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Blog - Published 15th February 2019

To ‘Musk’ or not to ‘Musk’

With the technology sector currently being one of the world’s biggest growth markets, it’s surprising that the UK’s growth rate is forecasted to decrease significantly from 4.8% in 2015 to 0.4% in 2019.

Factors impacting the tech sectors growth

Worldwide economic uncertainty creating doubt among financiers and investors, Brexit, the lack of UK government investment and shortage of skilled workers could explain this drop in growth.
Nevertheless, Silicon Valley, home of the US’s technology sector is booming with large corporates such as Apple and Facebook and fast-growing newcomers such as Uber and Netflix, led by entrepreneurial founders.

To delegate or not to delegate?

One thing many tech founders worldwide have in common is the reluctance to delegate, a managerial flaw which can be quite detrimental for fast-developing businesses. Elon Musk, engineer and tech magnate, is a perfect example of a successful innovator struggling to pass on management responsibilities. Although this might not make him the ideal role model for UK start-up founders, there are always lessons to be learned.


Musk Mentality

Musk’s optimistic personality, dedication and ambition has led to some amazing achievements. From working towards commercialised space travel and the colonisation of Mars at SpaceX to building the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in less than 100 days at Tesla, all contributing to his net worth exceeding $20 billion.

Can we categorise an Entrepreneur like Mr Musk?

Generally, we can divide entrepreneurs into two categories, the nurturing and the serial entrepreneur. The first one creates and nurtures a company hands-on in order to pursue their passion. The latter doesn’t necessarily pursue a passion, but executes an idea by starting up a company, building it up to the point of profitability, to then sell it on and repeat the same process again.
Musk does not seem to fit into any of these categories because he has not adapted his approach to management as his empire has grown.

Within different fields, he has founded several different companies which he also attempts to manage on a day-to-day basis. Although his concept development is impeccable, he lacks the necessary skill set to manage the large amount of employees working for him. With a greater effort to delegate and invest in a strong leadership team, Musk could avoid the widespread criticism on his failure to deliver on over-optimistic and bold claims and promises, such as meeting with every injured Tesla employee. Additionally, this could also prevent his alleged 120-hour work weeks, erratic behaviour and impending burnout.


There is no I in Team

A tendency to overwork, driven by the feeling of being personally responsible for their company’s success is a common feature among start-up founders. However, to insure the ongoing success and expansion of a growing business, building a talented and diverse team should be a top priority.

How to assemble a strong team

There are several things to consider when assembling a strong team. First, the business strategy should be determined to ensure that potential new hires share the same view. Although, to fully benefit from the diversity of skills, personalities and backgrounds a team can offer, business leaders should seek advice and adopt an open mind-set to avoid ending up with a group of individuals identical to themselves.

Attracting the right people is the next step. It is a misconception that for most employees their career is solely about making money, many also strive to make a difference and have a positive impact on the world. To be appealing, a business should therefore provide exciting and welcoming opportunities which enables them to gain skills and develop professionally while also giving them enough autonomy in their daily work and control over their projects.

Other excellent incentives are tax-efficient rewards and schemes. Private companies with assets of £30 million or less can set up mutually beneficial schemes such as the Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) scheme to encourage and reward key managers’ loyalty by issuing them with share options which in turn can be used to acquire shares within the business.


Criteria for success as an entrepreneur in the tech sector

Identifying and living up to core business values, delegating effectively and creating an appealing workplace are some of the tech entrepreneur criteria for success. Surrounding themselves with a capable team will allow them to use their own skills to the fullest without having to give up on their entrepreneurial drive.

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Stephen Hemmings - FCA

Partner

If you would like any further information or have any questions please contact either Stephen Hemmings our corporate tax partner and technology specialist or Ed Hussey our director of people solutions.