31 January 2018 - 10:01 am 5 skills needed to start up your own business
Today I’ll be talking to Stuart McClure, the co-founder of a company called LovetheSales.com on skills you need to start your own business. I’ve been inspired by what Stuart has shared here today and will definitely be applying this to my own entrepreneurial projects!
LovetheSales is a website that aggregates sale items from 100’s of retailers into one website, helping consumers to find the best deals on products they want.
He has 14 years experience in digital marketing and business management and, before starting his company, worked in a number of multi-million pound businesses in senior positions.
Starting your own business is tough. It takes a lot of hard work, effort and emotion, but most people understand that the rewards of doing so outweighs the toil of getting there. And that’s a good thing. It’s that spark of recognition that keeps you going when times are tough.
I have been through that process myself at my startup, LovetheSales.com. And still am in many ways. You never stop learning or working hard!
I’ve been luckey enough to get the opportunity to share some of my thoughts with you on the top 5 skills I think are paramount to successfully starting your own enterprise, large or small.
Often these lists contain fairly useless ‘skills’ such as ‘Leadership’ or ‘Project Management’ – I am going to try to give you some practical suggestions that will help steer the way you look at yourself and your business, that drive success. Rather than a list of nonsensical suggestions.
9:56 am CHANGE – Women in Leadership
One shiny morning, I woke up to the realisation that I have never tried listening to podcasts before on my way to work or school. So, I took my phone out and I started browsing through an endless list of options, when I discovered Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell. Malcolm Gladwell is an exceptional storyteller and the very first story he shared was about a woman, named Elizabeth Thompson, a British painter.But not just a painter, since Elizabeth Thompson is the first woman to be nominated for election for the Royal Academy, as you might expect, a male-dominated world. However, whilst this was a great feat for women around the world and art in general, Gladwell argues that the appreciation of the Roll Call painting, that brought Elizabeth’s fame and her nomination, has also brought her downfall. Why? You might ask. How can her talent be at fault?
28 November 2017 - 11:09 am Why USE an idea?
With the new academic year in full swing, we have a fresh new intern team here at the University of Sheffield Enterprise.
Get to know them each a bit more and learn what Enterprise means to them. Take it away Aleena, Ana, Asma, Hemanshi and Pauline!
2017/18 USE interns – from left to right: Asma, Aleena, Pauline, Hemanshi and Ana. Continue reading “Why USE an idea?” »
What is NACUE?
Nacue is a charitable organisation dedicated to supporting student-led societies and student entrepreneurs. They work with college and university students and provide young individuals with opportunities to boost their skills, confidence and aspirations through student-led enterprise societies, practical programmes and inspiring events.
Dear reader, you might be familiar with the classification of generations, or, at least, you might vaguely be aware of the existence of a Generation X, called the Baby Boomers, and their children, Generation Y or the Millennials – those born between the 1980s and the 2000s. We’re closely going into Generation Z – the post Millennials. But, since these latter ones are still in schools, and Generation Y is not yet obsolete, we are going to focus in this blog on the Millennials and the intriguing aspect of their ‘killings’.
Millennials have been accused in too many articles of killing something, being art, brunch, the career ladder, restaurant chains, politics, beer, food etc. They have also been accused of being too self centred, too lazy, too privileged with their avocados and Eggs Benedict . Too technology focused, too entitled, too DIFFERENT. And truth to be told, we are different. But the question is: different compared to what?
Most parents and children who have conflicting opinions blame them on something called the generation gap. A difference between generations. Children believe their parents to be narrow minded and obsolete. Parents believe their children to be rebels and disrespectful to authority and experience. Who is right? All generations create their set of norms that they respect, all generations should have the freedom to enact on their adopted norms. These norms are susceptible to change with a new generation. Change is positive for society! But older generations might not want to accept these changes. Conflict is created. Judgement is created. Accusations are created.
10 October 2017 - 2:42 pm How I raised £10K for a student-led project
This is a story about how I raised funding for my student-led project and how YOU can help me do it again.
Last year, I co-founded and led a team of students to enter the MATE ROV, an international competition to design and build a remotely operated underwater robot. The aim of the competition is to get students into marine technical fields and to give them a chance to learn more about enterprise in an engineering context.
Each year, the competition is based on a new theme, which relates to the location where its held. The teams are presented with a set of real-life problems given by a “client,” given in the form of a brief. The teams have to then act as a company and design & build a “product” in response to the client’s need. In addition to engineering their robots, the students are required to prepare technical reports, poster displays, and engineering presentations that are delivered to working professionals who serve as competition judges. This allows teams to experience a very realistic simulation of a real-life engineering project. Continue reading “How I raised £10K for a student-led project” »
With semester now in full swing, I’ve started getting my head down to complete the final push of my academia left. You’ve probably heard from other students, time at University flies by, I remember my first day in my first year like it was just yesterday!
Even though I was a confused fresher in 2014, I do recall after one lecture in Biomedical Sciences, I didn’t want to just dedicate my time solely to my studies as I had done in my previous time in education. With this in mind, I attended my first activities fair and part-time job and volunteering fair where I remember quite clearly signing up to every Give-it-a-Go (GIAG) session there was and joining a row of societies.
