If you run a business that relies on vehicles for operations, it can become more and more difficult to manage the fleet as it grows. Keeping the fleet in good working order, making sure that driver safety is a top priority, and saving money on maintenance and repairs can all become much harder to manage as your vehicle numbers rise. Because of this, it’s no surprise that many growing fleet-based companies are turning to fleet management companies. But is this the right solution for your company? Here are some reasons why it might be the best idea.
Two decades ago, London was the place to be. The bustling environment of city life was a haven of opportunity, both personal and professional. Students, graduates, young professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs had their sights set on the cool bars of Soho and classy ‘lunch and learns’ in the hotspots of the capital while enthusiastically scribing their first business plans on whatever napkin or beer mat happened to be available; it was the only place to be.
Bored of the adage 'If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail'? You're not alone. Sadly, truisms - much like a parent's advice - tend to be worth heeding. When it comes to funding, it's best to do it well in advance. Too many companies leave it until there's a cashflow crunch before acting. As trusted advisers, accountants need to play the role of parent, use their wisdom to identify future funding opportunities, model a couple of scenarios, and help clients find a source of finance that doesn't leave them with unfavourable terms.
As December approaches, firms of all sizes will be planning their strategy for 2021. The second lockdown in England has brought yet another blow to the business world, and proves that industries will continue to be impacted by COVID restrictions and a new way of working. Planning for 2021 may be challenging this year, especially for small firms who have found their usual service heavily disrupted.
Of all the industries in the world, the jewellery business is one of the most traditional and old-fashioned. It is also the most reliant on direct interaction between master craftsmen and merchants. The most precious metals and stones in the world pass from hand to hand in a supply chain that has barely changed in hundreds of years.
On 25th November 2020, the EU Commission published a new intellectual property action plan. The action plan, touted as “an intellectual property action plan to support the EU’s recovery and resilience” outlines possible future moves, noting that intangible assets are “the cornerstone of today’s economy”, with IPR-intensive industries generating 29.2% (63 million) of all jobs in the EU during the period 2014-2016, and contributing 45% of the total economic activity (GDP) in the EU worth €6 trillion.
For many, December will soon mark almost eight months of continuously working from home, a complete shift from normality when it comes to working and riding the balance between work and home life. Google trends data also reveals searches for ‘burnout’ peaking as the UK entered a second national lockdown earlier in November.
If you own or run a small or medium sized business (SMB), chances are you’ve heard a lot about data: how it can give you new customer insights, tell you more about your staff, or help you make better business decisions. All of that may be true, but you’re also likely thinking about one key question: how does data help me boost my revenue?
As we near the end of a year unlike any other, many business owners will be hoping for a more optimistic 2021 and preparing to turn a new leaf. The crisis is not over yet, but it has already shown us the importance of resilience, resourcefulness, and vigilance for businesses and there are many key lessons for us to carry into the New Year.
A leading business insurance broker has urged firms and SMEs to get new insurance quotes in 2021. Get Indemnity, the digital insurance broker polled 650 SMEs and found that 68% of participants had not sought alternative insurance quotes in the past three years - and a further 32% had not applied for new quotes in the past five years.
Starting a business is hard. You only need to look at the failure rate to confirm it. And that’s in a normal, non-pandemic year. For anyone starting out now or looking to do so soon the challenges are astronomical. This is because as well as all the normal startup hurdles involving financing, staffing, cash-flow and the like, businesses are beset with a legacy of COVID-19 and the wider economic ramifications it will leave.
Xilinx Ventures, the corporate venture programme of US technology company Xilinx, has invested over $125m in more than 30 global startup businesses over the last three years, covering technologies in data center, communications, machine learning, automotive, edge computing, and innovative silicon design. It therefore seemed an ideal port of call for this issue’s Startups Launchpad feature. We caught up with Sagi Paz, Head of Xilinx Ventures, and Patrick Rundell, Manager at Xilinx Ventures, to find out more.
From full national lockdown and the gradual easing of constraints, to a three-tiered regional system of restrictions and then back into another national lockdown. It’s been a long and arduous time for everyone since COVID-19 first reached our shores earlier this year, and even more so for the many hardworking business owners up and down the country trying to keep disconnected workforces operating smoothly.
Podcasts are a great way to build your brand and tell the story of your business. Over the past five years, there has been an explosion in the number of corporate and business podcasts available and with it a growth in engaged podcast audiences. According to a September 2019 Ofcom report over seven million people in the UK listen to podcasts each week, a 24% growth over the previous 12 months.
