As Entrepreneurs can we correct our mistakes?

12 12 2008

I have written this entry on my blog without prejudice so that other Entrepreneurs will not make the same mistakes that we have made when we incorporated our business.

During the next two years I believe that the nation will need Aspiring Entrepreneurs more now than ever before to start businesses, create jobs and get the economy booming once more. How many will fail due to receiving poor advice and what can we do to help these brave and courageous individuals achieve their dreams?

So many Entrepreneurs will start their businesses from a position of being underfunded and as a result will make mistakes that could cost them dearly in the long run. One of the most important areas of your business is how you set up and incorporate it. It is essential that you take the best legal and accounting advice that you can afford.

My advice to budding Entrepreneurs is that your company formation is of paramount importance and if your business is not set up correctly from day one that it could result in damaging consequences at a later date.

I try to talk openly and honestly about Million Impossible and our journey to create the UK’s leading network for honest Entrepreneurs. Readers of my blog will know that we have been through a great deal of adversity, not just with Million Impossible but with previous businesses and personal situations that my team and I have faced.

We used a formations company to set up our PLC and were recommended to an accountant both of which did not advise us of the correct information, forms and documentation that had to be filed and created. Ignorance is not an excuse, however you instruct on good faith and hope that a professional job will be done.

When we formed Million Impossible we had approached Guinness World Records in order to break a world record for a PLC company with the highest amount of statutory directors. We had hoped that we could create a globally owned, globally managed business where anyone coming on board would own shares and become an investor and director, similar to how Dragons Den works on the BBC and that together we would move forward as an Entrepreneur network , then launch a magazine as well as launching Million Impossible TV.

The idea for the TV programme was that we could all then vote on potential Entrepreneurs via a reality TV show to help them move forward in gaining a business angel investor to help them with their business idea. My family was filmed on a documentary back in 1998 about couples from different cultures and wealth levels getting married and we have contacts with the person who heads up reality TV for Granada Television.

In the UK managing and running a PLC is a tough task and there are so many things that you have to consider and it must be run in professional manner with air tight administration.

My previous role before helping to create Million Impossible was as a commercial director for an advertising business. I worked for a guy that got himself in to real pickle over trading policies and I guess as a result he was forced to make decisions that I am certain he would not have made if he did not find himself in the untenable position he faced. Although I hold no ill feeling towards this man and in some ways will always hold a soft spot in my heart for him, he did try to bring Million Impossible down when there was no need – but I forgive him and do wish him every success as he works hard, has a lovely family and just like many of us made some mistakes along the way.

As I wrote in my previous blog entry we faced an investigation by BERR in respect of appointing directors and the way that we issued shares back in March 2008. Our business practises are very different now and of course our business has found a very strong footing to move forward with. The early mistakes that we made with formation has come back to haunt us and I now have to defend our position and show the changes in direction that the business has taken.

We no longer need to be a PLC as our direction has changed and we are in the process of moving back to a limited company and indeed we have and are bringing all documents up to speed.

Our business from day one was started to help Entrepreneurs and by creating strength in numbers so that as aspiring and experienced Entrepreneurs would stand together and help protect each other. A romantic notion you might say, but 12 months down the line we have created a network of nearly 3000 Entrepreneur business people and formed an Association for Entrepreneurs as well as launching and publishing a magazine called Raw Entrepreneur for honest Entrepreneurs that is now in its 5th edition.

In our magazine I have interviewed some of the UK’s highest profile Entrepreneurs such as Rachel Elnaugh, Levi Roots and Imran Hakim and we recently exhibited at The Business Startups show in London as well as The Business Show in Bolton. Rachel Elnaugh has been and amazing pillar of strength for me and the business as she too has faced adversity and is still fighting for UK Entrepreneurs.

I am also trying to launch Entrepreneur School on a local level to bring aspiring and Experienced Entrepreneurs together on a learning and trust building exercise. I have received some great feedback about the idea and it is our most exciting venture yet.

I guess it is also ironic that I have been invited by Rachel Elnaugh to attend an event being held at The British Library as part of a four man panel for a business in crisis event in January just two days before my court date to defend the case with BERR where I will be sitting alongside Rachel Elnaugh and two other Entrepreneurs who have faced or are going through adversity and offering our advice and experiences to Entrepreneurs who have also faced adversity.

Being honest as Entrepreneur and talking about your experiences both good and bad as they happen can at times be very difficult because you can face constant criticism and cynicism from your peers, but I would rather share my successes and my mistakes in the hope that it helps other Entrepreneurs to learn from them than say nothing at all.

Moving forward I hope that we can all ask the government find a way for official government departments including BERR to adopt a guidance procedure and support procedure for businesses that have made mistakes and then give them time to implement any suggested changes with a review date being set to ensure that the changes have been made.

Prime Minister, Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson said the following during enterprise week:-

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said:

“Speaking at the first ever Enterprise Week I said ‘that an idea that started with only a few people and such little financial support should become in just a small time such a big campaign involving thousands across the country is itself a tribute to the spirit of enterprise.’

“That this same idea and people should now, just four years later, have inspired and driven a global campaign involving millions of people in 77 countries is even more remarkable. Global Entrepreneurship Week is a shining example of Britain leading the world in enterprise and innovation. At this time of unprecedented global change, I congratulate everyone involved in Global Entrepreneurship Week for encouraging people and countries to work together to find new ways to succeed.”

Peter Mandelson added:

“The current global economic crisis has demonstrated once again the interconnectedness of the world in which we live. Enterprise and innovation is the key to the UK’s future economic growth and success in today’s unsettled global market.

“Through initiatives such as Global Entrepreneurship Week we can inspire the next wave of entrepreneurs to create a “can do” culture”.

Rt Honourable gentlemen – are you really helping UK Entrepreneurs or are some of your departments damaging Entrepreneurs and their enterprising business activities?

So as I leave my office to walk home at 10.15pm in the evening in the freezing cold as I have no car due to recent events that have happened to our business I say this to all Entrepreneurs:-

Obtain the best advice you can before starting your business then double check it and triple check it and if you should find yourself facing adversity, then think very carefully, take a deep breath and find a solution to your problem and if you feel as I do that your dream is worth fighting for then hold on with all your might and whatever happens find the strength and courage to take positive action and that you are not alone and that together we can overcome any obstacle that is placed in our way if we continue to believe that we are ENTREPRENEURS!

For my family and shareholders who believe in me, encourage me and continue to support me, I salute you and have only the upmost respect for you.

I will never give in!

I will never give in!

Bradley Chapman
Managing Director
Million Impossible

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