Mindset, risk and ambition: Meet Kristina Pereckaite - Part one

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Chamber Vice-President Jill Woolf recently interviewed Summit workshop leader Kristina Pereckaite, who is the vibrant, delightful and charismatic Entrepreneur Development Manager at the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator hub in Brighton.

Since arriving at the hub two years ago, Kristina has fast become a ‘face’ on the Brighton networking circuit and alongside her team has helped many start-ups and businesses on a growth trajectory through the Entrepreneur Accelerator scheme.

Jill: Tell me a bit about your background and how you came to be at the hub.
My background is mainly in marketing but I’ve always been really interested in start-ups and small businesses, and how to create the right business model to scale. I went to university and worked at several small businesses and start-ups throughout my marketing career, but it was always at the back of my mind that I wanted to support people with their business aspirations. After learning a lot from working within start-ups, I decided to venture out on the entrepreneurial journey myself, as a marketing consultant and then with an online fitness coaching service for busy businesswomen.

During this time, I relocated to Brighton (absolutely falling in love with it straight away) and I came across the Accelerator hubs. They had an opening for a coach and it was such an exciting opportunity I felt like I should just go for it, so I did… and here I am!

It’s been a crazy rollercoaster so far and I’ve met the most amazing people and learned more than I could ever have imagined about start-ups and their journeys. Now I manage the Accelerator and the strategy for us in Brighton.

Jill: What is it about coaching business owners that motivates you?
Being part of and supporting their journey and then seeing how the story progresses is fascinating, you learn a lot. We sometimes find ourselves working with an entrepreneur who is trying to overcome an obstacle and it’s literally make or break in that moment. Supporting them through this and seeing them make it and continue to grow is really rewarding.

Jill: Do you have a sixth sense about each entrepreneur who comes through your door as to whether they’ll be successful, and what do you think gives you that impression?
I like that question! It’s something I’ve been so interested in because you do start to see patterns when you work with so many different start-ups. It’s 100% about mindset. Sometimes you meet someone with an amazing idea but they just don’t have the confidence in themselves to see it through and it’s very unlikely it will go well. And vice versa, it doesn’t have to be the most amazing idea but if you’re really determined to make something happen, then that’s what counts. You do start to get a gut feeling, but sometimes people surprise you – I love it when this happens!

I’ve noticed that if an entrepreneur can make decisions quickly then they tend to accelerate their business quicker than others. For example, if I meet with a founder today and their product isn’t selling then they need to change something. It’s a tough decision as to what they should do – there are two ways someone might deal with this.

The first is to spend the next month trying to come up with the perfect solution. The second is not to overthink it and just make a decision today. If you do the latter, your hasty decision probably won’t have given you a good result but you have ruled it out in one day and learnt something; by continuing this process for the next 10 days you have solved your problem, got a result quicker, and learnt from failure.

Jill: So, it’s about risk-taking?
Absolutely, it’s not the only thing but it seems to be a correlating trend with success in my experience.

Jill: As I’m listening, I’m envisioning a sort of X-Factor element to all of this – do you ever see someone with a brilliant idea without the wherewithal to actually do it and then someone else who is a do-er without a brilliant idea so can you or have you ever created a ‘supergroup’ in X-Factor terms like Little Mix or One Direction of people who could work well together to create something wonderful? Or have I just invented something for the future?!
Wow, I think you have! We do see this quite a lot and I guess it’s our job to help the people who have those great ideas but don’t quite have the mindset yet, to work through it and build their confidence. That’s what we’re here for rather than mixing and matching but there are some companies who do that and I think it’s brilliant because a strong start-up team is all about embracing strengths and weaknesses.

Jill: What are the three most important attributes that make up a successful business owner?
The first without a doubt is that quick decision-making I mentioned earlier. The second is the ability to build relationships because you can have the most amazing idea but if you don’t build your network and don’t go out there and meet people, you aren’t going to be able to take those big steps and find clients.

The third one would be that relentless entrepreneur confidence, not giving up when the going get’s tough. I’ve been in that situation myself and I’ve potentially been put off when others don’t have a great response to one of my ideas. The best entrepreneurs do their customer research and adapt to feedback but equally have an exceptional confidence in what they’re doing that nothing can break.

Find out more about Kristina’s session here. Read part two of this interview here.
Thanks to Jill Woolf, Chimera Communications, for this blog. 

Jill Woolf (right) with Kristina Pereckaite
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