In the second part of this business mix article series we see Brash Solutions Limited focus on technology. But not the sexy tech of product development, more the ‘behind the scenes tech’ that keeps you operating and secure – a real fundamental backbone to the operations of every business, regardless of size.
This week is Global Entrepreneurship Week, designed to celebrate ambitious individuals within the business world, and those who have believed in their own abilities and branched out on their own. Despite the waves of shock that the pandemic has brought to the business world, there has been a 12% increase in new businesses starting during 2020 already compared to 2019.
Thousands of new businesses are setting up during the pandemic, a new report has revealed. 'How Startsups Can Kickstart The Economy', published by law-firm, Harper James Solicitors, details how 41,620 more incorporations happened in the first quarter of 2020 than in the first quarter of 2012. This represents an increase of almost a third (32.5%).
In the UK alone, there are hundreds of thousands of new businesses opened up each year, and it’s a number that’s only getting bigger. Whether your startup is based around technology, products or services, these businesses represent a massive part of the UK industry. With the rapid growth and an increasingly tech-savvy approach to getting things done, startups in the UK are the perfect fit for the growing number of apprentices. Here are just some of the main reasons why startups and apprentices are the perfect fit for one another.
For everyone around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of all of our lives. But what lessons have we learned about virtual verses reality? In many ways, it is those that work that have seen the largest changes. Before 2020, the chances are that if you asked your boss if you could work from home they would have come up with many reasons why it was not possible and, if you were allowed, it would only be very rarely, and you would be made to feel as though you had been given a great favour.
Customer service organisations need to prioritise business continuity plans to ensure their customer service efforts remain unaffected by any future disruption. That means investing in digital contact centre technology to emerge from the disruption with both customers and employee satisfaction intact.
If your business is doing well in the local market it is normal for the entrepreneur to think of expanding the business internationally to attract new prospects. You will find many advantages of taking your business forward internationally including newer opportunities in the sales and growth sectors and there are more opportunities to make your business more competitive in your niche market.
Subscriptions seem to be everywhere around us these days; they are here, and they’re growing more than ever. The benefits of shifting to a subscription model is motivating many of today’s disruptive tech companies. Take a look at Apple, for instance; this is a company that used to be known for their premium consumer devices, and now they have expanded their business to offer additional services and subscriptions.
business mix Limited does two things; we help large organisations operationalise their innovation strategy and, more importantly here, we support startup and SME sized companies with their operational growth. But the sizzle to our sausage is that collaboration is absolutely at the heart of everything we do. We deliver first class services to our clients yes, but we’re a community and network fundamentally.
The sudden move to working from home has been a challenge for many SMEs. With smaller teams often benefitting from close knit relationships with their colleagues, COVID-19 is forcing many businesses to reconsider their approach to employee wellbeing. In many cases, however, this is easier said than done, with research from Wildgoose finding that nearly half (47%) of employees at SMEs are finding that their mental health has been negatively impacted by the pandemic.
Simply put, working in a team means collaborating with other people to achieve a common goal. This, of course, presents several benefits. For starters, working together in a project ensures that work is completed on time, hitting deadlines much easily. What’s more, a team pulls together people with different talents and skills, making problem-solving easier and enhancing creativity and innovation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has crippled numerous aspects of our lives, and quickly escalated into one of the most profound healthcare crises’ the world has faced to date. Whilst the health impact has been widely reported across the globe, we are also seeing alarming ripple effects of the pandemic in other areas, which are going unnoticed.
When it comes down to managing one’s personal health, small changes can lead to significant improvements, according to Sarah Bolt, the founder and CEO of Forth, a digital healthcare service in the UK. Self-improvement starts from within, and Sarah is the ambassador of this belief; Sarah is championing the innovation of personalised biomarker profiling to help others with self-improved health. Forth’s biomarker profiling starts with an at-home blood testing kit that is sent back to the lab where it is analysed for over 50 key internal biomarkers integral to good health. By reporting the results to an app, it shows users how the body is performing, allowing them to optimise their lifestyles to reach their personal best.
Halloween may have just passed, but it feels like this whole year has featured lots of tricks and very few treats. Before January 1st rolls around, we’ll have experienced two national lockdowns, a huge cultural shift to working from home on a mass scale, and many will have felt enormous mental and emotional strain as a result.
