-based start-up founders have been explored in this regard.
Paul Wickers, who founded Huggg, a gifting platform for businesses, in 2017, cites resourcefulness and support from friends and family as crucial factors to his success. He spotted a gap in the market during his research for a finance project and followed his instincts. Wickers believes it is important to keep learning new things, hire wisely, and have support from loved ones.
Tony Xu, the founder of Perfocal, the UK’s leading on-demand photography service with over 1,500 professional photographers, believes that the execution of an idea is more important than the idea itself. Xu advises sharing one’s ideas with friends and family, hiring a strong team, and developing resilience as key to entrepreneurial success.
Greg Aubert, founder and director of Healthy Yeti, a plant-based health products brand, emphasizes the importance of self-management as an essential skill for an entrepreneur. He also stresses patience and persistence in playing the long-game to increase the chances of success.
Tom Dewhurst, founder of Ordoo and Growth Division, shares his experience of rushing into developing an app without sufficient customer research. He believes that it is vital for entrepreneurs to immerse themselves in their customer’s problems and understand the details. Dewhurst advises entrepreneurs to be prepared for the challenge, as starting a business takes longer and costs more than anticipated but is ultimately rewarding.
Entrepreneurship and Innovation Specialism:
The University of London’s Global MBA provides an Entrepreneurship and Innovation pathway, specifically designed to support those looking to launch their own businesses. The program covers topics such as ‘Entrepreneurial finance and private equity’, ‘Innovation and change’, and ‘Venture capital and entrepreneurship’. Dr. Dimitrios Koufopoulos, Program Director for the Global MBA and Visiting Professor with the School of Law at Queen Mary’s University of London, believes that the boom in start-ups is largely due to globalization, which has made it possible to reach a worldwide clientele. He stresses the importance of the core skills developed through the Entrepreneurship and Innovation specialism, such as managing and financing a new business, continuous innovation, and a commitment to purpose.
The experiences of successful entrepreneurs highlight that being resourceful, having support from family and friends, hiring wisely, self-management, resilience, patience, and persistence are some of the key skills that contribute to entrepreneurial success. However, it is also important to understand and immerse oneself in customers’ problems to develop effective solutions. The Entrepreneurship and Innovation specialism offered by the University of London’s Global MBA provides a platform for aspiring entrepreneurs to gain the skills necessary to launch their own ventures. Ultimately, the core skill that all entrepreneurs should possess is a commitment to purpose, which will help them navigate the challenges and remain focused on their goals.