According to a recent survey, only 4% of business owners in the UK identify with the term 'entrepreneur' - and it got me wondering why that might be the case. Is it because most of the UK's business men and women are first and foremost tradespeople who feel their operation can only grow so much? Could it be that they associate the word with new products or services, whereas their line of business has been around for years? Maybe it's because they feel their work is too straightforward and repetitive to warrant such a fanciful description. Maybe they want to distance themselves from certain egotistic and deluded contestants on The Apprentice. Or perhaps they go by the maxim that 'entrepreneur' is a title that is bestowed on you, rather than one you give to yourself.
Well, whatever the reason, I am just going to throw it out there - I think British business owners might be doing themselves a disservice.
Okay, it's clear that your regular butcher, baker or scented candle maker has no intention to be the next Richard Branson or Anita Roddick - but that doesn't mean there is no room for innovation, creative thought, meticulousness or strong decision making in their working days - and perhaps it's qualities like these that constitute entrepreneurship. If someone consistently demonstrates entrepreneurship, that person is an entrepreneur, right?
So think about it.
Do you try to pull people into your shop or establishment or get them to use your service with things like signage, A-boards, window displays, advertising and special offers? Do you look for a price that gives value for money for your customers and enough profit for you? Do you make it clear that you are different to (and better than) your closest competitor? Do you weigh up the pros and cons of employing a new member of staff or investing in new equipment? Do you give customers a good reason to use you again or recommend you to their friends?
It's clear that your regular butcher, baker or scented candle maker has no intention to be the next Richard Branson, but that doesn't mean there is no room for innovation in their working days
If you're answering 'yes' to a lot of these questions, then I believe you are demonstrating entrepreneurial qualities every day you go to work.
Tell us if you can see entrepreneurial qualities in yourself in the comments at the end of this post - and let us know if, in fact, you can identify with the word 'entrepreneur'. That'snotthe same thing as saying "I'm an entrepreneur" when someone asks you what you do. (Would Branson even dothat?)
Here's another entrepreneurial question. Do you negotiate prices for raw materials with your suppliers to give you the best possible margins?
I bet there's hardly a business person in the UK who wouldn't answer 'yes' to that one.
So, what about your overheads? Should they be treated any differently? Those "fixed costs" are not quite as fixed as you might think - so allow me to suggest Make It Cheaper as another weapon in your entrepreneurial arsenal.
If you've used our service to switch your business gas or business electricity in the past, you'll know that we can help you dramatically reduce your energy bills - but there are many other ways that we can help you cut your overheads. Get in touch with us to see what we can do for your chip and pin, business insurance and business telecoms too.
A call to Make It Cheaper won't be the most glamorous way you've ever innovated - but it could be one of the most effective.
Author: Kevin Gill
Kevin is the Brand Communications Manager at Make It Cheaper, so he makes sure people know who we are, what we do and how we do it. He's from a family of small business owners (his dad runs a chippy, mum a dancing school, uncle a scaffolding company, auntie a fancy dress shop), so he's passionate about making it easier for customers to run their businesses. He spends lots of his time making our letters and emails easy to understand, nice to look at and a pleasure to read. You can email Kevin at firstname.lastname@example.org
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