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A Masterclass in Disciplined Entrepreneurship

By Yvonne McLaren-Robertson, Scottish Enterprise

As part of the Unlocking Ambition Account Team for the Scottish Enterprise UA programme, I was lucky enough to participate alongside the companies on the in Disciplined Entrepreneurship masterclass led by MIT’s Bill Aulet in Inverness on the 3-4th October 2018. This programme has been designed to - as it says - unlock ambition in young and growing impact-focussed companies to assist them to achieve their full potential and this was an inspirational masterclass in how to do so.

And what an experience it was! After arriving on a cold and blustery Tuesday evening in Inverness, we had a hugely inspirational couple of days. Bill delivered a 2 day crash course on how to become an entrepreneur with particular emphasis on the marketing and sales side of streamlining the proposition and identifying your target customers.

Bill’s philosophy is essentially based around finding your “beachhead”market and concentrating on that before you pursue other directions. His motto is “don’t get distracted and stay focussed”.

He took is through his 6 themes over the 2 days split into a mere 24 steps:

  • Who is your customer?
  • What can your customer do for you
  • How does your customer acquire your product ?
  • How do you make money out of your product ?
  • How do you design & build your product ?
  • And in fitting with the wider Can Do Scale programme… How do you scale your business?

It was an eventful 2 days for the 20 companies that make up SE’s Unlocking Ambition cohort, providing inspiration for those at the stage of defining their business strategy to take them forward, plus some thought-provoking discussion and a practical toolkit for all, no matter what stage of the journey they are at.

If the sessions with Bill weren’t inspirational enough, after the networking dinner on Wednesday evening, Sandy Kennedy of Entrepreneurial Scotland hosted a fireside chat with entrepreneur Richard Dixon of Vets Now. This was an astounding story of growth that started as a small out of hours accident & emergency for pets that has turned into a multi-million pound Scottish business.

If that wasn’t enough, the panel discussion the following morning had 4 locally based entrepreneurs giving their warts and all stories, hosted by Dominic Chalmers of Strathclyde University. The panel was made up of Martin Murray, Dunnet Bay Distillers (Rock Rose Gin), Paul Easto of Wilderness Scotland, Heather McDonald from Wooha Brewery, and Derek Campbell of Denchi Power.

So what did I take away from these sessions? The same recurring 3 themes came back.

  • It’s all about the people
  • Make sure if you need to embark on fund raising that you raise the right amount of money. Cash is king!
  • And lastly truly understand who your customer actually is.

All in all I think we have all come back ready to unlock ambition for Scotland! If you want to find out more, check out the Disciplined Entrepreneurship website. It may well start you on your own entrepreneurial journey …

24 Steps

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