We are failing to meet our CO2 emission goals, seeing widespread overexploitation, and entering a sixth mass extinction event. This doesn’t bode well for a strong economic future. The science screams for urgent action, yet society seems to be slumped, dragging its feet towards a more sustainable future.
The word 'disruption' has long been a buzzword in startups and small businesses looking to take on larger rivals, often with a reputation for doing things a certain - old fashioned - way. The global energy market has been flooded with 'disruptors' while the multi-billion pound FinTech industry has long revelled in its 'challenger' moniker.
It was 2am on a cold December morning when I attempted to get a ride home after a rather disappointing Christmas party. I pulled out my phone and opened up Bolt. At that time of night drivers were few and far between. I was matched with a driver on the other side of the Thames to myself with an estimated arrival time of 27 minutes.
$6tn in the next five years, this is how much the world will spend through contactless payments, according to analyst firm Juniper Research. For many of us who have discovered and since relied heavily on contactless payments since its introduction in 2007, either through card, phone, or watch, or those of us who have taken a stroll down a COVID-era high-street to see shop windows adorned with 'card payment only' signs, this is hardly a surprise.
COVID-19 has driven a period of rapid adoption for digital technologies amid a climate of business contraction and job losses, but I encourage you to try to look behind the headlines for something more positive. I believe that this can be found in the statement: "The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated changes already occurring in society.”
Since the beginning of the year, wellbeing has been a prominent topic of interest among Brits, in fact, searches for the term ‘wellbeing’ have increased by 257% in the past five months. As people continue to spend more time indoors, Rebecca Snowden, Interior Style Advisor at FurnitureChoice.co.uk, explains how to create a calming oasis to maintain wellbeing at home.
The international pandemic has forced every founder to re-evaluate their strategy, urgently! I’ve paid close attention to the media and have noticed that the business model pivot topic has certainly been well covered. The article that surprised me the most, was one by Sifted that referenced a Station F survey of VC funded startups in Europe, the USA and Israel. The stat that grabbed me was this one: 80% of the startups involved had gone through some kind of business model pivot in the last few months. That’s a lot of change, especially considering that startups are also dealing with other challenges related to the pandemic.
The worldwide pandemic COVID-19 has been dictating where and how businesses operate. The lockdown forced (and continues to force) many companies into a state of ‘remote working’. With little time to prepare, many startups have been scrambling to find new ways to communicate, collaborate and share valuable business information.
Remote working is here to stay. According to a survey by KMPG, 68% of CEOs are planning to move operations online and downsize office spaces. As more businesses realise that employees do not need to be under the same roof to be successful, they are considering how to embrace a more flexible work environment.
Like pretty much everything else that has happened so far in 2020, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are going to look a bit different this year. When we think of Black Friday, we imagine bustling crowds swarming into shops and busy customers, battling to bag a bargain. This year, however, 70% of consumers say that they're not planning on returning to physical shops for the foreseeable future. This means retailers need to take an online-first approach to Black Friday.
Today’s workplace culture has many employees feeling the pressure to turn up to the office at all costs, even when ill; however, the global pandemic COVID-19 has shown it is more critical than ever for businesses to tackle the widespread challenge of 'presenteeism' especially when majority are working from home.
With the ever-growing numbers of people who are in the white collar jobs, against the very limited space in towns and cities where most people would prefer to get an office, there is a need to put up offices in homes. Also in this pandemic season, working from home has become a part of the new normal. Remote working has greatly helped in decongesting offices and minimising the need for daily commute.
Company culture has a big effect on our overall happiness and wellbeing. A toxic workplace culture can impact someone so dramatically that it affects their performance and can create a ripple effect into their families’ lives. By having a supporting, caring and inspiring working environment, employee health is improved which impacts the business’ bottom line through increased productivity and the creation of positive brand ambassadors for your business.
As many UK businesses begin to reopen, investor eyes will be sharply focused on whether startup companies can withstand the ongoing COVID-19 storm. However, investors do not need to stand by nervously as these fortunes are gradually revealed. By being actively engaged in the development of portfolio companies, investors can not only identify earlier the budding businesses likely to emerge strongest, they can also move quickly to help the most challenged.
The Coronavirus is spreading like wildfire all over the world and because of that, it’s becoming more and more difficult for businesses to keep their operations going. Since March this year, 40% of all businesses in the United States have been closed down because of the Coronavirus. Due to that, many businesses are faced with more challenges than usual.
