Photos: Alex Zakharov

Building an entrepreneurial career is not an easy journey. The road to entrepreneurial growth is filled with challenges that test one´s resilience, grit, and perseverance. It is, in fact, a life-long process which can take one easily from dizzying heights to dark pits that test the endurance of the fiercest of gladiators. Ben’s story is a testament to that process. His persistence and innovative thinking carried him through his failures, and provided the inspirational material for a heartfelt discussion with the students at Lauder Business School.

At 37, with a company valued at 500 million Euros, Ben’s experiences offered invaluable insights into the world of entrepreneurship. Despite facing numerous failures, one of his ventures skyrocketed, marking a pivotal moment in his career. Last week, Ben imparted his business acumen to aspiring entrepreneurs, examining his own trials and triumphs.

Embrace Failure as a Stepping Stone

One of the most critical lessons from Ben’s journey is the importance of embracing failure. While it can be a disheartening and painful experience, failure is a lesson that builds character and a stepping stone towards a successful business. For Ben, each failed company was a learning opportunity. He confronted his disappointment head on, put aside his emotions and analysed the situation coolly, asking himself all the relevant questions: what went wrong, was it something he could have prevented or were there reasons beyond his control? He took those insights and applied them to his future endeavours, repeating the process until he found a winning formula. It’s essential, stated Ben, to analyse what went wrong, to understand both yourself and your business better, and use the insights to refine and redefine your business. Failure teaches adaptability, an indispensable trait to an entrepreneur.

Cultivate a Growth Mindset

Learning from failure is a distinctive characteristic of winners because it cultivates the growth mind-set. In the ever-evolving market landscape, continuous learning is a must-have quality. Ben’s story stressed the need to stay curious, stay informed, and learn new skills. Your curiosity should be the driving force – whether that entails learning from others ‘successes and failures or learning to constructively use feedback and criticism. At the same time, a growth mind-set determines adaptability, a crucial trait for entrepreneurs. The ability to adapt to market shocks of any kind: changing market conditions, consumer preferences, and technological advancements is what distinguishes a failed venture from a successful one. Ben’s trajectory entailed his willingness to pivot when necessary, exploring new markets or adjusting his business model. Flexibility and adaptability are key to navigating the muddy entrepreneurial waters.

Build a Strong Network & Multi-Skilled Team

Networking played a cardinal role in Ben’s success. Building relationships with other entrepreneurs, investors, and mentors to get support, feedback, advice and access to opportunities helped Ben on his journey. Invaluable for getting insights into industry trends and opportunities, these connections helped Ben shape his entrepreneurial career. Ben leveraged his social media channels to forge likeminded connections and he encouraged the LBS students to share their successes, milestones and thoughts on LinkedIn regularly. These relationships can be invaluable, opening the pathway to potential partnerships and business opportunities.

Ben stressed the importance of having partners with specific talents and work as a team to drive results. It really helps to have the right talent that shares in responsibilities, is as passionate as you are, and has a similar vision. In fact, Ben’s breakthrough came with We are Developers, a company born out of Ben´s, and two other co-founders´ vision.

Finally, networking is about giving back, too. Getting to share your experiences, and helping others in their entrepreneurial journey is a must. He shared his contact details with LBS students and invited them to get in touch.

Maintain a good Work-Life balance

Ben’s journey highlights the importance of perseverance and passion but he also stressed the importance of taking time to relax and reap the rewards of hard work. Entrepreneurship is a marathon, therefore, taking the time to recharge and reconnect with one´s “why” is equally important. If there is no feeling of enjoyment and gratification, the entire journey is pointless, so his ultimate advice was to couple hard work with time off. Taking the time to enjoy your success fuels the passion and the perseverance, otherwise, the journey loses its sense of direction.

Ben’s story, with its ups and downs, offers a blueprint for success to all the aspiring entrepreneurs present at the Fireplace Talk. His genuine and open nature provided much encouragement and reassurance to our students, and his willingness to keep in touch with our students is greatly appreciated by Lauder Business School.


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