Top 10 Tips – Getting the best from your year at NEF

Last week we launched the NEF programme for 2012/13. After an intensive 3 day workshop with sessions on knowing yourself, how to get the most out of your work placement and the importance of personal branding, the new Class of 2013 had the chance to meet five NEF Alumni.

They asked them what they learnt, what they might have done differently and how NEF is going to help them build successful businesses going forward.

Their words of wisdom are summarised in 10 Top Tips below.

  1. Look around you for support Never again will you have a room full of people who are so like-minded. Remember this when you find yourself in difficult times.
  2. Prove yourself to your host company Go in with an open mind. Listen. Watch. Be humble. Get your hands dirty. Make the tea. Do the photocopying. Work hard. Show that you are committed. Push yourself. Push in. You might be tested for months. It’s a marathon. Just like being an entrepreneur.
  3. Talk to people: Network The NEF network is phenomenal. You are going to meet some of the most influential people in the business world this year: heavy hitters, experts, potential investors, and potential competitors. Don’t waste a moment of this exposure. Cultivate relationships. Don’t just ask for favours. Make friends.
  4. Talk to people: share your ideas Don’t be afraid to share your ideas with your mentor, coach, colleagues, or fellow NEFers. Everyone has good ideas. But do they have the team, the investment, the experience and skills to make it successful tomorrow? Probably not. Worry less about NDAs. Opt more for the ‘lean start up’ method.
  5. Read From the FT to the Kernel. Read it all. Regularly.
  6. Write Record what you learn this year in some way. Start a blog. Get a notebook.
  7. Do You will learn far more from failure than from success. Get over your fears by just doing it. Go to those spin out groups on a Sunday evening. Challenge each other and hold each other to account.
  8. Study and learn Go the NEF workshops. Don’t be late. Do your homework. Read those materials before workshops. File them. Get your hard skills up to scratch. Embrace those soft skills.
  9. Use the NEF brand You are 1 of the UK’s top young entrepreneurs. NEF is unique. It has an excellent reputation and an impressive, extensive network. Tell people who you are. What you do. Use it to open doors. Most people, however important or busy, have 15 minutes to spare for a young entrepreneur who is eager to learn.
  10. Tailor your learning You have everything you need this year to be a successful entrepreneur: experience, skills, contacts and support network. You will get the most out of this year if you have a goal and tailor your programme accordingly. However, even if you are totally open mind you will still build up 5 years’ worth of exposure, experience, knowledge, skills and network.

Meet our Alumni
Meet our Class of 2013