I always enjoy Evan Davis’s Radio 4 business programme, The Bottom Line, and last night’s was well worth a listen. While not about social enterprise it was about start-ups, and his guests reflected on what makes people start businesses, whether it’s getting easier or harder, and the implications of the internet for how we learn from our business mistakes.
Some of the snippets that caught my attention — and which seemed to have a wider applicability in all businesses — were the following.
One of the guests said that everyone always thinks its the business idea that is really crucial. I don’t think that, he said — I think it’s the execution of that idea that is crucial. Lots of pe0ple can come up with great business concepts — but it’s what you do, who does the work and how well it’s done that counts….
Another remarked that he internet made it easier to “fail quickly and learn the lessons”, which I thought was really interesting. Basically, what they meant was that the internet had — for some kinds of businesses but not all, admittedly — lowered the cost of entry and trialling products. Using online and mobile selling methods it is now possible to test products, services and ideas without immense cost and move on quickly if they fail. It reduces the cost of failure and helps contain risk.
There were other good bits too — listen to the podcast courtesy of the Beeb. I heard much that I thought was entirely applicable in the context of social enterprise (and especially for micro-business and self-employment).
Update: I don’t normally single comments out but there is an interesting one from Pauline Roche to this post which might get missed. She says:
Love hearing about media coverage of SE – some of your readers will know about the Guardian’s Live Q & A on Networking for Social Entrepreneurs on 6th October – our own (i.e. Birmingham’s) Mark Ellerby was a panellist, talking about how effective networking is for us – good to hear these truths again.
For those who don’t know about this piece , here’s the link.