Local Businesses in Plymouth attended a Special Masterclass with CEO Bev Hurley on the 13th April 2012.
Our inspiring serial entrepreneur says the secret to success is down to balancing three things
Bev Hurley, a holder of the Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion, and one of the UK's few experts on growing sustainable and successful women-owned businesses, visited the city to give Plymouth's entrepreneurs a master-class. As the Chief Executive of YTKO, a private sector practitioner consultancy headquartered in Cambridge, she delivered the workshop to around 20 people.
They had all started up new businesses with the free help, support and advice of YTKO scheme Outset, some in the past two weeks while others celebrated reaching the two-year milestone.
"Success is a three-legged stool. The legs are people, money and customers. If you get them right you can sit on the stool," said the businesswoman who started her first company at the age of 25.
"If any of the elements are wrong, you don't invest enough money, you have a bad person in the team or not enough customers, it won't work.
"Success comes from having a commercial engine at the front driving the business. That person needs good people around them. Then once you're up and running you need to continue to be innovative you need to know what your customers want and anticipate what they'll need in the future."
Over 30 years Bev has set up three successful companies, a property renovation company, a consultancy and mediator service and an industrial design firm. She then joined YTKO, which under her leadership, trebled its turnover, opening new offices in Plymouth and across the country.
"You need tenacity, determination and to be comfortable with taking risks to take decisions. You need to be clear about where you're going and then you can logically work out and plan how to achieve your goals."
She added: "You need integrity and personal values that are shared by your team."
She said she was driven by the feeling of creating new products or concepts, finishing projects and employing others.
"Seeing transformations in people's lives through Outset and knowing you played a small part in that is quite special."
Outset was set up in 2000 with the aim of supporting 6,500 new businesses nationally, to produce a combined turnover of one billion pounds in the British economy, over 20 years, she said.
She added: "If we achieve even half of that aim that would be a great legacy."
Her master-class saw budding entrepreneurs carrying out exercises such as sharing problems, many of which proved to be common, and recognising how to solve them.
Attending was Linda Hobbs, who two years ago independently set-up Plymouth Training Consultancy, which develops people working with minority groups, supported by Outset.
She said it felt 'fantastic' to reach the two-year-mark, but that she'd almost given up at times.
"My advice to new businesses would be to seek support from others, to stay focused and when there are hurdles to learn from them the motivation gained is key to drive you forward."
James Avery also took part. He has set-up Photohub, a new service for photographers who can display their work on his website. Photohub then takes care of printing, ordering and processing.
He said he'd learned about marketing, branding and accounts all for free, through Outset. Outset have been brilliant from day one," he said.
"I'd be miles behind if it wasn't for the free help they gave me."