Lessons from the AIB for Your Business

Noel Davidson is the lead trainer with the Entrepreneurs Academy and the AIB Start-up Academy Bootcamp – our new nationwide initiative that aims to provide entrepreneurs with the tools to make their business a success. Taking place in 19 locations across the country, each Bootcamp is a comprehensive half-day workshop designed specifically for people for people who are in the first few years of their business – covering everything from market research to networking, sales and finances. We spoke to Noel to get some practical lessons for business owners direct from the Bootcamp programme.

1. Take Time Out

Taking time out from your business is a theme that Noel returns to again and again. In fact, he sees it as the most important lesson of each Bootcamp. “For many people when they start up a business, it just becomes a job that they work on day-to-day and that they’re essentially stuck in,” he explains. “Our theory is that you shouldn’t see it just as a job. Instead, you should be aiming to build a business – work on the business rather than get stuck working in the business.”

 

2. Leverage LinkedIn

Noel is a staunch advocate of the power of the wisdom of crowds, and points to LinkedIn as an essential tool for business research. “The power of recommendation is huge,” he says. “If a business contact is recommended to you, you can look them up on LinkedIn and see the contacts you have in common. Which means you can research them before you do business with them.”

 

3. The Power of Search

Another everyday tool that can have immediate benefits for business owners is Google. It’s something that everyone is familiar with but Noel believes isn’t used to its full potential. “We’re all used to using Google every day,” he says. “But when we type something into Google, we often ignore the bottom of the page that shows you related searches. So, if you type in your business area or type, you’re going to see other things that people have been searching around that topic. Not only can that tell you what people want from your product – it can tell you whether they want it at all.”

 

4. Network, Network, Network

One of the major benefits of the Bootcamp is getting the opportunity to talk to and learn from other business owners. But even if you’re not attending, Noel believes that you should still work on your networking when you can. “Setting up a business and running a business is a very lonely role,” he says. “Which is why it’s so important to talk to other business owners. You’ll be able to share learnings and, more importantly, contacts. If you have a hurdle you want to cross and somebody else at a different stage in their journey has crossed it already, their help can be invaluable.”