And I think that might be the key to running a successful business; take calculated risks, put yourself in challenging situations, push yourself out of your comfort zone. For me, my comfort zone was in my studio behind a computer screen designing products and developing business strategies. But I needed to tell people about If? Works, otherwise my hard work would have gone unnoticed. So I went to business networking events and introduced myself to other business people. Whenever there was an opportunity to stand up and talk to an audience about my business, I'd take a deep breath and do it.
I wouldn't say I was a shy person, but all the same, I find it quite a challenge to stand in front of business people, who have the power to change your life, and pitch my business or products to them. By pitch, I don't just mean the Dragon's Den style, although I have done those, but generally every time I meet someone and talk about my business.
The nerves never seem to go, but what I've found is I've got better and better at fine tuning them so I can focus and deliver a strong pitch. For me, something that enables me to relax during a pitch is smiling. A smile can really change your pitch, because it not only relaxes you, but it also relaxes the person you're pitching to. Also, don't twitch, or put your hands in your pockets, or look at the floor.
Strike a strong pose, look around the room at people, make eye contact, feel proud of yourself and confident in your business. All that practice will serve you well one day, as it did me when I invited myself to Denmark to pitch my product range to one of the world's leading manufacturers of kitchen products. I remember thinking to myself during my first pitch: "This is it, this is my one and only chance." And I nailed it. All within the first minute: strong handshake, smart suit and tie, standing up straight, with a smile on my face. I felt confident because I projected myself in a confident manner. And by the end of the meeting they were already discussing taking my products to manufacture!
I've been hugely inspired by my grandfather, who I unfortunately never met. He was a miner at Dinnington Colliery, and one day decided to buy a plot of land and build a petrol station on it during a time of economic downturn. He passed it down to my mother, who has always encouraged me to pursue what I enjoy and am passionate about - so I became an Industrial designer. I hope that story encourages and inspires other young entrepreneurs as it did me.
Nathan has been shortlisted for this month's Shell Grand Ideas competition. To vote for him, just fill in a few registration detailsand watch the video, thenvote with one click.