Realistically, I couldn’t possibly do them all but be attending those GIAG sessions did allow me to realise this and focus on what I want to get involved in. Throughout my first and second year, I learnt how to balance.
Here are some of the top things I got involved in (that you can get involved in too!) to make the most out of your University experience so that by the time you graduate you’re equipped with all the skills and experience necessary for the “real world” – whether that’s working for a company or running your own!
1) I got a part-time job
Working part-time allowed me to:
- Practice how to balance studies and work. I had to be more strategic in my approach to organisation, time-management and prioritisation.
- Enhance skills, particularly verbal communication, teamwork, taking an innovative, working under pressure, and leadership which are essential for professional jobs.
- Have a taste of what it’s like to work and earn money!
Don’t take working in retail, at a bar or coffee shop for granted – it actually is great as a stepping stone to develop yourself both professionally and personally! I worked in retail for 2+ years throughout my first and second year, near the end of my second retail job, I gained so much experience from it that I was given more responsibility and ran a training session for new staff.
Note: During term time, it isn’t recommended that students work more than 16 hours per week.
2) I didn’t shrug off employability-enhancing support that the University has on offer
I made use of them. This ranges from the Careers Service one-to-one application appointments to attending useful workshops, sessions and networking events throughout the year that helped me expand my professional connections and knowledge on topics such as making an impactful LinkedIn profile.
Taking the support from the Careers Service to my advantage, I managed to secure a placement year!
Other support I recommend include:
- 301: Student Skills and Development Centre
- University of Sheffield Enterprise – I took part in Skill Build every Thursday of a spring semester in my second year. This helped enhance my awareness and understanding of entrepreneurship and building upon ideas. Other sessions enterprise run include:
- Social Innovation Lab
- Making Ideas Happen (module)
- Start-up weekend
3) I got actively involved in student groups and other initiatives of which I am strongly passionate about
Joining societies is a great way to have fun doing things you enjoy with other people! But as I mentioned before, you don’t have time for all of them (a big mistake I made when I was that fresher joining all the societies I could possibly get involved in)
Being selective is important – you can focus more of your energy and time into something that you really enjoy and feel passionate about. That might be cheerleading, being part of the gaming society or playing and creating music with drums, flute or other wonderful instruments!
For me, it’s technology. Learning more e.g. coding languages and best practices I wasn’t aware of before. And sharing the excitement of this valuable skill (to me at least) with others.
And that’s why I got involved with Code First: Girls (CFG) in 2015. One main thing I recommend is finding a student society that you really enjoy and taking an active role in it – like being in the committee or leading it. I went from being a CFG participant to now taking a leading role in the organisation and delivery. It’s been a great way for me to:
- Build up connections in the industry (which I’m interested in working in in the future)
- Build a more inclusive, diverse and comfortable community in Sheffield for female students (which I am very passionate about!)
- Enhance my skills in public speaking, delivering presentations and teaching.
If you’re interested in finding out more and/or joining Code First: Girls, click here.
Other things I got involved in:
- My department’s Student Staff Committee where I fed back my ideas and comments to the Department on improving learning and teaching initiatives. Currently, I’m a the Digital Rep for BMS.
- Representing open days
- ScienceBrainwaves as Head of Website – tailored to my interests in website development and online communication through blogging.
Here’s a list of all the wonderful student societies at University!
TL:DR – be active in the right student groups and initiatives that are valuable to you. Go out there and explore what’s available and really make the most out of your #shefunilife.
31 August 2017 - 12:46 pm Meet the winners of our Evolve Business Competition
Every year, University of Sheffield Enterprise runs a competition to celebrate the growing startup stars supported by its Evolve Programme. This competition is an opportunity for entrants to increase awareness and exposure for their startup (FAME) and get a cash injection to help grow their business (FORTUNE). Continue reading “Meet the winners of our Evolve Business Competition” »
22 August 2017 - 4:18 pm What is the impact of enterprise capability development in your degree?
The Organ Donation Project was a project that made up a small part of my ‘Introduction to Human Anatomy’ module in my second year of my Biomedical Sciences degree. I was put into a group with others in my course, where I then took the role of team leader for the project. My role was to delegate tasks to other team members and think of creative, ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas to engage young students to sign up for the organ donation register, using our anatomical knowledge. Continue reading “What is the impact of enterprise capability development in your degree?” »
4:07 pm Me and My Interest in Enterprise
I am the new summer intern at the University of Sheffield Enterprise (USE). Currently a 3rd year chemical engineering student at the University with a desire to potentially start a business of my own.
My interest in enterprise was slowly developed because of my friends and family. Apparently, they saw something that made them think that I had the potential to start and run a business of my own. I want to learn as much as I can in preparation for owning a business someday and I have the perfect opportunity to do that as a USE intern this summer. My interest in enterprise has been further strengthened by learning that it is a useful skill which employers now look for in applicants.