Past and present Catalyst winners’ top tips to become a successful entrepreneur

If you’re a fledgling science or technology entrepreneur, starting your own company will be one of the most daunting things you’ll ever do. If you are ambitious and confident, that’s great, but are these the only attributes that you’ll need to become a successful entrepreneur? What else is needed to create the ultimate start-up?

The internet is awash with blogs detailing top tips for entrepreneurs.The vast majority highlight individual attributes such as dogged determination, tenacity and a never-say-die attitude or skills such as networking, speaking the right language or the ability to pivot. Instead we have asked our past and present Catalyst winners for their two top tips which provide us with something slightly different.

Mike Santer, founder of Blupoint is our first contributor. Blupoint is a solar powered pop-up intranet with an updatable content server which can be used to support Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth and FM radio, providing all mobile phones with meaningful content from the network of servers. His tips are:

Surround yourself with the right people

Team up with brilliant people that share your passion for the business. An entrepreneur becomes a product of the people they surround themselves with, a reflection of the people who you keep in your lives and interact with on a daily basis. Surrounding yourself with other individuals who are on the same path, or who have been on a similar journey, allows you to learn more about yourself. For your business to be as successful as it can be, make sure you network with established entrepreneurs who share the same ambitions or who have achieved similar aspirations. Take inspiration from the innovators, thinkers and listeners of the world; those who want to change the world and leave their own footprint, no matter how small.

Embrace challenges

Embrace challenges and reframe them as opportunities for breakthrough. Be resilient and adaptable. Individuals who have dealt with adversity in both their personal and professional life are more willing to allow problems to be dealt with in the most appropriate way. Rewards are given to those who are willing to take the largest leaps whether it be money, pride or mental clarity; such leaps usually come from challenges.

Mario Troullis, founder of TrouDigital is up next. TrouDigital is a powerful, affordable and simple-to-use digital signage system which cleverly combines ultra-low power micro PCs with innovative cloud-based software. Below are his two tips.

Resourcefulness

When your business is in the embryonic stage resources will be limited so using your network to build up a strong brand or to help with sales and marketing is vital. At TrouDigital a professional looking video was required to outline how easy the digital signage product was to install. Hiring a student from a local university who was happy to do the video for a very affordable price whilst building their CV meant it cost significantly less than hiring someone more established, but still gave us the desired result.

Perseverance

While creating a new business it is likely to be just you, or a small team. To establish a market presence customers are needed to help build up your reputation and reference-ability in the industry. These customers may need a lot of support and guidance to help get them familiar with your product or service. Keep in mind that having a solid base of customers will put you in a good position to acquire new prospects in the future.

Simon Wickes, founder of Cynaptic is our final contributor. Cynaptic uses gaming technology to create a new product for stroke sufferers. Below are his top two tips for being a successful entrepreneur.

Authenticity

Entrepreneurs need to be equipped with a strong sense of authenticity as it separates the ‘maybes’ from the ‘definitely ares’. Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur; it requires resilience and broad skill sets that do not suit everyone. During the start-up and maturation stage, strategy will dictate the need to make key decisions about direction, culture and values. Authenticity sets the precedent for these as it provides guiding principles for informed decision-making. For the individual leading the business, it enables you to lead by example as your instincts match the company’s philosophy, providing a coherent approach that is embedded throughout the organisation. Ultimately it means as a prospective entrepreneur you follow your heart and your passion, not allowing yourself to be knocked off track.

Growth Mindset

Critical to every entrepreneur is the attribute of a growth mindset. It provides the basis from which to understand that you are not immediately flushed with all the skills that an entrepreneur requires but that these are not blockers to success. Instead, they are just skills to be acquired that benefit you and your company. In contrast, those with a fixed mindset will not spend time out of their comfort zone, which means that the full potential of an entrepreneurial venture will never be achieved. A growth mindset enables the potential and opportunity of every situation, good or bad, to be recognised and realised. This encourages resilience as potential setbacks are viewed as learning opportunities and chances to do things differently such as developing pivot strategies. Equipped with a growth mindset, all things are possible with dedication and hard work.