In the past three years, I have worked with a number of businesses and clients from all sizes of company and all industries. Whilst the companies and people differ, one thing is constant for nearly every single person I have met since starting my consultancy: most people fear, hate or avoid selling.
Brexit immigration is one of the shocking events that shocked the world, specifically the UK citizens. The changes that have been foreseen due to these changes predict a huge transition in the economy and the country at large. As the decision was made in June 2016, the majority vote made the UK exit the European Union severely. The Brexit mainly affects the immigrants predominantly leaving them with terms and conditions that they need to follow, and this article highlights some of the impacts of this legal move.
It is hard to imagine a single business that has not suffered disruption and loss as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is therefore no surprise that business insurance and in particular, business interruption insurance, has become a subject of great importance recently in the boardrooms of so many UK businesses. Here, Jonathan Cole, Solicitor at Goodman Derrick LLP gives us this tips on obtaining effective business insurance.
The amount of fraud that companies face on a daily basis has rapidly increased since the beginning of the global pandemic. Country-wide lockdowns saw customers forced to move many aspects of their lives online, whether for shopping or socialising. To keep up with these changing behaviours, companies have had to enter the digital arena, many for the first time.
This year has been more turbulent than most. From setting out strategic business goals to embarking on new personal adventures, plans set out - in all aspects of life - have been well and truly rumbled. However, as businesses try to navigate the choppy waters posed by the pandemic and the changing needs of their people, customers and suppliers, they should strive to take advantage of this window of opportunity by rethinking how they operate.
The Secret Leaders Podcast is now launching its sixth season (starting with John Cleese), Secret Leaders has rapidly grown into one of the UK’s most popular business podcasts (often ranking number 1 according to Apple). Hosted by serial founder Dan Murray-Serter whose entertaining but intimate style allows him to elicit surprising and personal revelations from his guests, and here we get a chance to read about some of the first episode.
Starting a business can seem like a daunting prospect, given that if you Google 'startups and fail', there are lots of articles on the percentage of startups that fail before they get going, which could put you off even getting started. However, by being well prepared and informed before you start the process, you may be able to avoid some of the common pitfalls and become one of the 2/10 startups that succeed.
Computer vision has established itself as a worthy addition in a gamut of industries. Including automobile, education, healthcare, e-commerce, agriculture and more. It has managed to create a niche segment for itself, making it an absolute essential for industries to maintain their position staunchly in the market. Here ICarta Technologies delves into the world of computer vision, particularly in automation.
In business, it is always important to react to changing circumstances and this has never been more true than in 2020. Regular readers will know that I have written a lot this year about adapting and pivoting but this week I wanted to look at something that can be an aspect of that but also has an impact on most other aspects of business – speed.
There is a lot of wisdom that comes from having built up a successful sustainable business from the ground-up. Although I can now attribute them as 'learnings', many purpose-led start-ups perceive them to be modern-day taboos. The truth is, for your startup to not be a part of the 20% that don’t survive beyond their first year, or the 60% that go bust within their first three years, you need to be able to dispel the following five taboos for your startup to thrive.
Lockdown changed the rulebook for how we live and work, for all of us. As entrepreneurs, we have the in-built advantage that we’re wired to manage uncertainty and finding solutions is our happy place. Only this time, it was without the backdrop of our gloriously airy EC2 co-working space, surrounded by my talented team and fuelled by yummy flat whites from the local coffee shop. It was happening from my home-office, in isolation, in a London that was quickly becoming unfamiliar.
There is no denying that 2020 has been an extremely difficult year for the healthcare industry. COVID-19 continues to bring challenges to the delivery of all aspects of hospital and community care and the need for innovation has, arguably, never been greater. Fortunately, the healthtech ecosystem in the UK is as vibrant as ever and entrepreneurs across the space have responded by working tirelessly to solve the problems thrust upon clinicians and patients.
As the ongoing economic impacts of COVID-19 continue to be felt, there is an often-forgotten segment that has the potential to spearhead the UK’s re-growth in years to come. Pre starts, startups and SME’s hold the potential to move at pace and expand quickly to support a fledgling economy, provided they receive the right support at the right time and most importantly, at the right price.
At a startup, you are most likely to come across Intellectual Property (IP) due diligence in the form of investors conducting due diligence prior to investing or from potential partners or collaborators seeking to work with your company or license in your IP. It is important to know what to expect so you can present your company in its best light. You may also wish to conduct your own IP due diligence on other companies prior to working with them or licensing them your technology.
