The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), by which Alternative Partnership is an approved centre, gathers information from the world of business on both a national and international scale. Such empirical evidence can take the form of statistical and anecdotal accounts of trends and results in well researched recommendations. Recent interviews with entrepreneurs conducted by ILM provide insight into the successful running of businesses and organisations.
One such interview with Emma Price, director of the communications consultancy, Be Heard Media, sees the entrepreneur offer advice to aspiring small business owners. Emma reports to the ILM publication, Leading Edge, that she began her enterprise by being open to and taking advice from friends and acquaintances who had set up on their own. She then created a business model. Emma advises that it is important for those setting up on their own not to doubt themselves. Essential to maintaining this attitude is the practice of surrounding yourself with like-minded people, who have faced similar challenges. She emphasises the importance of networking – keep in touch with those you meet, and rekindle old connections. It is important to make a plan – financial commitments may hold you back from starting a business. The definition of a business model enables forecasting taking into account conversions and expenses.
John Davies, who is the founder and CEO of an alternative lending business, The Just Loans Group PLC, emphasises how vital cash flow is to a business. Without regular cash flow there is no business, no matter how profitable your business is. With this in mind, John laments the lack of business education in the UK and recommends that a qualification ought to be passed for those beginning start-ups. John emphasises the importance of adaptability to the success of a company. Making use of the latest technology inconspicuously results in improved levels of service for the customer. He mentions that another factor essential to the success of a company is human interaction. Similar to a point made by Emma, John emphasises the importance of surrounding yourself with a great team of individuals who are specialists in their field. According to John, a business needs people who are passionate about what they do – you need to surround yourself with like-minded people.
Emma reports that her greatest challenge is time and the apparent lack of it. She recommends taking positive steps to take time out to spend with family: ‘Taking a break is good for me, those I am working with, the business, and my friends and family’. The greatest lesson in business that Emma says she has learned from the process of setting up and running the business is that one needs to let go sometimes. It is easy to get into the habit of trying to do everything. It is important to learn how to delegate and give others control.