Do you channel your inner Zuckerberg? Or are you more Branson? Perhaps, dare we say it, you see yourself as the next Trump.
Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, each with their own unique strengths, skills, backgrounds and goals. There may not be a one-size-fits-all approach, but we’ve identified seven categories that most successful entrepreneurs can identify with.
What type of entrepreneur best suits you?
1. The maker
When Andrew Jennings decided to transform his childhood passion for watches into a business, he didn’t think twice about quitting his job in the city. Aged 10, Andrew inherited a Rolex Daytona from his uncle. Today, his business Larsson & Jennings sells a watch every four minutes. Selling luxury, Swiss-made watches at affordable prices the company has moved from online only to bricks and mortar stores. His design-conscious consumer base (which includes high-profile fans such as Emma Watson and Suki Waterhouse) continues to grow and the business saw a turnover of more than £8.5 million last year.
What Andrew says: “The road to success starts with failure.”
2. The seller
The name Cadbury goes hand-in-hand with chocolate, but James Cadbury the great-great-great-grandson of the legendary chocolatier John Cadbury, decided to go it alone. Love Cocoa delivers six varieties of letterbox-sized chocolate the day after they’re ordered online. Following in the footsteps of other start-up successes including Bloom and Wild, Graze, and Pact Coffee, James plans for Love Cocoa to expand through crowdfunding, moving from online-only retail to bricks and mortar stores.
What James says: “I like the idea of crowdfunding as people who like the product have a chance to also own part of the business and endorse it.”
3. The platform creator
Why should booking a shop be any more complicated than booking a hotel room? This is the belief behind Ross Bailey’s Appear Here pop-up shop booking platform. Think of it as a sort of Airbnb for the retail sector. Helping start-ups find trading space to rent on a weekly basis, the platform launched in 2013 when Ross was just 21. Today, Ross and his team are committed to building the technology to make the platform as efficient and streamlined as possible. It’s an expensive route, but it’s paying off – Appear Here works with more than 35,000 brands and retailers looking for short-term lets in the UK.
What Ross says: “I think entrepreneurs have to be blindly optimistic, they have to believe this amazing thing is going to happen so that the obstacles they hit are so insignificant that they don’t matter.”
4. The Distributor
It was James Ashwell’s personal experience of dementia that prompted Unforgettable – a website that provides products, advice and support for people suffering with dementia or memory loss. After the sudden death of his dad in 2006, James realised his mum was suffering with dementia. At 25, he became her full-time carer and soon recognised the lack of dementia-specific products on the market. Unforgettable offers products from personalised jigsaws and GPS trackers to the first dementia-specific power of attorney – all things that make a big difference when you’re dealing with dementia. Read our Unforgettable Founder Story on James Ashwell here.
What James says: “[In years to come] I really hope people will be looking back and saying: ‘Do you remember 20 years ago when there was nothing available for the 50 million people who have dementia?’”
5. The inventor
Being turned down by the Dragons’ Den investors didn’t put an end to Alison Grieve’s plans. In fact, she has seen the sales flood in since the programme aired. Her latest product, G-Hold (aka the one that got away from the Dragons) allows users to comfortably and securely hold their mobile device. Alison’s first invention, Safetray, came to her while working in the hospitality industry and witnessing a tray of Champagne glasses crashing to the ground during an event. Alison was just seven years old when she decided she wanted to be an inventor – 25 years later, that’s precisely what she is.
What Alison says: “As Coco Chanel said: ‘In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.’”
6. The mentor
Throughout her career, Julie Chakraverty has been struck by certain things: the lack of female role models in the workplace; the time it takes to arrange face-to-face meetings; and the importance of business ‘communities’. In response, Julie set up Rungway – a mentoring app that allows people to share fast, bite-sized advice. Through the app, individuals post questions either publicly or anonymously on anything from work-life balance and office politics to health issues at work. They are then matched to people who have experience of and understand those situations. The response so far suggests this app was just what the business community needed.
What she says: “Be more ambitious than you feel comfortable with.”
7. The (Business) matchmaker
Finding ‘the one’ can be tough – both in love and life. Laura Munoz decided to take a leaf from the online dating industry when she launched Empowering Futures in 2015. A social enterprise that matches university students with entrepreneurs to collaborate on projects, Empowering Futures offers individuals the chance to get support, develop skills and watch those projects become a success. The idea behind the business grew from Laura’s passion for connecting people and spreading good ideas. And as far as start-ups go, it sounds like Laura’s found the one.
What Laura says: “Planning is great but entrepreneurs need to be flexible and adapt quickly to take advantage of opportunities.”
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A Scottish entrepreneur and inventor who entered the BBC’s Dragons’ Den tonight has joined the ranks of success stories that got away. Edinburgh-based Alison Grieve’s ergonomic holder for mobile devices was rejected by the Dragons, but since filming she has watched the sales flood in. The G-Hold has so far brought in revenue of £150,000, double the amount she had looked to raise in the Den.