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Women in Focus

Innocent Inspires: How to be your own boss

by Maria Bell Published on 30 July 2013

Think Innocent just do smoothies - where have you been? Over the last 3 months Innocent smoothies have been hosting events all around the capital with a load of incredible speakers dead-set to pack your brain - not just your belly - with something oh so good. We went along to their latest talk with some of the biggest entrepreneurs in the UK right now. Here’s what we learned.

Over the last 14 years, Innocent smoothies have come a long way but have never strayed from their original aim - to provide a quality product while doing the world some good.

Part of that has been providing us with a fridge full of delicious smoothies, but over the last couple of months they’ve been hell bent on giving something back to the world - or to you personally.

This is how the Innocent Inspires events came about.

These feature some of the most exciting people around the world and discuss everything from health, ethics, and entrepreneurship (which have already taken place), to taste and creativity (still to come).

Now we know what you’re going to say -you can’t teach entrepreneurial spirit, a good business person has got to have that special something from day one.

While that might be true to an extent, what the speakers from the Innocent Inspires event showed was not to let anything like that stand in your way.

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The Speakers:

Sophie Cornish, not on the high street

Jeremy Gilley, Peace One Day

Eben Upton, Raspberry Pi

Bec Astley Carke, Astley Clarke

Martin Morales, Ceviche

From a man at the forefront of London’s most exciting food scene, to an organization striving for world peace, these people and their businesses packed a punch and despite their differences all had the same message - find what it is you want from your business, make it your mission, and go for it.

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Top 10 tips for starting your own business:

1. Have a mission
Once you know what it is that you want from your business, never put it out of your mind. Out of everything they said, these 18 words will probably be the most resonating.

Martin Morales says: “Find something that you absolutely love that fits into your DNA, that’s your passion and who you are.”

2. No never means no
Don't be afraid of the word no. If anything, these speakers say to take these as a challenge.

Astley Clarke says: “No definitely doesn’t mean no. You’ve either asked the wrong person, asked at the wrong time, or not pitched it right.”

3. Really invest in your recruitment
The people that you employ are your business - you alone cannot make a company, so make sure you get your recruitment exactly right first time.

Richard Reed says: “You want A types in your company. A types recruit A types. B types recruit C types and so on.”

4. Be Emotional
One of the most striking points that people might forget is that business isn’t always just about business. In fact, being emotionally invested in your business is what makes it a success. If you don’t care about what you’re doing, then nobody else will either.

Jeremy Giles says: “People will remember how you made them feel.”

5. It doesn’t have to be perfect
When you're starting a business it's easy to get bogged down in the detail, but it's important not to let chasing that perfect idea hold you back.

Richard Reed says: “Don’t let perfection be the envy of something good. The scale of it does not matter, starting is what matters.”

And once you do start, in order to be a success, you're going to need to be flexible with your aims.

Eben Upton says: “Pivot and be flexible, be able to change your business model around.”

6. Own your mistakes
“Business is all about learning from your mistakes,” says Sophie Cornish. There wasn’t a person on that stage that hadn’t messed up in their career, big time. The only way forward is to own your mistakes and grow.

Astley Clarke says: “If you aren’t failing then you’re not putting yourself out there and not taking enough risks.”

It might be cheesy but it sure works.

7. Have stamina
Part of owning your own business is that every mistake will come back to you. You're going to need to be able to handle that pressure and turn it into a positive.

Astley Clarke says: “Have the stamina to keep on getting in there. There are good days and there are s*** days but you need to remember that they are part and parcel.”

8. Be creative
One way to stand out and get the attention a new business needs is to be creative. All of these companies and entrepreneurs had something different as a starting point. While this isn't always necessarily a winning formula, being creative will give you an edge above your competitors.

Martin Morales says: “Always Innovate. Find something new.”

9. Test and Learn
Another biggie that all of the speakers were keen to address is that there’s no right or wrong way in business. Sophie Cornish says that what might have worked for her, won’t necessarily work for you and vice versa.

Just remember: “There is no silver bullet.”

10. Never, ever give in.
Really, this is the only rule you need to stick by - now go!

And just a heads up… In September, Innocent will be launching a fund called Jam Jar with the purpose of funding the new wave of emerging entrepreneurs, so get fine-tuning those ideas! You just never know.

Tweet us your thoughts at @sofeminineuk.

by Maria Bell

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