If you take away anything: “As an entrepreneur, don’t underestimate the importance of space. If you create a space where you can communicate ideas, and listen to others’ advice, business will flourish.”
In the second episode of OxTalks season two, we sat down with Fiona Reid to explore her top tips for starting a business and what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur.
Fiona, Associate Professor of Bioscience Entrepreneurship at University College London, has fifteen years of experience in teaching, with her expertise focusing on complex innovation spaces. Before joining UCL, Fiona was the founder and Former Executive Director of the Oxford Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Säid Business School, Oxford University, for nine years. Now, Fiona uses her expertise to build and support science-based start-ups from the ground up in her role at UCL
In this episode, host Howard Bentham explores Fiona’s views on entrepreneurship, from the notion that entrepreneurship can be taught, to what makes a successful entrepreneur, and she shares success stories that you can use to inspire your entrepreneurship journey.
WATCH: OxTalks series two, episode two: 'How to Start a New Business: Feasible vs. Fantasy'.
Read on to find out our top key takeaways from the session, that can support you in your business venture:
You may be questioning your worth in the entrepreneurial space, self-selecting yourself out of being an entrepreneur as you feel you don’t fit the typical stereotype. It's important to remember that most entrepreneurs don’t fit the stereotypical mould, so don’t let this deter you. Your skills are far more important than your external looks – you should be a strategic risk taker, adopt a growth mindset, and have a vision that goes beyond where you currently are. Sound like you? Break the external stereotypes and go for it.
Planning and flexibility will be your best friend
As an entrepreneur, the current climate presents a whole host of challenges. In challenging times, having a robust planning process is even more important. By mapping out vigorous plans, considering the ‘boring’ details, and adopting a ‘hard hat of realism’, you can pre-empt and deal with business challenges in a more effective way, potentially reducing the negative impact on your venture later down the line. You also need to be able to flex your plan wherever possible, to adapt to the changing environment – don't become rigid.
Part of being a good entrepreneur is having the ability to latch onto a fantasy and the potential it holds and turning it into a reality. Don't be afraid to have your ‘dreamer’ hat on – as long as you are also considering the planning stages, and the finer details, you’ll find you have to adapt to a range of issues along the way. By keeping your vision top of mind, it will keep you motivated even when times are tough.
Curious to hear more of Fiona’s wisdom? Listen to the full episode wherever you access your usual podcasts.
If you’re thinking about starting your own business, but aren’t sure where to begin, visit OxLEP’s Business Support Tool.