Celebrating the people behind British small businesses

Six everyday habits of successful entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are a special breed: whether they’re freelance videographers, popcorn sellers, or founders of a software startup, all the small business heroes we’ve encountered are hard-working, creative and tenacious. But what makes them successful? What are the common characteristics of an entrepreneur, and how can they be emulated by other aspiring businesspeople?

There’s certainly no one-size-fits-all recipe for success, so we asked a few entrepreneurs to tell us the one thing they do daily that gets them through the long hours and helps them achieve small biz greatness. Here’s how they hone their entrepreneurial skills with just a little effort each day:


“I try to get up early and meditate for 20 minutes. Meditation helps me clear my head and sets me up for a productive day – I’m able to focus on priority tasks for longer, and I’m less likely to be distracted by email and other stuff that seems urgent but isn’t important in the grand scheme of things.

“It doesn’t happen every day – sometimes I work late or early meetings get in the way – but when I do, I really feel a huge benefit.”

David Kelly, founder of Shareflow, a super-simple collaboration software for creative teams.

Hit the road

“I try to get out and go for a run every day. It forces me to get away from a computer and it’s therapeutic. It’s great to go off-radar and know that no one can call me – that and the fact that it gives me the body of a god!”

Martin McLaughlin, founder of stylish popcorn brand Love Da Popcorn.

Get inspired

“There are a couple of things I do every single day: I always make a point of taking the time to put my headphones in and just walk somewhere, anywhere: there doesn’t have to be a destination or specific place in mind. Music and fresh air allows my mind to wander and process new ideas.

“I also read two blogs every single day: doobybrain.com (for great videos, insights into interesting things and people etc) and petapixel.com (for the sheer camera nerd in me, I love it).”

Gavin White, founder of Slow Motion Video Booth, an epic super-slow-mo video experience for events.

Set goals

“I meditate for 15 minutes each morning. For people who want to try meditation but don’t know where to start, I recommend an app called Headspace. I also run through my diary and set at least one goal for each appointment in there.”

Clare Flynn Levy, founder of Essentia Analytics, a behavioural finance software that helps fund managers make better investment decisions through capturing rich data about their everyday actions.

Dress the part

“If you run a business there is no point getting lost in the background – you have to make sure you stand out. I choose to do this by wearing something yellow every single day. I’ve always had an affinity with the colour and now it’s inherent to my business and its brand. By wearing yellow I give clients and potential clients an ice-breaker or conversation starter, as well a memorable mental image.

“I realised wearing yellow was benefiting the business when I received a call from someone I’d met 6 months earlier giving us a new commission. They told me that they had lost my card and had only remembered the company’s name because I was wearing yellow trousers.”

Andy Parsons, founder and MD of Brighton-based Yelo Architects.

Get connected

“I’m an avid networker – it’s been crucial to the success of my business. Meeting new people and building connections ensures the business continues to grow and that I’m constantly learning new things from new people, so I aim to make a new connection every day.”

Susanna Simpson, founder and MD of PR agency Limelight.