Voice Assistants are the trendsetters for voice tech. They have revolutionised the way we live our lives. In 2019, the global user base of voice assistants was 3.25 billion. What might amaze you is that the same is estimated at almost eight billion units, that is, even more than the global population! Here ICarta Technologies tells us more about the voice technology landscape.
Since the launch of London’s Silicon Roundtable in 2008, UK tech startups have enjoyed more than a decade of strong interest from Venture Capitalists (VCs). Spurred on by the success of fast-growth consumer tech companies like Uber or Deliveroo, VCs have sought out startups that could break into the public zeitgeist to become the world’s next big thing. This culminated in more than $13bn being pumped into British technology startups in 2019. Then, the pandemic struck.
It’s been two years since the very first digital tax pilot from HMRC, commonly known as Making Tax Digital (MTD). Initially, HMRC required UK businesses above the VAT threshold to process their returns digitally. It has now been announced that businesses that are VAT registered and are below the VAT threshold must also be compliant with MTD, from April 2022. The self employed and landlords must be compliant by April 2023.
COVID-19 has made history by affecting each industry in the world. From the lockdown that caused the closure of businesses to people adapting to work from home, there is a need to identify strategies of how businesses will be run going forward. The pandemic has disrupted how people socialise as well as their shopping patterns. To adapt to this new normal, business owners have to make significant adjustments to reach out to their customers or less they risk failure.
Communication has always been key in running a business, and indeed in most other aspects of our lives. In 2020 many lessons have been learned or reinforced and it has reminded us all how very unpredictable life can be. But one of the most obvious changes that should be apparent to all, has been in the way that companies are communicating.
When launching a health app, it is always about convincing other people to change the habits of a lifetime. When we began pitching Joint Academy to physiotherapists - top-level professionals who had always treated patients hands-on and face-to-face - they initially saw no reason why they would ever do physio remotely.
Many entrepreneurs' daily focus has gone from doing business as usual to doing everything to fight for survival. It’s not easy to run a business during times of COVID-19, especially when you’re in an industry where you rely on people physically coming in. Mike Jordan, CEO of Summit Defence, has put together ten tips to make sure your retail business or restaurant is COVID-proof.
Saturday 10th October is World Mental Health Day. It arrives during the strangest time we’ll ever likely face in our lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each year’s theme is set by the World Federation for Mental Health, and this year’s is 'mental health for all'. This encourages us to think of different demographics and communities of people and how they are faced with issues and problems in their lives.
One of the significant demands resulting from the Coronavirus crisis of 2020 has been the need for new and novel ways for voluntary support to be facilitated. The ability for assistance to reach the most vulnerable or living in isolation or quarantine in safe ways is vital to saving lives and mitigating the spread of the pandemic.
As with every sector, the sports industry has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The after effects will no doubt continue to reverberate for some time to come even once we emerge from this global health crisis. However, sport is unique in that it plays a different role to many other activities in life; it provides a space for people to come together for rituals and traditions, often harking back for generations.
In my previous blog, I considered the steps necessary for business leaders to close the gap between rhetoric and reality on racial equity at work. This time, I wanted insight on what is actually happening on the frontline. I sat down with award-winning business strategist and founder of The Black British Business Awards, Melanie Eusebe. She has risen to the upper- echelons of the corporate world, and in our broad conversation offered her perspectives on corporate responsibility, solidarity, and how we sustain the current momentum.
Opening a new business during a period of economic and social crisis, such as the current pandemic, may seem like a risky venture and for certain sectors this may certainly be true. However, for those looking to launch a new tech project, particularly one that supports remote working or artificial intelligence, then there may have never been a better opportunity.
Some people are doing very well out of the pandemic - the fraudsters. That’s because the chaos COVID-19 has caused makes it far easier for them to operate. Have you increasingly been asked to provide personal data to strangers since March? Have you changed any of your habits? Gordon Ramsey himself couldn’t have created a more perfect recipe for rising fraud. How can you make yourself as safe as possible and if you have been a victim, what should you do next?
The startup world is no stranger to fleeting fads. We’ve seen an influx of monthly subscription boxes, e-commerce savings communities, and even a rise in nostalgic games like Pokemon Go. While those were all fun and games while they lasted, users eventually lost interest and moved onto the next shiny thing.
Online conferences and events aren’t new, but the coronavirus pandemic has brought them from a niche activity to a mainstream channel. In the absence of in-person events and conferences, online ones are providing one of the best ways for startup founders to meet one another, learn from each other, and gain inspiration for building their businesses in a safe, socially distanced manner.
