Scoring against the odds

The sequel to The Culture of Capital (published 2005), SCORE looks at a key issue for any entrepreneur: risk.

Fear of failure is the single biggest barrier to business start-up, even above access to capital. Jeopardising a safe job, a good salary and a comfortable lifestyle by striking our on their own is a massive mental hurdle to overcome for most people, and the fear of failure is there at every stage of growth. For those who look at starting their own business straight after leaving full-time education (at whatever age), it's an equally big leap of faith.

Risk is inescapable in business, and is at the heart of almost every decision. Balancing risk with reward, knowing when to jump and when to wait, having the courage now and then to make a leap of faith – these judgements make or break an enterprise.

So how do we convince the region’s potential entrepreneurs that the risk is worth taking? How can they learn to judge risk, and how can they build the resilience and strength to get up and have another go if they do fall down? And how to explain that even if an enterprise fails, the entrepreneur need not?

SCORE examines the thoughts and feelings of 20 entrepreneurs with links to the region, to see what makes them stand out from the crowd; it will show that an entrepreneur can come from anywhere, be anyone, do anything, use any reasonable means. The common character traits are drive, energy and resilience; the willingness to take risks, to put the fear of failure in perspective, to have a go.

Enterprise is not another word for business: it’s an attitude, a mindset. So although the score of risk takers are mostly business owners, there are some from other areas of life – politics, exploration, arts, sport – all of them working to exactly the same principles. Being enterprising is a way of life, not just a way of working.

In depth interviews of the entrepreneurs are underpinned by analysis and comment by business successes, professional, financiers and academics. Not just a good read with plenty of human interest, but a template for Merseyside’s next enterprising generation.