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Successful entrepreneurs – what’s their secret? We’d love you to help us find out.

Date: Jan 18 2019
Successful entrepreneurs – what’s their secret? We’d love you to help us find out.

We’re launching a new study with Brunel Business School that aims to reveal what makes a good entrepreneur, and we’d love your input.


So what makes a good entrepreneur?

Frankly, if you’re in any way associated with this area of business you are probably bored stiff – particularly at this time of year – with reading the top ten list of what it takes to make a great entrepreneur.

Now, don’t get me wrong … there is invariably some good stuff in there and when you read across a number of the articles – which I have done – there are some pretty clear themes which emerge … the usual stuff … passion, strong work ethic, being open minded, not being scared of competition, creativity, confidence. I think, by now, we all get it.

So, why, having said that, is it still so important? Well quite simply because so many people aspire to be one.

According to Entrepreneur about 41% of Gen Z-ers – the demographic cohort after the Millennials, who have used the internet from a young age and are completely comfortable with technology and social media – plan to become entrepreneurs. And almost half believe they’ll invent something that changes the world.

Gen Z is more concerned with working for themselves and that’s entirely in keeping with global entrepreneurship trends – 74% of entrepreneurs around the world have started a business in pursuit of an opportunity rather than out of necessity.

And, according to the Centre for Entrepreneurs, despite the economic uncertainty over Brexit, UK entrepreneurs are creating more companies than ever with new figures showing a rise in start-ups last year (2018) following a decline in 2017.

The science behind what makes a successful entrepreneur 

At the British Design Fund, over the past 18 months, we’ve met with hundreds of teams, across a broad range of sectors, who want help with their businesses.

In our experience, one of the most significant underpinning characteristics that makes the difference between someone with an idea, and a successful entrepreneur, is whether they have identified a real need for the product idea they are presenting to us … and that need has, more often than not, come from their own, real life experience.

They are addressing a real problem that is crying out for a solution rather than simply creating a slightly new, or different, way of doing something.

BUT … rather than simply adding to the thousands of column inches of speculation, we’re putting our money where our mouth is.

We’ve teamed up with Professor Catherine Wang, at Brunel Business School to bring a bit of rigour to the question. Professor Wang heads up Entreprenuership and strategy at the University, and Brunel has also secured funding for it. So it’s a big deal, with all parties intent on delivering robust, pragmatic insight.

Professor Wang, like us, is determined to bring a quantitative focus and understanding to what, to date, has been speculation and intuition. Not that there’s anything wrong with both of these things, but with almost half of our future generation wanting to set up on their own, we feel we owe it both to them to help understand what is really required.

This is also about helping those of us who are looking to make sure investment money goes to those who are going to be the winners.

So here’s the ask:

We are in the process of finalising objectives and putting together the details of the survey. We have a bit of a window to make sure we are covering all of the ground that we need to.

If you have any insights you’d be willing to share, or some burning questions, hypotheses or other relevant experience, then please let us know. We will do our best to incorporate as many of these into the study as we can.

Our intention is to be as open about this research as possible, to share both progress as well as results and conclusions.

And it’s not going to be a one-off … we intend to keep this running so we can track trends over time.

So, please pass this on to your contacts, and get back to us with your thoughts. You can email them to john@britishdesignfund.co.uk

‘Entrepreneurs are the people who will do the stuff that most people won’t – so they can spend the remainder of their lives doing what most people can’t.’