Don’t laugh: Posh Spice is a model for entrepreneurs

From Spice Girl to entrepreneur there’s not much left of latex-clad Posh
The former pop star followed her passion and ignored the critics

A FEW eyebrows might have been raised yesterday by the news that Victoria Beckham has headed a list of the UK’s top entrepreneurs of 2014. The accolade – from business magazine Management Today – has been awarded based on her estimated wealth (£210m), increasing sales, and the number of jobs her fashion house has created. Her critics say the former pop star and footballer’s wife has built a brand out of celebrity, and from a position of extreme privilege. But does Beckham, the former Posh Spice, have qualities shared by all entrepreneurs? And if so, what are they? Here, with a nod to the musical stylings of the Spice Girls, we look at three of them.

SPICE UP YOUR LIFE
Many entrepreneurs describe having a calling in life – a fulfilling career will never be the same as realising a dream. Of course, in Beckham’s case, following her dreams had already meant success, but many business owners and would-be entrepreneurs will empathise with her wanting more.

Inc columnist Jeff Haden recently wrote that entrepreneurs “hate the idea of finding [themselves] in the wrong life” – dreaming for them is easy, and following that dream becomes an imperative. Moreover, he says, those people are happy to “embrace [their] own definition of success,” be it money, fame or power. For Beckham, self-defined satisfaction is obviously important. Speaking to the Guardian last month, she commented that, while she used to just feel famous, now she actually feels successful.

POWER OF FIVE
Whatever stage a business is at, putting it first is second nature for any entrepreneur. Entrepreneurial StrengthsFinder, a new book from management research company Gallup, looks at the common traits of over 2,500 entrepreneurs. Trumping the usual – determined, risk-taker, self-promoter – was “business focused”. The thing most commonly found in someone who’s set up their own business is the ability to make decisions based on what’s going to grow profit. Being business focused, says Gallup’s Sangeeta Badal, means having “sharp business instincts,” goal-setting for you and your employees, and getting all employees on side in order to deliver that profit. In the past five years, Beckham’s 100-strong firm’s turnover has risen a whopping 2,900 per cent, to £30m.

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?
We frequently hear about the tough times faced by entrepreneurs. And Gallup also stresses the importance of determination. Badal says that “highly successful entrepreneurs... believe [they] have the ability to confront and overcome insurmountable obstacles.” While no-one would remotely suggest that Beckham has fought through the adversity suffered by most business owners, from the lukewarm reception her inaugural 2008 show received, to April of this year, when designers Dolce and Gabbana likened her designs to those of high street store H&M, she has endured her share of setbacks and criticisms over the years. But despite the negative moments – and the circumstantial boosts – she has, as Management Today put it, created a company that is “wildly successful”.

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