Sales Bzzt! Who inspires us?
Monday, November 10th, 2008
By Sue-Ann Grant
My idols, in general, are entrepreneurs. My first was Anita Roddick. I wanted to be just like her in the 80s. She had this wonderful concept making people beautiful and helping developing communities.
The Body Shop was one of the first companies to be serious about being green. Working on behalf of numerous causes — the rain forest, debt relief for developing countries, indigenous farmers in developing nations, whales, voting rights, anti-sexism and anti-ageism, to name a few — Ms. Roddick believed that businesses could be run ethically, with what she called “moral leadership,” and still turn a profit. She opened a shop with a modest loan in 1976, her first, in Brighton. Body Shop became a huge brand with over 2,000 shops in over 50 countries. And was sold for a small fortune to L’Oreal. Not bad for a little shop selling just a handful of creams and hair-care products. This is what excites me about entrepreneurs. They have huge dreams and they are not scared to turn them into realities.
Personal qualities common in successful entrepreneurs are:
• motivation to achieve - In almost every case, successful entrepreneurs are individuals who are highly motivated to achieve.
• the habit of hard work - starting a company is hard work. In his excellent book, Winners, published by Holt, Rinehart and Wilson, Carter Henderson quotes Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari game company and Pizza Time Theater, as saying it all comes down to one critical ingredient, “Getting off your ass and doing something.” Entrepreneurs are almost always very hard workers.
• nonconformity - entrepreneurs tend to be independent souls.
• strong leadership - starting a new company can be a harrowing experience full of uncertainty and risk. Successfully bringing a small organisation through these trying periods requires a lot of leadership skills.
• street smarts - I do not know quite how to put this. Shrewd or sharp might be a better word. Call it common sense, instinct, whatever you want. Successful entrepreneurs seem to have intuitive good judgment when making complex business decisions.
Which has got me wondering how many budding entrepreneurs there are at TDS? And how do I get to know them? I mean is there anyone who dreams of owning their own beauty shop? I would love to have a manicure at lunchtime or maybe a shoulder massage in the comfort of my office. Wouldn’t that be great?
I did my own baking when I brought cakes in for my birthday. It is certainly not my forte but I love home baking and would have liked to outsource it. So are there any bakers at TDS? As long as you are not thinking of setting up your own directory services I would love to know what skills are available at TDS. And keep my spend in the family so to speak.