This week SME Insider sat down with Daniel Priestley, co-founder of global entrepreneurial programme Entrevo. We discussed the differences between an entrepreneur and a small business owner, why the government should stop giving cash to startups and why he doesn’t want to leave a legacy.
Tell me more about your role at Entrevo.
Entrevo runs training programmes with entrepreneurs and business leaders in Australia, Singapore, USA and the UK. We also develop digital assets for entrepreneurial organisations.
We’re best known for the Key Person of Influence programme which helps people develop their personal brands.
We’ve worked with celebrities, entrepreneurs and leaders from global brands to make them more visible, valuable, scalable and connected. Our mission is to see a world full of entrepreneurial people solving meaningful problems.
I also write books, give talks and recruit the right people to join our global team.
You’re a renowned public speaker who has talked to thousands of entrepreneurs worldwide. How do you prepare when speaking to huge crowds?
I tune in to the daily challenges and struggles that entrepreneurs and leaders face. We live in fast moving times and people want clarity and credibility from any speaker they listen to. They want something that changes their perspective for the better and helps them make better decisions. I focus on delivering that.
In today’s business climate, millennials want to be called entrepreneurs, whereas people from an older generation tend to call themselves small business owners. Why do you think this dichotomy exists?
Millennials are not interested in ownership. They don’t want to own houses or cars like their parents did. They want to be part of something meaningful and purposeful. Entrepreneurship is a mind-set and a movement that’s taking over the planet and millennials are excited to be part of it.
What’s your favourite quote?
‘‘The role of every great entrepreneur is to make a dent in the universe.’’- Steve Jobs.
To me it means that entrepreneurs should focus on making an impact and disrupting things.
What makes you wake up in the morning?
My baby boy. He’s the source of pure joy for me … and he’s up at 6:45am every day whether I like it or not. Aside from that, I’m driven by an awareness that we are living in the most remarkable time in history and I don’t want to waste a moment of it.
Funding has always been an issue for UK small businesses. How can the government go further to help SMEs secure vital funds?
The government should now focus less on startups and more on helping seven-figure businesses become 8 figure businesses. They should continue to help de-risking lending and investing £100k – £1M, which is a gap in the market.
The government also needs to find ways to support management buyouts when it’s required for a business to grow – a lot of good businesses die when the founders or management team needs to significantly restructure.
Additionally, there should be incentives for big companies to support and nurture small business suppliers.
If you can get bigger businesses growing and using smaller suppliers, they will also create a lot of great companies in their wake.
What do you want to be remembered for?
I really don’t care about a legacy or being remembered. I want future generations focused on the future and the challenges they face rather than sitting around remembering dead people.
If you could give just one piece of advice to someone thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, what would it be?
Stop thinking about being an entrepreneur and start thinking about how you will serve others. Being an entrepreneur is about service to others. It’s about serving customers, suppliers, investors and even the world. Imagining yourself as an entrepreneur is vanity, getting on with your best contribution to the world is where your energy should go.
What’s the most exciting business idea you’ve come across recently?
I’m never excited about ideas. Ideas are only valuable if they are implemented and taken to market with excellence. Microsoft had the iPad technology for six years prior to Apple but failed to take it market. Chipotle is a pretty basic restaurant idea that is implemented with excellence at every level.
Ideas are easy, but implementation is hard – it’s the implementation that makes something valuable.
What frustrates you the most in business?
Business is inherently frustrating. You’re taking on problems, solving challenges and working with large numbers of people. As soon as you have a million pounds, your vision expands to ten million pounds and it’s easy to be never satisfied. Unless you’re genuinely happy to take the rough with the smooth, you’d be mad to even begin a business. For me though, I can’t imagine doing anything else.