Helping Entrepreneurs Recognise The Solutions To Business Problems

Wednesday 25 May 2022

Being an entrepreneur is a meaningful venture that many have chosen to embrace with the dream of forming their own successful business. It is a way to take your unique ideas and turn them into something real, and better yet, profitable. However, that doesn’t mean entrepreneurship doesn’t come with its share of problems. 

So, who do you turn to when you’re a business owner in distress? Of course, the EHE community offers a wealth of entrepreneurial advice, but that’s also where the company Leonard Curtis comes to the rescue. Just like us, they are entrepreneurs helping fellow entrepreneurs, and they specialise in saving those who find themselves in a real mess. 

We were lucky enough to have Daniel Booth, Director of Leonard Curtis, on the  Extraordinary Entrepreneurs Together podcast recently, and I wanted to share some highlights of our conversation with him in this blog.

You can listen to the full episode today on our website!


The role Leonard Curtis plays in business


Here is how Dan likes to describe what he does:


Dan: “Leonard Curtis is a multidisciplinary professional services offering. We started off doing restructuring and insolvency. So, basically, assisting business owners when they’ve engaged in some problems or some stress or some distress. In the last seven to eight years, we’ve added a couple of pillars onto the business.


So, instead of just doing traditional insolvency work, we also offer finance raising and legal services. But, at its core, what we’ve been most recognised for in the last 25–26 years in the market is assisting businesses and business owners to effectively navigate their way through whatever issues and problems they may have.”


How it all started


Even through the Covid-19 pandemic, Dan and his team at Leonard Curtis have navigated problems in the entrepreneurial world, trying to help business owners see the positives out of the negatives. It’s a line of work Dan has slowly embraced since his first job at the age of 16: 


Dan: “We started out as the insolvency department of a regional accounting practice, D.E.T. So the credit, if there is some to be given, needs to be given to my first boss, who had recognised that insolvency practitioners had done reasonably well out of the recession in the early ‘90s.


D.E.T., at the time, didn’t have an insolvency department. I wasn’t the co-founder, I was 16 at the time, but it was my first and only job. So they started me off on a journey to offer those services I mentioned before, and the business grew from there.”


Experience over qualifications


While Dan spoke about his career, he brought up a point that resonated with me. Both of us, despite our success in business, never quite had a formal education. 


This is a common theme among entrepreneurs. I didn’t go to university. I didn’t go down the work-for-a-professional-service-type-organisation route either. I came out with a few poor-grade A levels and went into work in retail, because I didn’t know what else to do. After that, things just clicked together.


Regardless of your academic qualifications, entrepreneurs are defined by a certain mindset and a certain work ethic. There are many components that go into being an entrepreneur, but being an academic isn’t necessarily one of them. It works for some people, but it doesn’t for others.


One defining trait of successful entrepreneurs is their ability to spot an opportunity and run with it. Dan sums this up brilliantly: 


Dan: “It’s about recognising and embracing opportunities that people give you. I was given an opportunity and I’m very grateful for that. But I also had to make it work. I always felt I needed to put that extra bit of effort in because I felt maybe I lacked from an academic point of view, you know? I always felt like I had to try a little bit harder, and maybe that gives you an edge sometimes.


But one bit of advice I would give to people is just be yourself. And just acknowledge what you can and can’t do. Accept that maybe there are other people that are going to do things better than you, and don’t try to be someone else, because everyone else is taken. So do your thing and do it as best you can. Don’t look for the downsides. Look for the upsides.” 


Opportunists having a go at opportunity


When I look back at my career, it’s all about being opportunistic, and then having the courage to not just see the opportunity, but to go with it. And that’s one of the differences between entrepreneurs and successful people who will maybe go on to work within the corporate environment. They’re good at what they do, but they’re not quite risk takers.


They worry a little bit too much about the “what ifs” as opposed to just saying: “Look, what’s the worst-case scenario? I’m going to give this a go and I’m going to work hard.” It’s worth trusting that gut feeling and really going for it.


As Dan added, speaking from his experience with Leonard Curtis, confidence matters a lot too and not only in business, but in life in general: 


Dan: “I think whether you run a restructuring business or any sort of business, or just generally in life, you’ve got to apply some principles. And I always say, you’ve got to be confident. So you’ve got to be confident to have a go at something and believe in your ability. If it doesn’t go quite according to plan, that’s kind of what it is. If you don’t make mistakes, I actually don’t think you’re trying hard enough.


So you’ve got to be confident. You’ve got to be committed, because if you’re not committed to the idea and you’re going into something half-hearted, that just will not work. Forget it. 


You’ve got to be consistent. You’ve got to be boring (sometimes). You’ve got to do the same things over and over again. Once and twice and three times is never enough, you know; we do monthly management meetings and we talk about similar stuff every month, because I think you have to, and I think you just have to apply the principles. 


Sometimes, people don’t start because they’re not confident enough, then they don’t really get very far because they’re not committed to it. Even if they did get through the first hurdles, then they don’t finish it off. I just think in your life, not just your career, you’ve got to be confident that, if you make a mistake, you were doing it for the right reasons.”


Effort goes a long way for better or worse


For any entrepreneurs out there, the principles of hard work, having confidence in yourself, and chasing your vision are universal, and you must apply them. Even if that confidence leads to failure, in most cases it’s worth doing.


If you don’t try and don’t fail, you’re probably not trying enough different things within your business. There is nothing wrong with failure; but then there’s also the skill of understanding when your business is in trouble. When that happens, you’ve got to take a far more pragmatic view of the scene. This can be really hard as an entrepreneur who is emotionally invested in the project, but you have got to decide whether this is a business that can succeed.


Maybe you just pivot; is there a different direction you can move in? You’ve got to be brave enough to go, “Yes, I think this can work.” But there’ll be a point when you need to know when things aren’t working and when to call it a day. 


Ultimately, the success of an entrepreneur is a mix of hard work, mindset and having enough confidence to follow your gut. However, when things get really tough, you need to know when to pivot. This is where someone like Dan can be a godsend!


Have you been inspired by my and Dan’s experiences? If you want to get in touch, you can contact Dan via the Leonard Curtis website, or me, Guy, through the EHE Capital website. And for more great content, be sure to subscribe to the EHE podcast!


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