Always follow your heart


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The Independent Online

Today, more and more young people in Britain are choosing to pursue a career as an entrepreneur rather than take the conventional route of finding a job in an established company.

Given the dearth of roles for young people, this is to be encouraged – it’s crucial that more young people are motivated to make it happen and follow their entrepreneurial dreams.

I took my own advice and started my natural skin care business, Emi & Ben, in 2009 and I’ve never looked back.

My dream was always to develop a natural skin care range and since founding Emi & Ben I have been wholly responsible for all aspects of the business. The list of important tasks grows on a daily basis and in the early days it seemed there were simply not enough hours in the day to complete the necessary actions.

As an entrepreneur, it has become clear to me that in order to be successful in business I needed to be flexible and learn how to duck and weave with my day-to-day work. Another rule of thumb I work by is to focus on tasks that follow the money rather than following strict processes. As someone who considers themselves to be quite organised, not following a strict process is at times extremely hard.

As businesses grow, the natural course is for the workforce to expand. Business owners need to build a passionate team around them who will excel in the areas of responsibility handed to them.

However, time and again entrepreneurs struggle with delegating to staff and relinquishing responsibility for fear of the tasks not being completed properly. Having faith and confidence in my team is to me as important as having faith and confidence in myself and my business. A strong, reliable and passionate team turns a mediocre company into a winning brand.

Sometimes overlooked, branding is a pivotal part of any business, which is directly linked to reputation. A reputable brand can become the life-blood of a business, which is why entrepreneurs often invest heavily in their company’s image. They should aim to stand out from the crowd by asserting their voice in a positive way.

They should become infectious so people can’t help but say good things about them and their business. There’s no better way to publicise a product or service than through recommendations and word of mouth.

Entrepreneurship is an exhilarating career choice and one I would strongly recommend to young people. Enterprise is a hot topic in the current climate and it’s important that it is promoted as a plausible route to today’s youth at an early stage. It can be a scary path for young people starting out and that’s why it’s important that help and advice is accessible to all.

Government and pioneers within the UK business community need to create opportunities to ensure that start-up businesses have the best chance of success. Without this a lot of untapped talent will be wasted, with future business leaders missing their piece of the action. I have been lucky enough to have been involved in the Virgin Media Pioneers Control Shift campaign, which is tapping into the views of young entrepreneurs to create a powerful call to action for Government and business. Let’s see if they listen!

To all those budding entrepreneurs, I would say, be confident and courageous. Take that seed of an idea and turn it into a business. Because there is nothing worse than not giving it a go and there is nothing more satisfying than being the master of your own destiny.

Ronke Ige is a Virgin Media Pioneer, and founder of Emi & Ben. For more information, videos and advice for SMEs, visit