Are entrepreneurs born or can they be taught?
I had the great pleasure of working with Richard Branson as a DJ on his new Radio Station Virgin Radio (now Absolute Radio) where I hosted the Weekend Breakfast Show. I remember
one meeting where the managers made the unhappy announcement that there would be no bonuses that Christmas, as the station hadn’t met their advertising targets (Oh the joys of commercial radio!). Richard listened intently, we dealt with other business, and as we wrapped up, Richard calmly announced as he got up to go; ” Oh… and I think everyone will be getting their bonuses this year.” The atmosphere changed in an instant. The managers were gob-smacked! It was a small gesture for the Virgin empire, but one that made so much difference to the feeling and the morale of everyone in the station. Morale that helped the station go on to do great things. It was a business decision that perhaps didn’t add up on paper, but the kind great decision makers know instinctively is best for a business. Now is that a skill, or is it a talent? Are extraordinary individuals like Sir Richard Branson and Sir Alan Sugar born with the skills they need or were they well trained?
Brian Morgan, professor of entrepreneurship at Cardiff Metropolitan University, says that while “inherited genetic factors” play an important role in creating successful entrepreneurs, most still need to be taught other vital skills such as technical and financial expertise. An article by the BBC’s business reporter, Sarah Treanor reported that Luke Johnson, a successful restaurant entrepreneur said that a hugely important factor in his success was UK business coach and turnaround specialist Peter Ryding.
I do believe that we all have the capacity to be incredibly successful in our business and personal lives with or without our DNA profile. I believe the key ingredients that anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit needs are Passion, Purpose and Authenticity.
I grew up on a council estate in Nottingham, my parents had mundane low paid jobs and little or no aspiration. The family joke was that I could – if I worked hard get a job in the local pencil factory. What I had was a zest for life, an enthusiasm that over time grew into a passion and a purpose – first to be a singer and a communicator and in more recent years – to encourage others to reach their full potential. The saddest thing of all is if you have a desire to do something special, something that could help others, share your knowledge, your message, your ‘unique brilliance’ and you decide – because of fear of current circumstances – to merely ‘shelve it away’. How sad if you were to assume that because of your upbringing or the fate of your ancestors that you can’t ‘rise above’.
Do you have a passion for something? Do you have a purpose? Is it authentic? Do you have a message to share? Then don’t wait around, remember ‘You don’t have to get it right, you just have to get it going’. It’s amazing how once you state your intention (I highly recommend creating a vision board), people and opportunities pop up in your life.
If you aren’t quite sure which direction you should take, or which aspect of your business you should focus on first – especially for marketing and PR – then trust your intuition and ask yourself, ‘What really upsets me? What breaks my heart? What is it that I’d love to change?’ Perhaps THAT’S your purpose! I’ll end on two favourite and wonderfully conflicting quotes….
‘Be the change you want to see in the world’
‘I wanted to change the world but I couldn’t find a babysitter’