Are there any entrepreneurs in your entourage? Yes? Have you noticed that you can learn from their mistakes and the lessons they’ve learned along the way despite the possible differences?
We had the chance to talk to four important people in the world of Luxembourg entrepreneurship about their different career paths, their daily routines, their successes and their failures. The only thing that Stéphanie Jauquet, Carole Retter, Bob Kneip and Robert Goeres have in common is their entrepreneurial experience. Here, we will reveal to you the truths they openly shared.
There is no set path for entrepreneurs
Robert began when he was young and took over the family business. Bob started up when he saw an opportunity as an employee but his company at the time refused to act on his idea. Stéphanie had been dreaming of this since her teenage years. Whereas Carole was destined to have an international job in a major company and became an entrepreneur almost on a whim.
Have you found the common denominator? There isn’t one. No one path looks the same. This said, all four of them now have flourishing businesses. Whether you’ve grown up around entrepreneurs or not, whether you’ve been thinking about this path for a while or not, whether it’s your first choice, a default option or due to a turn of events, all paths are valid. One is not better than the other. What’s important is what you’re doing now, not how you got there.
We have doubts at each new step
Yes, even Bob Kneip who launched his business and made it into a world leader in its industry still has doubts. He even admitted that his worst decisions were the ones that he had no doubts about. According to him, having doubts is a good sign!
In those moments, you can’t ignore the importance of gut instinct which is the main decision maker for Stéphanie, Carole, and Bob. You learn to listen to your gut and to use it in time.
However, you also need to say goodbye to perfectionism and become more flexible. Carole Retter has worked on this a lot over the last few years in order to push doubts to one side. She believes that it helped her a lot. “Better done than perfect!” as they often say. Carole reminds us that the rule of thumb is that what you plan is never what happens.
Stéphanie adds a phrase that her grandmother used to say: “Nothing ever goes as well as we think, but it never goes as bad neither.”
Time is precious
According to Carole, the biggest challenge is finding time. Finding time to manage, to create a vision for her employees, to do what she likes, to launch new projects, to take care of herself and her family. As a single mother, she understands the importance of doing things for herself and for her mind, such as sport. She even makes it a priority and takes time to do sport every week.
We won’t lie to you, they all work hard and put in extra hours. Robert Goeres jokes about only working half the time… 12 hours a day! They admitted that the only way to make it work in the long run is to love what you do.
Make sure that you don’t waste that time! As Bob points out: “Never get above yourself when times are good and don’t lose it when times are hard.”
The important role of your entourage
Bob likes to say that it’s very lonely at the top. Being lonely is commonplace for entrepreneurs and isn’t discussed enough. When you run a company, you’re the only person thinking about how to develop it, making all of the (big and small) decisions, facing competitors, etc. Nobody is there to support you or challenge you. This is why your entourage is crucial! All four entrepreneurs spoke about it in their own way.
Robert explained that he’s dyslexic. This makes reading and writing harder for him but it also means that he had to be strategic from a young age. He made the most of his main strengths and surrounded himself with people who help him with his shortcomings. Nowadays, he mainly works alongside his wife who takes care of part of the family business. He believes that getting help from a person you trust completely is a lifesaver! He quotes Jean-Claude Biver, another famous Luxembourg entrepreneur who always said: “You are only as strong as your partner.”
Associating is not the only path you can explore. Stéphanie Jauquet tried this and failed. Since then, she has surrounded herself with a team of ‘lieutenant employees’ who are experts in their areas. She checks in with them before making big changes or decisions.
Never rest on your laurels
Do we ever rest? According to our four entrepreneurs, it’s not ideal! You have to be on the ball and listen to the market, customers, trends, opportunities and threats. Bob Kneip often says, “We have two ears and one mouth, we must use them proportionally.”
According to Robert, you shouldn’t be worried about the competition which enables you to set new standards and new goals.
As well as listening, you have to be inspired! To do so, you can take part in events, networking groups and training sessions. Bob and Carole add that they also draw inspiration from their favourite sport; running. Ideas just come to you when you run! Stéphanie prefers documentaries and trips. To each their own, as long as it works!
For more inspiration and interviews with entrepreneurs, you can watch Meet an entrepreneur videos in which people talk about subjects linked to entrepreneurship.
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