Learning from those who have already succeeded in business makes a lot of sense. Ignore their pearls of wisdom at your peril.
In this series we gather advice from successful Welsh entrepreneurs, bringing together their advice and opinions, to inspire and guide you to ever-greater business growth.
Sir Chris Evans
Sir Chris Evans made his fortune in bisociences. He was raised in Port Talbot, and set up his first business, Enzymatics, in Cambridge at age 29, selling his marital home to raise the capital needed.
He went on to found companies including Excalibur, Merlin, Arthurian Life Sciences, Chiroscience, Celsis, Piramed, Vectura and Biovex. These are involved in research, development and investment into medicines, including for the treatment of cancer, retinal and arterial disease.
Evans was one of the first to conduct stem cell research in 1995. He has built companies worth over £5 billion, employed over 4,000 scientists, advised governments, raised over £1.2bn in investment, and put billions into medicines research.
Evans launched the Life Sciences Hub with the Welsh Government in Cardiff in 2014 https://lshubwales.com/, backed by a £100m fund. The facility brings together investors, businesses and advisers to boost the biosciences sector in Wales. Successes include ReNeuron and Proton Partners.
Business Growth Advice
1. Gain Experience First
“Go and join someone else’s firm first – and the smaller the better, because they’re the ones filled with perils”.
“It’s no good just being a load of blokes in a room saying ‘let’s go and do this!’. You’ve got to start with the technology and the products”.
3. Listen To Lots Of Feedback
Don’t be secretive about your idea – get negative and positive feedback, change it, then run with it.
“Always, always focus on what your customer wants, what they really need. Visit them, talk straight and if you blow their socks off you win the contracts and the cash.
“Don’t guess anything. Don’t think you know better than the customer. It worked for me and, thankfully, still does”.
4. Persuasiveness Is Key
“Be Creative, Flexible, Think Outside The Box. Display Energy and Positivity”.
“Now is the ideal time to get stuck in as an entrepreneur”.
“Money is waking up again. There’s a huge amount of innovation and invention around the world – there are so many funds now and individuals willing to invest.”
“Nobody knows you nor cares, so back yourself and your dream and sell it to investors and sell everything you possibly can to customers”.
Chris Evans has always cited the difficulty in building effective and harmonious, quality management teams. He considers them the single biggest contributor to the success or failure of SME’s.
This is an often mentioned issue by leaders, so it is clear that the right board and management team is critical to business growth.