Lessons from the Global Entrepreneurship Congress Summit 2012

GEC2012



Held at Liverpool’s Echo Arena the Global Entrepreneurship Congress Summit featured Sir Richard Branson, Sir Terry Leahy, Lord Michael Heseltine, Martha Lane-Fox & even comedian John Bishop.

Here are just some of the pieces of advice handed out during the summit’s keynote talks:



Sir Richard Branson – Screw it, let’s do it

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Here are just a few of the tips shared by Sir Richard Branson during a Q&A session with Mike Southon:

- The art of delegation is key. By mastering the ability to delegate effectively Branson was able to step aside from the nitty gritty of running the business (or businesses in his case). It not only gave him the opportunity to continue other entrepreneurial endeavours, but also focus on the bigger picture.

- If you want your business to grow you’ll need to get the best people you can afford into the business. Give people the opportunity to do things their own way. They may do things differently to how you would do them, but giving people that freedom and responsibility will help you motivate and retain staff in the long run.

- Cash flow is key!!!!!

- Be creative about getting your business off the ground. Branson had very little capital when he started out but he reinvested wisely and came up with weird and wonderful ways of bringing attention to his brands. You don’t have to have thousands in the bank to get started.

- “What idea have I got that is going to make a real difference to people’s lives.” This is how Branson approaches his new business adventures. It’s not about making lots of money. Being passionate comes first, making a difference to people’s lives follows and then you hope that a successful business will be the result.

- “You have to be better than the competition.”

- “Some things are going to work and some things aren’t. If you have a failure dust yourself down and move on.” It just goes to show that even the most successful businesses have hiccups. Despite Virgin Cola launching to much fanfare and being very successful in its first 12 months they were unable to sustain their success, as the product wasn’t remarkably different to Coca-Cola and ultimately Coke had deeper pockets.



Sir Terry Leahy – The Mindset of Success

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Terry Leahy started at Tesco in 1979 as a Marketing Executive. Twenty two years later he was CEO and helped grow Tesco into the world’s 3rd largest supermarket chain. His talk was all about the things you need to succeed in business:

- You need a goal, a purpose and an objective.

- Don’t be put off taking a personal risk. Lots of people are completely risk averse so there are opportunities out there.

- Innovate. If you spot something others haven’t – back yourself. Regardless of your size. In fact being a small business and innovating will help you compete with the major incubants in that industry.

- You don’t have to be an industry insider to bring innovation to that industry.

- If you have an idea. Act on it. Words don’t make the world a better place. Only when you act on them do things change.

- Competition is good for you and it brings out the best in your business.

- When assessing the competition focus on their strengths not weaknesses. What do they do well? What can you learn from them. The key to staying ahead of the competition is to learn faster from them than they can from you.

- You are a leader not just an entrepreneur. You must have a positive impact on those around you. Try to give more than you take.

Terry Leahy closed his talk by reminding us that Tesco was founded on an east end market stall in London. Takings on the first day = £4.



Lord Michael Heseltine – Spotting the opportunity & going for it

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As well as being a Conservative politician Michael Hesetine is an extremely successful businessman founding the Haymarket publishing business when he was 24. Here are some of the standout comments from hi talk:

- Do something you enjoy. You are going to be doing it a lot. Look forward to Monday mornings. If you can turn your passion into enterprise then the opportunities become so much easier to pursue.

- “What really matters is luck.” You see/feel an idea. Most of us can let the “luck” go by, but the successful people take the opportunities that present themselves and go for it.

- Similar to Richard Branson Lord Heseltein stated that you need to put in place colleagues and managers of the highest calibre and delegate to them. There is no time for micro-managing. Let them get on with what you are paying them to do.

- He also made a valid point about how we think about enterprise. It is not just about wealth creation and the private sector. We should think about all of the enterprising people in the public sector. From head teachers to the people helping to convince foreign companies to set up in the UK.

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