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The most important skill for a successful entrepreneur

By News Express on 16/10/2017

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One out of every 10 babies in the world is born premature. One million die each year: many due to lack of warmth. And, someone wanted to change all that, saying: “No baby should die from being cold.”

This core value was the centre of her team’s project and design for extreme affordabilityThis entrepreneur and her team designed an inexpensive incubator that offered a low-cost way to keep premature babies warm. Their inspiration came from the concept of a tiny sleeping bag that heat up to regulate a baby’s body temperature. This concept termed Embrace Innovations, born out of social innovation, has saved more than 200,000 premature babies, and hopes to increase that number to 1 million.

From the start, they faced challenges. First, the team’s truck got a flat tire on the way to a small Indian village where they planned to share their product. Next, Embrace Innovations nearly lost its funding. And working with foreign governments proved difficult. But they took a “never give-up” attitude that has helped the company prosper.

They talked about persistence, the power of serendipity, and why they choose to see the beauty in the world, at a discourse and the following are the key points.

We are defined by values, not successes

This entrepreneur believed in a cause greater than herself - that no baby should die from being cold. When challenges of design, distribution, and finances faced Embrace Innovations, she made it a point to continually return to this foundational value. “Being really rooted in your purpose will get you through your toughest moments,” she says. Connect to the why of what you are doing, she adds, and it will give you the tenacity to keep going.

Step back and reevaluate

When things get tough, change your perspective and realign with your goals, she advises. As Embrace Innovations grew, this entrepreneur was spending much of her time writing government contracts. The long procedures often left her feeling mired in bureaucracy. But she noticed that by going into the retail market, Embrace Innovations could still support its primary humanitarian efforts.

You will inevitably fail, and you need to have the courage and the persistence to get back out there, learn from your mistakes, and try again.

“We thought, ‘What if we could leverage our technology and create a product for the market?’” she says. The team drew inspiration from other one-to-one giving models, in which companies match each purchased item with a free or donated one for someone in need (e.g. think Tom’s shoes or Warby Parker glasses). Embrace Innovations used its design and thermal wax technology to create Little Lotus: temperature-adjusting blankets and swaddles to sell domestically. With each sale of Little Lotus in the US, the company was able to send an Embrace warmer to a premature baby in need abroad.

It's courage to continue that counts

Recently, this entrepreneur took up surfing, a sport where, she says, she spends more time falling off her board than staying on. “It’s so humbling,” she adds. Having the courage to “get back out there,” whether it’s for the next ocean wave or the next wave of enterprise, is the sign of a strong entrepreneur. “You will inevitably fail, and you need to have the courage and the persistence to get back out there, learn from your mistakes, and try again.”

Believe in something fully

She takes this idea from her belief that when you follow your dreams, you are helped in unexpected ways. For example, just after learning Embrace Innovations had no more than one week of funding, she called on Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff, someone she had coincidentally met at a meditation session nine months earlier. This chance connection lead to Benioff funding Embrace Innovations.

Choose how you see the world

Social entrepreneurs are often exposed to extreme poverty, violence, and disease. After living in India for a few years, this entrepreneur could see herself becoming really jaded and pessimistic. But choosing to see the beautiful things – a doctor’s commitments to his patients, a parent’s love for a child – kept her going. “I encourage you to see the world through a lens of beauty, because that will give you the optimism to keep changing the world.” she adds.

The journey to entrepreneurship is a roller-coaster ride, persistence and tenacity of purpose is what will see anyone through in it, no matter the nature and form of the venture and the location. Learning from the experience of the above entrepreneur in her concept development strategy and value application, process management method, operations, etcetera, will result in the same experience of success, no matter what kind of venture you are dealing with and the location. So, my admonition is remain true to the original purpose and be guided by values not success, maintain consistency and persist, no matter what the outcome and experience is, and the authenticity of your dreams will attract help and support to you, invariably ushering success to you. Principles accurately applied will produce the same result – no matter the location and the people behind it – because of the universality of application as its strength and quality. The same is applicable in business management and entrepreneurship.

You can contact me for business advisory services and training – send me a message via WhatsApp or SMS.

•Lawrence Nwaodu is a small business expert and enterprise consultant, trained in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, with an MBA in Entrepreneurship from The Management School, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, and MSc in Finance and Financial Management Services from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Netherlands. Mr. Nwaodu is the Lead Consultant at IDEAS Exchange Consulting, Lagos. He can be reached via nwaodu.lawrence@hotmail.co.uk (07066375847).

Source News Express

Posted 16/10/2017 8:02:40 PM

 

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