As Oscar Wilde once said 'The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on'' While there may be more to that quote, I like to leave it just there, and on that vein, who better to give you business advice than those who have been there?
So on that note, I spoke to a variety of business owners in the UK and beyond to get their top tips on how to get your business off the ground and tell us the one piece of advice that they wish they had known.
Rebecca De Jager, founder of bespoke gift service www.hugosworkshop.co.uk says
Rebecca's started Hugos Workshop to offer high quality gifts
Ben Maddock, Director of Aim for the Sky an events company that provide unique
team building activities and country sports for corporate events, family parties and stag
and hen dos.
'Be patient, it doesn’t all happen overnight. It takes a time to grow a successful business and for the first few months/years you may need to reinvest your profits to further grow your business. However, it’s worth noting that when you have to work long days it’s good to know that everything you’re doing is helping to build your own business. It definitely'gives you that extra drive and determination when things are tough.'
Edward Relf, CEO of Laundrapp
'One of the most important decisions that you’ll have as an entrepreneur is hiring staff. It is better to not hire at all than to hire an individual just to put a bum on a seat. Doubling in size doesn’t mean you’re doubling in speed as the fastest decisions can often be made by one person on their own. Ensure that you hire the best of the bunch – ‘A-Players’ that hire top talent, not B-Players that want to hire C-Players. As a business leader, it’s important that you build a well-rounded team and most importantly recognise your weaknesses and hire to mitigate them. So, if you’re the smartest person in the room, get the hell out as fast as you can! '
Ariana of Sweat and Sound, an experiential exercise event company
'JUST DO IT. The more you think and plan and strategise the less natural and perfectly imperfect your entry into the market will be. People love seeing new products & services, and people also know that brand new startups are always a work in progress. The key is to show customers an intense passion for what you do. People will buy in and love you not because you have the perfect strategy and everything has been planned to a T, but because the business has SOUL & is a constantly evolving entity - basically, it has to come from the heart!'
''The internet is your friend! There are so many free resources out there with advice on running a business. There are blogs, podcasts, you tube videos. You can learn just about anything you need to if you just look in the right places.
I am currently obsessed with Janet Murray’s Soulful PR Podcast, it’s full of amazing advice on how to get PR for your business and also covers other topics such as social media marketing and blogging.''
Alex Nathaniel owner of Burstimo.com
'Don't keep your business a secret, no matter what the business is you won't be the first person to think of it and most people have too much on their hands to steal your idea. Tell everyone about it who wants to know, but I emphasise the point who wants to know. You can fall in to the trap of receiving gratification for saying "I'm starting a business" then you feel rewarded for being acknowledged for doing it. Then you actually lose motivation there after, as you're already feeling good about yourself. So, keep the business low key to friends and family, always play it down if asked. But with those who are in the industry you should be reaching out, it's amazing the advice, suggestions and support you will be offered.'
Sanjay Aggarwal, Founder, Spice Kitchen - Handmade Spices and Teas
'Launch your product or service quickly, almost as a pilot or as a beta for a tech product. This means from the outset you can gain valuable feedback that can help you improve. In the words of LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, "If you're not embarrassed by your first product release, you've released too late". From experience, I have procrastinated and sat on great ideas for lots of time before launching them, and when they took off I always wish I had done it sooner. Sometimes this has been due to fear and feeling there was too much competition in the market, but later I have realised competition means there is a market for that business, and I develop an idea into a business that will outperform or differentiate.'
Rhea Freeman, of Freeman PR an creator of popular Facebook Group Small & Supercharged
Everyone starts at zero- zero followers,zero subscribers, zero customers. Don't be disheartened. EVERYONE starts at this point! Make use of Facebook groups such as Small & Supercharged! This supports SMEs and can be invaluable if you work alone as there are people to talk to and bounce ideas off.
So these business owners from start ups to SMEs have already been there and done that - and you can learn a lot from them! What tips would you give to someone just thinking about starting a company or venture? Get in touch and let us know!