By Tom Charman, CEO of KOMPAS
As a student entrepreneur, I’m always looking for opportunities that will help me grow myself and my business. So, when I came across the EO Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (EO GSEA) in 2015, I decided to sign up. Around this time, I had exited my second technology business, choosing instead to focus on building something in the travel industry (a field close to my heart). Using artificial intelligence—more specifically, hyper- personalization—I started to create something I thought could change the travel space forever. But, I needed some direction to help me reach the next stage.
Fast forward to May 2016, when I was representing the U.K. in the EO GSEA Global Finals, competing against some of the brightest young entrepreneurs in the world. Held between two of my final exams, the decision to attend was not made lightly. As it turned out, it was a decision that would completely change my understanding of the global market. The value of my EO GSEA experience was immense. I was able to make connections with mentors, several of whom may become advisors to my business in due course. One mentor, in particular, emboldened me to achieve new levels of success. What was meant to be a six-week journey with EO South Florida’s Davide Frau continues to this day.
Davide has been instrumental in how my team and I work together. Thanks to his mentorship, we now have clear, concise and honest communication. Davide also showed me how to better communicate with my customers, investors and interested parties. As a result, I was invited to be a speaker for TEDx, where I talked about the future of technology. Davide has taught me—and continues to teach me—so many lessons about business, leadership and the entrepreneurial journey. Here are a few of the biggest:
Trust your gut. If you’re making a decision and it feels uncomfortable, there’s a good chance it will come back to bite you later.
Communicate clearly. If you’re not with your team day in and day out, it’s important that you communicate clearly, concisely and often.
Embrace change. If things aren’t going as planned, don’t be afraid to take a step back, evaluate and pivot.
As a mentor myself, I can’t emphasize how important it is to have one in your corner. No matter how far along you are as an entrepreneur, guidance is always valuable. As for becoming a mentor, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing someone achieve their goals. Not all businesses are successful, but it’s about the personal development of your mentee that shapes them for future experiences.
Tom Charman (pictured) is an EO GSEA participant and the CEO of KOMPAS.