I attended Entrepreneur Country’s forum recently and was so impressed that I decided to write a post on some of the lessons learned.  Held in the auspicious surroundings of the Royal Institute of Great Britain where the 1st Industrial Revolution began, I heard a lot about how entrepreneurship will reboot the UK plc.  Through the day I listened to about 20 entrepreneurs talking about what made them the way they are and built up a collage of the necessary qualities, what I’m calling the anatomy of an entrepreneur.  Here’s some of the qualities.

Like a Virgin

Several speakers gave witness to the importance of maintaining naivety if you are to succeed as an entrepreneur.  Madonna’s contribution to this area is via her blockbuster hit “Like A Virgin”, which translates to the need to treat each new business situation like it’s the very first time.  In particular Sir Will Sargent of Framestore painted a picture of the importance of intuition, creativity and the ability to remain adaptive and flexible as your company grows.

"If I stand still for 12 months, I will be out of business 12 months later"


The trouble with experience is that it can quickly ossify into a set of standard operating practices.  To succeed in today’s business environment, it’s important to be nimble as well as quick, qualities I explore in greater depth in “The Music of Business”.

Be yourself tonight

What impressed me most of all about the speakers at the event was a real and unusual sense of authenticity.  Truths were told about successes.  Much more importantly, we gained an insight into mistakes and outright failures.  It’s much more important for an entrepreneur to learn from their mistakes than their successes and many speakers were candid about their regrets.  We learned the perils of not owing up to mistakes via Peter Whent’s wonderful story of “United Breaks Guitars”.  The youtube video tells its own story and is testament to how people power can make or break a company’s fortunes.  In this case United Airlines ignored their customers to their ultimate peril as their share price plummeted when this video was released:



Stephen Linnecar, CEO of Creative Kingdom Connex,  suggested that we gotta have FAITH – Not an allusion to George Michael, but the summary of his presentation which focused on five factors which he regarded as key to success as an entrepreneur: Future Focus, Attitude, Improvisation, Timing and getting Help.  Improvisation featured strongly throughout the day, a point that resonated personally with me, having taught creativity, improvisation and innovation for the Open University MBA for 18 years.  Let’s hear George Michael’s take on these HR qualities:


Hung up

Just like Madonna’s fitness video, a lot of the discussion was centred around what entrepreneurs do to avoid burnout.  Ed Bussey of iTrigga was a prime example, having come to the conference after an all night vigil at hospital on the occasion of his wife giving birth!   He did however point out the importance of pressing the OFF button from time to time to avoid the possibility of crash and burn entrepreneurship.  Others talked of rituals and routines such as working out in the gym, taking forced holidays, running the London Marathon, going to the North Pole (that’s hardly chilling out!) and so on.  Seemingly obvious advice, yet not always taken by busy entrepreneurs.

I have one free voucher available for my Online Learning Programme, “The Music of Business” – MBA level learning for entrepreneurs blended with ideas from the world of music.