For years now, there has been a huge demand for developers, all with different skillsets, from coding specialisations to full-stack backgrounds. And this is unsurprising, as until recently, many startup accelerators and incubators were hesitant to accept companies without technical co-founders or a built MVP.
This week saw the national final of Santander's Emerging Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurship Awards 2020. Since May, 81 businesses from Santander’s network of 85 partner universities have been put through their paces during a series of expert-led online workshops and webinars, covering a range of topics under four key themes – money, management, marketing and motivation.
The world of online retail has progressed significantly since the launch of eBay and Amazon in 1995 and online channels are now a key source of revenue for retail businesses. As customers increasingly move to shopping online, rather than in physical stores, retail startups evermore question the need for a physical store to sell their products.
There has always been debate as to what the optimal number of co-founders is for a startup. Some people prefer to go solo, while others choose to work in teams of two or three. It’s certainly an interesting question - products can pivot and evolve, funding can often be found somewhere, competitors will come and go, and the market will always fluctuate, but through it all it is the team of founders that hold the company’s DNA.
We are facing multiple attacks on the working world as we used to know it. Technological disruption has forced change into almost all industries. COVID-19, the climate emergency and the need to take Diversity & Inclusion seriously is forcing fledgling companies to adapt at lightning speed if they are going to survive, let alone thrive.
What qualities make an entrepreneur? What character traits are typically seen in entrepreneurs? Are these qualities and character traits something that they are born with or do they change over time? Can they be learned? Is it nature or nurture? Whatever the answers, it is certainly true that some people take to being an entrepreneur naturally whilst others would be so far out of their comfort zone that they would never even consider the idea.
When it comes to reimagining what the events industry will look like in the near future, these are the four things we should be thinking about according to Wolves Summit’s Vice-President, Mike Chaffe. Mike grew Wolves Summit to become one of the largest tech conferences in CEE. In March this year, when most tech events were put on hold, he made the decision to organise Wolves Summit 11th as a fully virtual event. Over 1,500 participants, 600 startups, and 300 investors tuned in online to be part of the former edition. Since then the Wolves Summit team has also organised other events on behalf of some of the largest organisations in Poland and worldwide. Wolves Summit now offers technical support to CEE & CIS based Hopin clients. Hopin is an event software that has recently secured $40M in funding. We spoke to Mike to find out more about the future of events.
Whether it’s a natural disaster, global health pandemic or economic downturn, businesses are inevitably going to encounter some unexpected circumstances that are out of their control. It’s not always straightforward for companies to keep operations running smoothly during these unprecedented times, but the highest priority should be to nurture employees and support the company culture. But how do organisations invest in the business culture, while still taking care of the company’s changing needs?
Throughout the pandemic, SMEs have had to adapt to survive - which has been no mean feat. In many cases, technology has proved to be essential in keeping operations running during lockdown. Whether it be shifting entire workplaces to remote working, or using video conferencing tools and cloud accounting software, small businesses have been relying on tech more than ever before.
We’re living through a time of economic uncertainty, so it’s no surprise that money worries are responsible for a high level of stress and anxiety right now. Financial concerns can have a huge impact on an employee’s performance and productivity levels at work and employers therefore have a duty of care to their people when it comes to financial wellbeing.
It’s no secret that women are still widely underrepresented in the gaming industry, particularly when it comes to video and mobile game development. Whilst this has been historically accounted to the common misconception that gaming is a predominantly masculine hobby, women actually make up a significant amount of the industry, representing nearly half of hyper-casual gamers.
In 2013, four years after having my first child, I finally waved farewell to the prospect of high value, full-time employment in the digital advertising sector. Juggling a client in Asia (early mornings), a client in North America (late nights), a workplace culture dominated by presenteeism, the needs of a pre-schooler and a four hour round trip commute, something had to give. And that something was me.
I set up SimplyHair in 2013. I was working alongside my husband, Pip, to grow digital marketing agency, digitalbeans and also juggling a role in customer services and a side business as a mobile hair extension stylist when I realised how poor online purchasing experiences were in the hairdressing trade.
Written by Amy Filippaios, Founder of ecommerce wholesaler, SimplyHair and Creative Director at digitalbeans
As we carry on focusing on female founders and women in tech ahead of our next issue, we decided to catch up with Lindsay Gledhill, a partner at UK law firm, Harper James Solicitors. Lindsay heads up the Intellectual Property (IP) team. She has specialised in IP exploitation and dispute resolution since 1997. It has made Lindsay the go-to lawyer for IP-rich firms who wish to protect and exploit their proprietary technology in fast-growing and international markets.
