A quick screenshot from last night, when I was invited to sit on a panel talking about female entrepreneurship for European Commission Startup Europe Week 2016.
One of the great messages came from my fellow panelist Yasmina Siadatan, who won the Apprentice but also happens to be (randomly) one of my brother’s friends sisters! She talked about women and aspiration and how men have up in the sky thinking whereas women tend to think small.
She told a wonderful story about a woman who baked wheat free bread and took some along to a party, and a guy there said this is wonderful, you should go into business. So the woman looked at renting a shop on the high street and opening a local bakery, whereas he turned out to be a venture capitalist investor and had meant supplying the entire UK with her bread. That’s the story of Genius Gluten Free Foods, a business with a £40million turnover today.
Another great lesson too from Marta Krupinska, who said if only all women had the same confidence as a mediocre man!
My concluding message to the room was that as humans, and possibly more so as women, it’s very easy to think of the reasons why something won’t work. It must be some sort of legacy from our cave dwelling stone age days, but our brains switch into protective mode and our minds are filled with thoughts of I can’t do it, I’m too old, I’m too young, I haven’t got enough money, I need to earn my salary, I’ve got kids, I haven’t got kids. All this is basically a game of excuse bingo.
My position is to do the minimum possible (in terms of official set up) to get as fast as possible to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd sales, and once you have sales, you can then organise everything else that you need. If you want to start a business, then there is only one thing to do, to stop making excuses and get out there and get sales, and then your business has started and the excuses melt away.