Let me get the self congratulatory introduction out of the way – yes I am writing about winning the Best Young Entrepreneur Award 2012 in the inaugural Hammersmith and Fulham Brilliant Business Awards. It’s incredibly rewarding to win but it’s all down to having the best team who are building the best company and accounting software for the best customers in the world.

In terms of the event itself there are a couple of important themes worth highlighting.

More local business awards needed

Hats off to Nicki Burgess and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham for executing on a superb idea. Although in its first year, the event was extremely well attended and well run. Over 1,000 businesses were nominated and every business that made it to the final awards ceremony received a certificate recognising their achievement – a nice touch.

An awards ceremony that acknowledges local businesses is a brilliant idea as it’s an opportunity to create buzz about small businesses in the community. More business communities need to replicate the success of the Hammersmith and Fulham business awards.

Network with new customers and suppliers 

The event is a great networking opportunity to meet fast growing and successful small businesses that are just down the road from your own business. These are potential future customers and suppliers right on your doorstep.

Discover interesting services

Many of the businesses that made the final awards ceremony were business to consumer. As a consumer it’s interesting to discover local services that are trying to differentiate themselves and provide an excellent service. For example, the runner up in our category, Young Honeys, is a hair dressing salon taking a unique family approach to their craft with face painting for the kids while mum is getting her hair cut.

Marketing platform

Winning an award or reaching the final is a marketing opportunity. There will be coverage about the event and the winners in our local paper, The Chronicle. At the event I met one of the paper’s journalists so I am also hopeful we will get a follow up piece about how we are trying to change the world for small businesses at Clear Books.

Big business supporting small business

There are lots of positives that I have mentioned above but events like this cost money so it is pleasing to see big business supporting small business. Our category was sponsored by West12 Shopping Centre so we are incredibly grateful to them for their generosity. Hopefully, Clear Books will be able to sponsor a prize next year.

A good idea

And finally, a parting piece on being an entrepreneur…

Wikipedia says an entrepreneur is an “enterprising individual who builds capital through risk and/or initiative“. It’s also about selecting the right idea to pursue. You need honest feedback about your idea and if a confidant thinks your idea is rubbish, it probably is.

Over the years I have had many fanciful business ideas which I have become obsessed with. Nearly all of these ideas were shot down by my (now) wife. It’s never nice hearing that someone else thinks your idea is insane. However, the one idea she thought, “well that could work”, was Clear Books and she was right!

If you are looking to set up a new business, use a trusted friend to give you some honest feedback about your idea. When you’ve found good support go for it 100%! As a new business owner you will now need to do your accounts so check out the best online accounting software on the planet, Clear Books!

Posted by Tim Fouracre

Tim founded Clear Books in 2008. Like many small business owners he worked from home for 15 months to get his startup off the ground. Today Tim enjoys helping Clear Books, its customers and its growing team innovate and achieve. Tim did his GCE O Levels in Ghana.