Tailoring your marketing efforts to a global audience can be a perfect chance to expand your business and reach prospective clients that may not otherwise learn about your products or services. Targeting a global audience, however, requires having an in-depth understanding of regional laws, cultures, and purchasing behaviours. Here are four clever ways to market your business abroad.
Startup founders and investors, especially in Silicon Valley, often talk about scratching your own itch as a way to reach the highly sought-after product-market fit, which will then accelerate your company to greatness. It’s likely that your problem isn’t unique, the theory goes, so by solving it you could stumble upon an idea for a product that could help thousands or even millions of people.
In the current turbulent economic climate, many startups will be faced with financial challenges. In many sectors and industries, employers have not seen a return to pre-lockdown customer demand. That being the case, the starting point is to think about what your structure will look like for this new normal?
For years, if not decades, being a ‘woman in tech’ has been seen as the exception to the rule and for many, a career path that’s littered with challenges. According to a Women in Tech report from PWC, only 5% of leadership positions in the tech sector are held by women, a paltry 3% of females say a career in tech is their first choice and only 16% of females have had a career in tech suggested to them (vs 33% of males).
A rise in startups born during the pandemic is hugely positive but also not surprising. We’ve had more time to think and do and explore new avenues, particularly where existing business models or employment have ceased to exist. Necessity truly is the mother of invention. But while the pandemic has created new opportunities, the lending environment for startups looks set to be challenging.
As the Founder/CXO of a startup, your other title is CFFO, or Chief Fire Fighting Officer. You don’t have time to attend a one-day workshop to solve a current problem in your business, let alone read a white paper on the topic. You need quick reads that provide you with answers to your problems now. And that is the purpose of this article.
Boosting employee morale is one of the most crucial topics that every leader should consider when finding ways to steer their small businesses to grow exponentially. Low morale can result in poor cooperation, low productivity, and augmented turnover. Several studies have demonstrated that focusing on enhancing morale in the workplace can have a tremendous impact on a company’s growth.
Back in 2015, representatives from nations all around the world met to sign an initiative that would help combat the damaging effects of climate change. This very first globally collective effort in terms of reducing greenhouse emissions, to which 179 countries have formally agreed their commitment, focusses on limiting the rise in global temperature increases by two degrees above its preindustrial measurement.
The return to the office has sparked some interesting debate. Our own research has found that individuals are more concerned about their work-life balance and having to commute than the impact of COVID-19 to their health. And similar themes have been explored around the attitudes of staff in different countries and why the UK is lagging with a proposed return compared to European counterparts.
Founders typically establish a business with one of two game plans in mind. They either want a lifestyle business and one that fits their work life balance, or they want to build a business and grow it with the ultimate goal of building something of value that they can exit when the time is right for them. For any founder seeking to raise finance for their company, or to sell it, whether a lifestyle one or one with more ambitious plans, there will always be the need for a valuation.
As we continue to work towards the government’s net zero emissions by 2050 commitment, businesses are naturally becoming increasingly aware of the need to be more eco-friendly. Other strategies, such as the Clean Growth Strategy, which aims to promote economic growth at the same time as decreasing emissions, mean that the focus on having a positive effect on the environment is now higher than ever.
Online streaming giant Netflix, which has over 150 million paid subscribers in over 190 countries, collects data from its users. Using advanced analytics to understand customer behaviour and buying patterns, the company makes extremely relevant customer recommendations, helping it achieve an impressive 93% customer retention.
Remote working has been in the technology ecosystem for many years. I have personally been doing partial remote work for the last ten to twenty years and what I have found is surprising. Most individuals are not used to this style of work which is accelerating a nationwide transformation of company culture.
It’s received wisdom that successful startups solve real world problems. But there’s a commonly overlooked footnote to this mantra: you can’t try to solve a problem unless you’ve lived it first. Because without gaining the authentic understanding of lived experience, you’ll never find a solution that works in practice as well as in theory.
A few years ago, journalists at The Daily Telegraph arrived at their London office on a Monday morning to discover that ‘Occupeye’ sensors had been installed over the weekend on the underside of each of their desks. The management team defended the installation ‘…as part of the Telegraph's commitment to green energy measures,’ claiming they were simply conducting a four-week study aimed at optimising the building’s use of lighting, heating and air conditioning. The study’s subjects were not impressed.
