Watching Morten Lund at Geek’n’Rolla it occurred to me that our entrepreneurial future lies in our past. This video is a must see – he’s a very excitable and wacky character. Morten exudes life and Zen. He said ‘I’m an entrepreneur’holic’. He can’t stop building businesses!
I’ve not been doing it myself for 18 years. Looking back into my career, family background, I’ve been building businesses up for about the same time. Of course, in my career this was for other people’s companies. However, I believe that we can still be entrepreneurial working for someone else.
Please bear with me as I use my past employments to demonstrate the point:
- NetCare (part of ComputerLand UK Plc) – I took on the job of turning this fledgling IT managed service into something big. At the time I was offered a much more stable alternative position with a higher salary. It seems strange to take a more difficult position for less money but I saw the potential and wanted to build something of value.
- Novell – I had always dreamt of working for a successful global software company and when Novell offered me the chance I was extremely excited. At the time Novell had suffered some serious set backs. When Eric Schmidt (now Charmian of Google) joined and the share price was on the up, I could see this could be a turnaround. It was the chance to help re-build Novell. Unfortunately I was proved wrong. Eric left and the company continued it’s slide downwards.
- NetMan – This was a niche boutique consultancy. They specialised in Novell and Intel LANDesk. Only eight people were employed when I started. At the time I was offered a job at a much, much larger systems integrator but felt NetMan had more exciting potential. We did well. The business grow significantly and was acquired by ComputerLand UK Plc. We built something of value.
- Business Systems Group (BSG) – We made this company into the fastest growing systems integrator in the UK at the time. I loved being a key part of that growth. I built up several product and service streams whilst at BSG. This included their software support business. At the time BSG had virtually no support services. They mainly sold PC hardware and software. I build their software support service into a healthy and profitable service. I also grow BSG’s Apple Mac business and helped build their software development services.
- WARNING PLUG = Today, I have my own startup, Aware Monitoring – We have a website, web app, e-commerce performance monitoring service. If it’s down, with error or slow – we let you know! We started from scratch! Building it has been intense. What an amazing feeling doing it for yourself!! It’s such an incredible feeling when a major company and new customer says they’re ‘delighted’ with the service. Very different from doing it for someone else..
I love building businesses or product/service streams from very little. For me its the challenge of making something new that was not there before. I look back further into my family history and see a strong heritage of trading in great trading cities like York. Looking closer, my close family have had or still run their own businesses.
Having a startup and growing a business into something real is not for everyone. It’s not easy. It takes great persistence, sacrifice and belief. The more I think about it, the more I realise that building businesses has to be part of you. It’s part of your past and your future. I don’t think you wake up one day and say ‘I feel like starting a business today’. You have to be committed. Really committed – Like Morton! It has to be part of you!!