As a consumer, competition is usually great – it spurs innovation and leads to more efficient pricing. In this post, however, I am going to focus on competition in life, and why it can actually be sub-optimal.
Working in (or running) an early-stage startup can be one of the most volatile experiences of your life. The mixture of monumental highs
assuming that you’re somewhere on the right path combined with depressing lows is quite unique in a career/lifestyle. There will be times where you question your self-belief and wonder why you are doing what you are doing. Your resilience is an important factor in helping you bounce back, so it is good to have an understanding of what helps keep you strong.
Over the course of the last year or so, I have met with, spoken to or been to talks featuring many different CEOs and start-up founders. I like to ask them about some of the biggest mistakes that they’ve made (in the futile hope that I can learn from them) or what advice they would give to an aspiring/early-stage entrepreneur. What is interesting is that the answer they all give is almost always the same.
In The NEF Application Process – Part I, I covered Part I of the NEF application process. This involved an online application, video interview, numerical & verbal testing, an assessment centre and a panel interview. I also outlined some general advice I had for these sorts of situations, as well as some things that I thought might have helped me as I progressed.
After a few months of skill building to transition into a more entrepreneurial career, I decided to apply to the New Entrepreneurs Foundation programme. In this post, I’ll run through Part I of the application process (you don’t get onto NEF unless you pass Part I and Part II but, if you’re good enough to pass Part I, you should be OK with Part II – Matchmaking with Host Companies). I’ll also provide some tips about what worked for me (and why) which is largely applicable to job applications. It was quite a pleasant process overall and helped me realise a few things along the way.
There are a whole load of reasons why people might want to start a start-up. It is important to know what reason yours is, because some of these reasons only make sense in certain contexts, and some of them will actually lead you astray.
When people think of great founders, they think of people like Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk or Steve Jobs – people who have this unwavering drive and vision; who can captivate people and lead them on a journey. However, what made these guys truly successful was the support network they built around themselves – their founding team. The reality is that it is almost impossible for one person to have all the characteristics of a great founder. What is possible, however, is having all of these great characteristics shared between yourself and your co-founders.
Since entering the entrepreneurship ecosystem in London, I have been fortunate enough to meet some incredible founders and hear inspiring stories. What you quickly realise, however, is that every business has a different story and that there is no “one formula for success”. Furthermore, a lot of the reasons why some of these businesses became successful were actually out of the hands of the founders.