Lesley Meechan, Director of Learning and Development at The GO Group
“There are two schools of thought regarding what makes a successful entrepreneur: those who believe that the best business people are born with a know-how that cannot be taught; and those who argue that although some of the traits associated with successful entrepreneurs are indeed inherent, these need to be nurtured, honed and developed to make well-rounded business person.
“The stereotypical entrepreneur is depicted as being a passionate risk-taker whose intrinsic business sense is not affected by class or education – they either have ‘it’ or they don’t. Bill Gates has become a poster boy for this way of thinking: he dropped out of Harvard in 1975 to pursue his dreams and went on to become one of the world’s richest men. Gates clearly has ‘it’.
“However, I believe that entrepreneurs and business leaders can benefit greatly from well-chosen, effective business development courses. Those with an instinctive business sense need to be given a solid foundation to work from. No entrepreneur wants to fail because of a stupid mistake and for that reason it is vitally important that entrepreneurs keep developing and advancing their skills and knowledge.
“Over the past year my colleagues at The GO Group have seen an interesting trend emerging in training. Although the overall training spend from our customers has reduced, the amount of training we have delivered at management level has increased by 20%. This means that 80% of the training we deliver is to management – that’s approximately 2,800 places.
“These figures show that business professionals do recognise the benefits associated with Learning and Development. Although the recession has meant that many companies have had to tighten their belts, businesses are still choosing to invest in training at management level. This helps them to ensure their main players are working as efficiently as possible in order to lead their organisations out of the recession and towards long-term success.
“In my opinion, taking part in any form of professional development – whether it be a university course, training day or high-level development programme like The Business Map – is essential for success. This can speed up the learning curve to give entrepreneurs a fast-track route to a better business or help to turn an ailing business around. Even the brightest of entrepreneurs can benefit from refreshing their business knowldge!
“As we prepare for the upturn, it is more important than ever that businesses are at the top of their game. The romantic notion of the daring and bold entrepreneur may be exciting, but the reality is that we can all benefit from brushing up on our skills, refreshing our knowledge and investing in ourselves and our businesses on a regular basis.”