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Last Updated: Friday, 11 November 2005, 00:07 GMT
Smart work, vision and motivation
Enterprise Week image
What makes a good entrepreneur? And who has the guts to go into business?

As UK Enterprise Week kicks off on Monday we asked readers of the BBC News website to tell us the traits of a good entrepreneur, and what inspires them to set up their own company.

Dozens of readers sent us their essays, competing for four tickets to the Enterprising Britain Summit '05 on Monday in London.

Here are the submissions of our four winners.

Jasdeep Singh Bhatia, 17 years old, Derby

There are many people that call themselves entrepreneurs these days, but very few actually are.

I think a real entrepreneur is someone that has the drive and motivation within themselves to realise their vision.

Jasdeep Singh Bhatia
Entrepreneurs take calculated risks after identifying real opportunities
Jasdeep Singh Bhatia
Some people who call themselves 'entrepreneurs' think that business is all about making money, but really, it's not the amount of money you have that is important, it's what you do with the money you have.

I also think real entrepreneurs do not just go and risk everything. They take calculated risks after identifying real opportunities.

It's not about being lucky either, because a golfer once said "The more I play, the luckier I get". It's the same in business, which is an art that can be perfected.

Personally, I am not driven by money itself, but instead by the positive change I bring to people's lives. In the end, money is just a tool to help in trade. The trade itself is more important.

I'm inspired by many people in my life, but mainly it's people who have actually proved that they can make a success of themselves, like Richard Branson and James Dyson. I love to see people who are out there fulfilling what they do best.

I can't wait for the time when I myself will identify a real opportunity and have the chance to turn it into the biggest success I possibly can. I'm full of ideas, but I'm just waiting to find that truly viable one which shall change the world!

Chad Millington, 30 years old, Leigh Lancs

What it takes to be an entrepreneur? Smart work, total and unshakable belief in yourself and the ability to become your customer.

Chad Millington
Failures are not something to be ashamed of, every entrepreneur has failures during their career
Chad Millington
Even if you have few qualifications, little work experience or have only 1 in your pocket, understand these 3 essential qualities and you cannot help but be successful!

Millions of people work hard everyday across Britain but never become rich. Hard work does not make you rich! Instead you must work smart and place a great deal of value on time management.

Secondly, people will knock you and you will make mistakes. Listen to people but decipher between good advice and nonsense, make mistakes but learn from them, don't bury them. Failures are not something to be ashamed of, every entrepreneur has failures during their career.

Thirdly, you absolutely must become your customer. View your business and its products as a completely neutral outsider. Look at your competitors' offering and compare theirs with yours - honestly!

Communicate to your customer in the language they always understand - plain English, honesty, integrity and reliability. You do not sell to a customer, you help them make purchases. If you understand the message in the previous sentence, then I welcome you on your journey towards being an entrepreneur.

Do I talk the talk or walk the walk?

Well I am an entrepreneur who set-up a business (taptrade.co.uk) and turned 250 into 1/3 of a million of profit in just 900 days. Based on the same success rate, I will turn my 1/3 million into 4.5 million in the next 900 days.

What do I do? I work smart, have total and unshakeable belief and spend most of my days being a customer of my own business.

Paul Frossell, 24 years old, Bedford

An entrepreneur is full of ideas for providing products or services to different markets he observes in his day-to-day life.

When an idea is a good idea, it sticks in his mind, prompting some rational analysis and a few phone calls to check it's feasible.

Paul Frossell
When success or failure of a business depends on me, I'm determined to make it a success
Paul Frossell
If no obstacle can be seen to significant profit through his business plan, he takes action. He takes measured risks to pursue his goal with tenacity and drive and puts every minute of the working day towards meeting his goal.

He persuades others of his vision and employs the skills of others when needed.

What drives me? When I have ownership of a project, it arouses a sense of pride.

When I know - and my friends, family and customers know - that the success or failure of a business depends principally on me, I'm determined to make it a success to prove myself.

Running my own business (Ralper) is enormously stimulating and challenging and exciting!

There is no ceiling on my potential success - the better I perform, the more money I earn for myself and my family.

I've got the balls and the initiative to start-up. I will succeed.

But I'll get there a little quicker if you send me to the Enterprising Britain Summit.

Tushar Shah, 29 years old, Charvil, Berks

In today's world of analysis we always look for reasons why people are successful, whether it's as an entrepreneur, corporate leader, sports person etc.

Tushar Shah
Inner drive, belief, passion, hard work and sheer determination to succeed make a good entrepreneur
Tushar Shah
The fact of the matter is that regardless of the career path people take, their own success and future is defined by having the skills to see and exploit the opportunities in front of them, whilst the rest of the world see it as risky or crazy.

Regardless of whether you are in the UK, India or Timbuktu, it is your inner drive, belief, passion, hard work and sheer determination to succeed that makes a good entrepreneur.

That said, corporate skills such as business acumen, commercial awareness and the ability to articulate a vision and strategy are also required. The difference however is that in the business world you are paid to develop these skills, as an entrepreneur you employ or develop these skills to pay yourself.

Phillip Green is someone who clearly demonstrates these virtues; who would have touched BHS five years ago? He had the vision and ability to turn things around and create value that other people ignored or could not see. Richard Branson, The Innocent team, Anita Roddick, my Dad are all examples of inspirational modern day entrepreneurs.

It is this reason, why I am leaving a successful corporate career at Mars Inc to pursue my ambition of creating my own business: The Medical Tourist Company. A risky and crazy concept one year ago, a live and growing business today.



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