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Ten tips to become an entrepreneur

Michael Kent

Get a business partner

“Building a business is often a mix of exhilaration, terror and ridiculous amounts of work. All are better with someone along for the ride.”

“Just do it”

“This is something we often say in the Azimo office, although perhaps with more risqué language, and it’s an important phrase. Get going on your venture as soon as you can – there will never be a perfect time to launch a business and the risks are less when you’re younger. Start-ups, mortgage payments, families and school fees are a tricky mix!”

Do as much as you can before you quit your day job

“If possible, try and do as much as you can on your venture before you quit your day job. It’s far easier to take risks and be disruptive when you have minimal costs to cover as a boss is paying your bills.”

Find a mentor

“It’s incredibly helpful to find a couple of early mentors. Experience entrepreneurs love to give advice, and write handy top ten lists, and some of these mentors will end up helping more than you ever imagined with ideas, connections and capital.”

Ignore other people’s advice

“While a mentor is important, no one will understand your business context as well as you do, so listen to the advice but don’t always follow it.”

Don’t go and see the venture capitalists too early

“The UK Venture Capitalist scene is a tiny group of people and you only get one chance to make a good impression. Perfect your pitch on the people who matter less (friends, family and angel investors) and only hit the professional investors when you’re super polished and can tackle the tricky questions.”

Embellish the truth

“It’s a fine line but in order to get up and running fast you’ll need to be able to sell your business and ideas from the off. Its fine to sounds more advanced than you think you are, but ensure it sounds credible.”

Discuss with friends and family

“Discuss what you’re doing with your life partner or family and keep talking about it. You’ll be stressed enough without a stressed relationship. Remember that if you’d taken that corporate job instead of following your entrepreneurial dream you’d be working just as hard but to someone else’s timetable.”

Build diversity into your team

“If you can get past the extra time it will take to get to work together well and the conflicts that may come your way, it will be much more innovative and successful environment than a bunch of British white blokes.”

 Create an innovative work environment

“Don’t be scared to run a business in a different way to how you think a ‘traditional’ business should look like. Creating a more enjoyable workplace for your staff will allow them to be more creative and innovative. Every member of staff at Azimo is given a free day every quarter to allow them to get involved with work in the community. Through this, Azimo’s employees work with local and national projects and many take part in a wide range of fundraising activities.”

Entrepreneur Michael Kent founded Azimo in July 2012 and has been on a mission to transform the way we send and receive money around the world. Kent leads the UK-based team and is passionately committed to ethical trading and excellent customer service. He was awarded the NatWest Special Merit in International Social Enterprise at the Entrepreneur of the Year award last week

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