Looking ahead to The Brighton Summit 2016.
When I was a happy wage slave at the BBC, I used to think that everyone else on the outside – in the commercial world – was just in it for the money. Headlines about corporate fat cats didn’t help.
But when I set up my own business, I soon realised that this stereotype was rubbish. It didn’t apply to the SMEs I met.
I’m not alone. Sarah Springford, the Director of the Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce meets lots of businesses at different stages of their life cycle: people who have given up good jobs to start out on their own or people who have been running businesses for years and are reinventing what they are doing or starting again with something new. She sees at first-hand what motivates them:
Money is obviously one of the most important things and we have got to get it right, but I don’t think it comes first actually. Perhaps there are people who have set up their businesses because they want to make lots of money and retire early, but I have yet to meet anybody like that.
I think that all businesses, if they are going to get off the ground, have got a desire to do something for themselves.
It could be that they want to do things differently. Or it could be that they are passionate about their product. Or it could be that they want to be creative and excited by their work or be their own boss. Sometimes it might be setting up a business that does things differently from the one where they have worked before and we see lots of examples of that at the Chamber.
What motivates you?
Sarah is right. Over the last three years I have interviewed a succession of business leaders for the Chamber.
Without exception, they have all been driven by something other than money. Yes, money is vital, but if they are like Andy Parsons at Yelo they set up their practice to make their sector – architecture – more approachable:
I think architecture can be quite standoffish and elitist. I think it’s actually a really wonderful discipline. It should be more open because if you’re trying to design or build something for someone, you need to really engage with them and explain it to them, so that they understand it.
Or Mike Herd, who enjoyed a long stint in oil exploration and development, travelling to desolate parts of Siberia, Mongolia and Azerbaijan to help scientists to capitalise on their knowledge. Then, as Director of the Sussex Innovation Centre, he supported entrepreneurs to turn their bright ideas into real and lasting profit.
Why motivation matters.
Working out exactly what drives you is important – for you, your teams and your potential clients. If you are clear about your motivation, and can tell the story of why you do what you do, people will be drawn to you. You might not even realise it, but your enthusiasm will be infectious. Sarah:
What I find really interesting, is sitting down with people, often face-to-face, one-to-one, and really listening to them talking about how they are trying things out and doing things differently. That’s where you pick up on people’s drive and motivation.
Of course, you can’t ignore the bottom line. All businesses have to work out whether people will pay good money for the idea that drives them. And that’s another reason why it’s useful to be clear about what motivates you. If you’re sure about what you offer, and why you are different from all the rest, it’s much easier to market yourself and your teams.
That’s why motivation is one of the themes of this year’s Brighton Summit – Your desires, dreams and real business.
Put Friday 14th October 2016 in your diary.
It’s the highlight of the Chamber’s year. A day of inspirational speakers, expert workshops and panel discussions. This year you’ll come away with ideas and practical tips (like The science of goalsetting) , to make sure that your business dream will lead to real money.
And if you’re not sure what drives you or what you really want to do with your business, there will be sessions for you too – like Create a vision, create success.
180 businesses have booked already, so don’t get left behind!
Images by Vervate www.vervate.com.