The basic definition of an entrepreneur is someone who identifies a need and then starts a business to fill the void.
You could say that is what I did, but then what is it about an entrepreneur that makes the business a success, because nobody wants to know about serial start-ups which are not successful.
For me it was and is about believing that I could provide services and products, initially to the North Sea oil and gas sector, which were better than were being provided by anyone else.
That belief determined the values which we set from the beginning and which we still operate by today.
Firstly, we believe in the Entier family. No matter what the entrepreneurial dream is, you need good people to make that dream a reality, therefore people must be at the heart of the business.
What we do with and for our people has seen the business win many prestigious awards, but more importantly we have the best staff retention record in our sector and beyond.
A stable, competent (happy) workforce means we can deliver the vision we believed in from the start.
The second value for me had to be quality. My vision was that Entier would deliver an exceptional food standard to our clients no matter what.
The risks you take to start up are exacerbated by those you never dreamed of. For us, it was the biggest global financial downturn in decades within a week of the start-up – but we never lost focus.
The timing of that situation was beyond our control, but success depends on timing which you can control.
We have never compromised on quality and food standards. This has been consistent because we apply another value rigorously – community.
We source local, sustainable, quality produce and invest in the communities in which we operate.
This gives our products integrity, not always easy in the early days or at a time of downturn, but being true to your vision and ambition makes the values clear – it’s the Entier way.
When the business you set up depends on service it isn’t easy to set your standards and maintain them come what may. Service is our fourth value. It means we deliver bespoke services to our clients, and review and improve standards continuously.
There is no merit in setting up a business with all the drive and enthusiasm your ambition demands, and then resting on your laurels.
Entrepreneurship is not just about launching and resourcing a new business. It is coming to work every day as if it is the first, and being as excited years into the business as you were on day one. The only difference is that you bring more experience to the day and have learned from mistakes.
Entrepreneurs don’t get everything right, but their success comes from learning what works and what doesn’t.
That is part of the positive approach to risk-taking. Entrepreneurs are persistent, rarely taking no for an answer.
This is not to say that they are intransigent. You can’t be successful if you are not a good listener – I think this is a key attribute for a successful entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs embrace change and are constantly looking for new ways to improve and grow the business, creating value for the clients.
Finally, an entrepreneur has to be inspiring. That doesn’t mean that you have to have a new idea every day, but it does mean that when dealing with your clients and staff alike they trust you, will stick with you and feel the same pride in the business that you do.
It also means everyone has the same vision and ambition as you did when you started the business.
I do believe that entrepreneurs can create entrepreneurs working for them. They may not own the business but they work for it as if they do.