Looking out of my office window here at One Central Square, I can’t help but pinch myself. It’s sometimes nice to take time out of the hustle and bustle of agency life to appreciate the ever-expanding Cardiff landscape and, when I do, it’s hard not to smile.
Because, as I reflect on the year that was, I’ve got every reason to be happy: supportive family, dedicated staff, enviable offices, brilliant clients and year-on-year growth. Like I said, I can’t help but pinch myself.
With Global Entrepreneurship Week finished for another year, I want to take this opportunity to talk about something that has helped paint the above picture.
And that something is entrepreneurial spirit. Or to be more specific, Welsh entrepreneurial spirit.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we need to not only celebrate Welsh entrepreneurs, but do all we can to encourage future generations of Welsh businessmen and women. Why? Because, as Economy Secretary, Ken Skates, said:
“Entrepreneurs are hugely important to the Welsh economy and have the potential to significantly increase employment levels and prosperity.”
– Ken Skates / Welsh Economy Secretary
I believe we have entrepreneurial talent to rival the best in the world here in Wales, and it’s extremely encouraging to see the Welsh Government echo this sentiment. Thanks to programmes such as the Flintshire Business Entrepreneurship Network and £86m of Welsh Government / EU funding for the Business Wales service, the future is looking really bright for Welsh entrepreneurs hoping to follow their dreams.
People often ask whether I’ve always had entrepreneurial spirit and, looking back, the answer is a resounding ‘yes.’ From selling football stickers on the playground to washing cars, business acumen has been in my blood from an early age. Fast forward to 2011 and that business acumen faced the biggest challenge of them all: setting up my own business.
From an attic in Barry, armed with just £85 in my bank account, I not only set myself a goal – to establish a national advertising agency in Wales – but also created a vision: to put Welsh advertising on the global map.
Why did I want to create this vision? Well, because I wanted to challenge the notion that advertising talent could only be found in London, showing that Welsh talent can be recognised and nurtured to create an agency that rivals any found worldwide.
And, as Entrepreneur of the Year, that would be my first bit of advice to budding entrepreneurs looking to make their mark.
Always Know Why You’re Doing What You’re Doing: That ‘why’ should be the driving force for everything you do; it will give you clear direction when making decisions and motivate you when the going gets tough.
Which leads nicely onto my next pointer.
Share That Vision With Your Team: No matter how big or small the team, if you all know what you’re working towards, then you’ll get better results and create a happier, more united working culture.
Indeed, I’m extremely proud to have created a culture at S3 Advertising that involves happiness, fun and making memories. From impromptu drinks at the office bar to filming random challenges, I’ve created a culture whereby my staff complement my vision, not complicate it.
And that brings me onto my final bit of advice for future entrepreneurs.
Surround Yourself With Positive People: People that believe in you! If someone tells you, makes you feel or holds you back from achieving, separate yourself from them.
Five years ago, living on a diet of sandwiches and coffee from that Barry attic, I didn’t know what the future might hold. Thanks to entrepreneurial spirit, however, I was able to write the future I truly wanted.
And, to all the budding Welsh entrepreneurs reading this, you can write yours, too.