Advice from a successful kiwi entrepreneur

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To kick of Global Entrepreneurship Week I wanted to share some great advice from a successful New Zealander who has made it over here in London.

Adam Wills was one of the founders of Gourmet Burger Kitchen, and I was fortunate enough to hear him speak at an event recently. Adam and his business partners grew the restaurant chain from one to ten stores in five years, before selling it on.

He had some great ideas and tips and insight for those running their own businesses. Here are some of them:

1. Find the right business partner

I have heard this from so many people, and finding the right partner is as important in business as it is in your personal life. That business partner is going to be on the rollercoaster journey of business ownership and management with you and you are going to have to work really well together.

You need to know that person and know yourself before agreeing to set up a business. What makes a great team is ensuring that your partner or members of your team have the strengths where you are weakest.

2. Find a niche and fill it

Successful businesses are all about identifying a need and then filling that need with a great product. So find that particular business area that is missing something and go ahead and fill it with an amazing product that the market has been waiting for.

3. Have the passion and the commitment

You need to care about what you are doing, and you need to be committed to it 100%. As many of you know, running your own business is a huge time and energy commitment. The passion will help you get up excited each and every morning and keep you going through the long hours. The commitment will pay off in the long run.

Adam also made the very important point that you need to also be clear about the type of commitment it will take on both yourself and those around you. Partners and children need to be aware and supportive of this passion and commitment of yours too.

4. Be realistic

Running your own business isn’t easy. You are unlikely to make your fame and fortune in one year, and it is likely to take many more years to really see the benefits from all your hard work. Set yourself realistic goals and then reward yourself when you do achieve them.

5. Be IN the business

When you are there working in the business you will be able to see ways to improve it, to make it work better, to get feedback from employees and customers and see how things work with suppliers.

Focus on making your business great. Each decision should be based on making the business run more efficiently, to deliver value to your customer and to gain loyalty from your niche market.

6. Learn from your mistakes

There will be mistakes, that is par for the course of running a business. They are not failures however, they are experiences and events to learn from. Try to take the take the rough with the smooth, and never stop learning from your business.

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