I was asked the question the other week: “What is THE superpower to have in business?” I of course replied: “There are lots of winning qualities that make for a successful entrepreneur and business person, particularly when it comes to mindset.”
“Ah but I knew you’d say that!” the person (who shall remain nameless) replied. “But that’s too broad. I’m asking what is THE Superpower or X Factor that really gives someone the edge. And by the way, you can only give me one answer.”
Now, I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t normally enter this far into this kind of conversation, but it was one of those social debates where you just knew you had to give some sort of answer. So, after a bit of pondering, I said: “I guess that being resilient can be a superpower as it is a rather undefined ability – like having the X Factor – but when you have it, it can really be quite powerful.”
The ability to bounce back
It was a good enough answer to finish the debate, but since then I have thought more and more about the power of being resilient. One of the biggest barriers to growing a business is being able to bounce back. Entrepreneurship has highs and lows and those who succeed are able to deal with blows, criticism and setbacks, and continue to persevere to get to their end point.
The idea behind Apple, for example, was not particularly creative, Microsoft, IBM and Altair were already selling personal computers. Steve Jobs was resilient enough to deal with numerous setbacks as he sought to take a new PC to market and that’s what made Apple the success that it is today.
In the corporate world, those who aren’t resilient and are faced with issues either move jobs or hide behind colleagues – you just can’t do this if you want to scale a business. In fact, entrepreneurs and startups are so successful at pushing past barriers and achieving the seemingly unthinkable that we are now in a time where corporates are looking to startups and small businesses to understand that winning formula that makes the most of opportunities.
Content seriesView full content series
And, simply put, that formula is all about mindset and resilience. That willingness to be constantly aware of opportunities and threats and do everything you possible can to achieve as much as possible. Entrepreneurs, as well as being opportunity hungry, are some of the most ‘plugged-in’ people in British business, and their success is down to spotting the trends, and adapting to them well whether that be in the service they provide or in the culture that they build in their business and brand.
What’s in store in 2017?
So, what are the big trends in 2016 that entrepreneurs have been able to take advantage of? Whilst there are many, there are my top five that are not just about 2017, but about the way the business landscape is evolving going forward.
- The gig economy: The idea of ‘a job for life’ has been outdated for quite some time, but as well as people jumping from job to job, there is also now a growing breed of professionals who are spreading their income across various means. Entrepreneurs are ready and waiting to take advantage of this and are well placed to offer opportunities for a workforce who can flex their availability to resourcefully service a business during its peak periods
- The sharing economy: Entrepreneurs and startups aren’t tied down to big inventories anymore which can suck up costs. The world’s most valuable accommodation provider, Airbnb, owns no rooms and the world’s most valuable media companies, including Facebook and Twitter, create none of their own content
- Authentic leadership: Whilst this isn’t a revelation unique to entrepreneurs, in my opinion it’s the entrepreneurs who are nailing this. Having a cause that employees and consumers believe in promotes loyalty and trust. This is becoming more and more important (particularly for millennials). In entrepreneurialism, leaders are never far from their core purpose (if at all). It’s what started their business, fuels their ambition, and importantly it’s what comes through clearly in their story helping bring employees and consumers closer to their business or brand
- Culture is king: In a similar vein to the above, culture is becoming more and more imperative to business success. The younger generation in particular, aren’t driven solely by money and are looking to align themselves to businesses whose culture and values are more than just words on the wall. So, to attract the best talent, businesses need to showcase the right actions and not divert from a clear and meaningful core purpose… and who does this well? Entrepreneurs of course!
- Success breeds confidence: The recent SkyScanner acquisition was not only a significant international business deal for a UK business, but was a significant boost of confidence to the aspiration that drives entrepreneurial businesses. Not only was it good business sense, but as a company powered by employees who either helped start or have some connection or stake in the company it demonstrated the far reaches a business can go when its workforce is so closely connected to driving the business.
Overall, I wholeheartedly believe that entrepreneurs have a big advantage in 2017. These trends will become more and more integral to the success of businesses and what’s wonderful is that often these are the qualities that come naturally to those who have the mindset to start their own businesses. It’s an exciting competitive advantage and I can’t wait to see how entrepreneurialism continues to grow next year and beyond.