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    Five tips to become a successful entrepreneur

    By Michael Chmielinski, undergraduate student in banking and finance

    Michael writes a listicle on entrepreneurship inspired by his experiences as a student at Middlesex University

    Some people think that you are either born an entrepreneur or you’re not.

    I disagree, because I know that with the opportunities at Middlesex University, you can develop your skillset, polish your personality and change your mind-set to become true entrepreneur.

    If you are looking to build your own empire, you should not overestimate the power of networking. This is the biggest lesson I took from this week’s NatWest Boost event held in the University’s Grove Building, where I had a chance to talk to businesses from different industries on the subject of entrepreneurship to discover what it takes to be successful.

    Here are their tips:

    Tip #1 — Don’t be a sheep!

    Don't be a sheep

    A lot of people think they have brilliant ideas, but in fact, the idea already exists and they simply follow certain trends just like sheep do.

    Speaking to one of the NatWest representatives, David, I managed to get his insight into what he thinks of successful entrepreneurship. He told me that to be successful, you want to be the person who comes up with something so unique and original that it isn’t already there.

    You almost want to find yourself in the situation that there is no one you can talk to about your idea because no one else has done it before — that’s when you know your idea is truly innovative.

    Tip #2 — Aim high!

    Always aim high

    Whatever you do, you need to aim high to give your idea a maximum chance of succeeding.

    I can see why so many people are humble when talking about their business ideas, however. Last week, I had a chance to pitch my business idea to a panel of judges as part of the Barnet Entrepreneurial Competition. It was the first time

    I’ve pitched my business idea to anyone. I’ve always wanted to do it — I had so many business ideas but I would always chicken out, only to later find an advert of a product I thought about on a TV a year later.

    I was successful in my pitch and I managed to get through to the second stage! This is exactly what I needed — a confidence boost, and an opportunity to try to see for myself that it’s not just me who believes in my concept.

    I am grateful to my university for the opportunity created as without it I would never pitched my idea to anyone else. Their support does not end there because, as a successful candidate, I was given access to special workshops to increase my chances of succeeding.

    Tip #3— Get strategic!

    Be strategic

    Ideas are great but you won’t make a business out of it without a good strategy.

    According to Paul from WorldPay, if you think you have a great idea, focus on those three areas to take it to the next level:

    • Who are your target market?
    • Find out a route to enter that market.
    • Where does your product/service fit?

    You should also stay on top of your projects, and don’t forget about the marketing. But there’s no need to have a huge advertising campaign, as I learned that one company attending the event pin their success to word-of-mouth.

    Your strategy is key: without it, your idea will never materialise to become a successful business. It is important to research different methods and explore various avenues. Stay open-minded when working on your strategy!

    Tip #4 — Show me the money!

    Show me the money

    With the interest rate at one of the lowest levels in history, some might think that money is everywhere, yet most will agree that it’s still difficult to secure appropriate funding to start off your business.

    Explore the following:

    • Bank Loans
    • Joint ventures
    • Crowdfunding Family

    One person I spoke to emphasised the importance of family support and connections on the success of a business in its early stages.

    Tip #5 — Network, network, network!

    Networking is important to become an entrepreneur

    Finally, towards the end of my time at the NatWest event, I managed to join a conversation where people were discussing their networking experience that day. They were willing to share their thoughts with me, all agreeing and emphasising that networking is the key to success.

    Their key points surrounding reasons to network were:

    • It gives a source of inspiration for business ideas.
    • You can meet like-minded people who are likely to share passion in the field like yourself.
    • You can build meaningful relationships.
    • You can learn new skills.

    Middlesex University is the place to learn new skills

    David said that it requires a special person to be an entrepreneur — someone who is not afraid to speak up, convey ideas, present, adapt, create, evolve and be inventive. When I joined Middlesex back in 2014, I was none of those. My journey has enabled me to develop those skills.

    The most memorable experience of my time at Middlesex was when I successfully managed to secure a place on a study exchange programme in New York. That day my dream came true, as I always knew that there are only two places on this planet to study anything finance-related: London and New York, and I managed to do both with the help of Middlesex University.

    It was an exciting, challenging and fun time that helped me to shape my personality and build my skills, confidence, and determination to succeed.

    Middlesex has completely changed me as a person. I am proud of my University and the opportunities it has offered to me which I have grabbed without a minute of hesitation.

    Support for future entrepreneurs

    Find out more about how Middlesex University can support you to achieve career success — whatever your plans

    Student lifestyle posts reflect the interests of our students and does not reflect the research, guidance or opinions of Middlesex University. If you have feedback or want to suggest ideas for future student lifestyle posts, please email communications@mdx.ac.uk

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