Jackie Fast: how to succeed in uncertain times

We are living through a time of great uncertainty and change for business-owners.

We've asked Jackie Fast, Ex-The Apprentice candidate and motivational speaker, how budding entrepreneurs can weather the storm and face the unknown:

Much like ‘Insta-glam’ influencers, always appearing at maximum gloss regardless of the reality of their lives, it is an entrepreneur’s job to look like they have it all figured out even if they don’t - otherwise why buy their autobiography? Don’t be fooled, though: more often than not, entrepreneurs are facing uncertainty just as much as you are. They are just experts in making it work for them rather than against.

It is predicted that in the next 25 years, we’ll make 4 times the progress we saw in the 20th century alone... Unless you have a crystal ball, it’s impossible to predict whether your business idea will still be relevant in 5 years’ time, or ten years’ time, or if it’ll be completely taken over by robots. As such, to be a successful entrepreneur in today’s fast-moving landscape, you not only need to get used to change and uncertainty, but also find a way to make it benefit your business.

Jackie Fast isn't afraid of the winds of change

Calculating risks

Before you take the leap into the unknown, it is important to be as prepared as possible. Do your research. Review competitors. Understand their products and services and how these support customers. Learn how much you can expect to make by using Companies House to compare competitors' revenues, and get honest feedback from your trusted friends and family.

If you still think you’re onto a winner, find and talk to others who work in the field or own similar businesses, through websites like LinkedIn. You’d be surprised how far a cup of coffee or a free lunch will go when you want to pick their brains about the industry you are about to launch into.

Just do it!

Research is critical, but when all’s said and done if you think you’ve got a great idea, stop wasting time and take the leap. Far too often I see great ideas remain just that - great ideas. Would-be entrepreneurs sometimes fail to take the leap because of fear of uncertainty, only to see their great business idea crop up a couple years later headed by someone else.

Being an entrepreneur isn’t just about spotting great opportunities, it’s also about having the courage to take them.

Learn to adapt

The world is changing, so what worked a year ago may no longer work now. It’s important to be open-minded in the process of becoming a successful entrepreneur. If your research told you that your product would fly off the shelves but instead it’s ended up collecting dust in your parents’ garage, don’t bury your head in the sand - look at what went wrong, and fix it!

The advantage of being an entrepreneur is the flexibility to shape your own destiny. Unexpected things will crop up in all businesses, but you have a massive advantage over large corporations – the ability to be nimble.

So get used to uncertainty. Not only do you need it, but it can help you succeed!

Find more advice on enterprise skills at Bitesize Careers

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