Case study

Entrepreneur — Cel Amade

Cel studied BSc Management with International Business at Royal Holloway University of London followed by a Postgraduate in Entrepreneurship at Cambridge Judge Business School. She now works as a results strategist helping young people create fulfilling lives and careers

Why did you decide to start your own business?

Back in my student days, most university guest speakers were corporate professionals mainly talking about their career successes. They did not share many insights or strategic next steps to help students discover their strengths and utilise these creatively to land their first job or start a business.

While working with students, graduates, and interns during the pandemic, I noticed an overall decline in confidence in their ability to recognise and leverage their strengths.

I therefore decided to become a results strategist for today's young leaders, and through my business I put myself in a position to guide them during such a difficult time. It warms my heart to see that their increased self-belief has results in better performance at work - helping them feel more connected, productive, and committed to the bigger company and career vision.

How did your course inspire your career choice?

Both university courses gave me an international perspective and understanding of different business cultures which allow me to operate effectively when I work with higher education or corporate clients from different parts of the world.

The exposure I had to international business management and entrepreneurship mixed with the burning desire to help our young adults realise they have the power to change and design their own world, has inspired my career choice.

The entrepreneur in me was always there, I just needed some time and courage to gather the know-how and market insights to develop my business strategy.

What are the top three skills needed to be an entrepreneur?

  • Communication - The same message cannot be effectively communicated to different stakeholders because they all have different goals, desires, and expectations. Entrepreneurs need to communicate with the intention of being truly interested in the hopes, dreams and fears of their ideal client. Only then can entrepreneurs get better at establishing a connection and clearly getting their ideas across.
  • Self-belief - Believe you can achieve your desired result even when others can't quite see it yet. Then take bold strategic marketing steps in the direction of your desired result.
  • Active listening - As entrepreneurs, sometimes we pack too much information and opinions about our products and services, that we forget to listen. We do not allow our clients to share their feelings, viewpoints, and suggestions.

What sacrifices have you had to make to get the project off the ground?

Knowing what change I want to make in this world and making that change are two different matters. I invested my time working for different corporate and higher education providers to generate valuable knowledge and insights. Even though I already had two degrees, I invested my finances in privately funded courses in the fields of personal development, leveraging strengths, leadership, speaking, coaching, and marketing. I sacrificed my career stability to jump into the unknown and exciting realm of entrepreneurship.

Accumulating the knowledge and expertise that now allows me to truly live my mission came with its sacrifices. Once I started building the foundations of the business, it all felt like a step in the right direction.

All the young adults I've positively influenced in one way or another, all the thank you emails I receive, and all the relationships built have been 100% worthy of the initial sacrifices I made to get the business off the ground. Even the challenges faced when approaching industry experts to show the positive outcomes my work could have on their students and graduates has now turned into a very rewarding and heart-warming experience.

What are the five key elements for running a successful business?

  • Growth mindset - Behind every successful business we see today, is a journey with roadblocks, failures, disappointments, and other situations that may have frustrated the entrepreneur. Having a growth mindset that leads to innovation and adaptability is critical to persevering in this ever-changing economic climate. An entrepreneur with a growth mindset might look at a failure to meet a monthly goal, as an opportunity to identify their strengths and possibly outsource their weaknesses to a team member who may love and excel at that task. Read more about the growth mindset.
  • Resilience - I'm yet to hear of a super-smooth entrepreneurial journey to success that was 100% clear of setbacks. An entrepreneur's daily routine inevitably consists of multitude of rejections, among their successes. Whether pitching their business idea to investors, applying for funding, reaching out to prospects, exploring fruitful collaboration opportunities, or trying to create new partnerships - resilience is key. This helps entrepreneurs process rejections in a healthier way and then stay on course and achieve their goals in the face of adversity.
  • Networking and establishing great relationships - I'm a big believer that great relationships are accompanied by opportunities. An entrepreneur's ability to establish and maintain great working relationships can contribute to running and maintaining a successful business. The ability to build rapport and establish a good relationship with others is a soft skill we've been developing since our first day in nursery. We were preparing for a lifetime of work collaborations. At some point in the entrepreneurial journey, you'll need to work with other people - suppliers, investors, clients, partners and stakeholders that will support your company.
  • Openness to feedback - It's no secret that customers and buyers in 2021 are more sophisticated than they used to be. When an entrepreneur is open to truly listening to feedback and then chooses to implement any constructive feedback, they stand a better chance of fine-tuning their business strategy and offering products and services that match their customers' needs and wants.
  • A positive attitude - An entrepreneur's positive attitude towards themselves, their purpose and their business is essential to running a successful business. You need to perceive daily obstacles as steppingstones to a positive outcome, instead of obstacles. Believing that a positive outcome exists in any work situation can make your day-to-day responsibilities feel lighter.

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