Ask anyone which location they’d associate with startups, and my money would be on “Silicon Valley” being their answer. But in the past few years, global investors have been shifting their collective gaze to Europe. Forbes reports that the first half of 2019 broke the record for tech investment in Europe: £17.2bn was invested in the continent’s tech startups. Similarly, Europe was pretty much on par with the United States when it came to the existence of startups backed by venture capitalists.
As much as we hate this phrase, Babble was born in the cloud. We don’t have any fixed technology so naturally, when Boris gave the order to stay at home our business found it easy to adapt. Our employees work, collaborate and communicate around one central platform, available on any device, anywhere. Our contact centre isn’t fixed to an office with phones and headsets, and our cyber security isn’t something we ever need to worry about.
As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, many employers are having to think about how they go about bringing back employees to the office, and what this might look like in the future. Anthony Rose, CEO and co-founder of SeedLegals here gives his take on what London's top startups are saying about the office.
Coronavirus has caused businesses around the world to face the most impactful shake up in traditional operations many of us have ever experienced, one person who knows a lot about businesses is Business Development Director at The Translation People, Alan White, so Startups Magazine spoke to him about the current climate.
The coronavirus crisis and the impact it has had on businesses and financial resources has made the prospect of growing a business seem like a distant reality for some organisations. But for British small and medium-sized B2B organisations, Brexit is an opportunity to look beyond the EU to new geographies.
The coronavirus pandemic has sent shockwaves through the global economy. Businesses of all sizes are reeling from a crunch on both supply and demand. Staff members off sick or having to look after small children, disruption to supply chains, a significant drop in revenue due to lockdowns and a reduction in consumer spending have presented challenge after challenge.
In 1944, as the WWII was drawing to a close, a gentleman called Harold Samuel decided to start buying houses which had basically been demolished due to the bombing. The idea, seen crazy by many (after all, what is the value of a pile of rubble?), did work, as his company - Land Securities - went on to become the UK’s leading property company: a position it still holds today.
As with everything about starting a business, different people do it for different reasons, and they have different levels of ambition. Some people want it to remain a side hustle or a very modest lifestyle business whilst others have plans from day one to scale and grow it into a multi-million GBP international operation.
When it comes to tapping into the entrepreneurial mindset to mine some golden nuggets of inspiration for business growth, who better to speak to than a winner of the BBC’s Apprentice. Therefore, when we had the opportunity to speak to 2014 champion Mark Wright, founder of Climb Online and the CLIMBCON business event, we jumped at the chance.
Semiconductor manufacturer Infineon Technologies has always been keen to work with startups and entrepreneurs and has done for many years. However, a year ago the company took the decision to make this collaboration more structured and more visible to the outside world, and so introduced its startup cooperation programme, Inno.Wafer. We spoke to the man heading up that programme in EMEA, Lamin Ben Hamdane, to find out more.
Over the past few months, most businesses have had to rethink how they operate and how they reach their customers. At the same time, there’s been drastic changes in customer behaviour, with huge increases in online purchases. For example, Shopify saw a 68% MoM growth of UK consumers estimated to make a purchase online from a UK Shopify merchant for the first time in April 2020.
Following the global sports hiatus brought on by the coronavirus pandemic many sports have now returned to action, much to the delight of fans worldwide. We’ve recently seen the likes of Europe’s top football leagues finish up the remaining games of their seasons and now eyes are well and truly stateside with the NBA, MLB and NHL returning over the past few weeks.
Talking all things AI and new and emerging technologies at the moment, as we prepare for our next issue - out tomorrow! Startups Magazine spoke to Andy Baggott, Marketing Manager at Kafoodle - a fast-growing food tech company launched in 2016 with the goal to simplify food safety and kitchen compliance, helping the hospitality industry manage their ingredients, recipes and allergen information.
To celebrate Startups Magazine's latest issue release (this week), which is focused on AI and emerging technologies, here at Tractable, recent winner of Best UK startup in the Hustle Awards, we decided to explain a bit about how we're bringing AI to the world on a commercial basis. Accidents and disasters affect millions of people every year. And the recovery process always starts the same way - assessors inspect the damage, approve an insurance claim, and unlock the funds to begin the rebuild.
UK newspaper, ‘The Guardian’ reported last month that hospital trusts across England urgently need more equipment to prepare for an upcoming wave of operations and procedures deferred by COVID-19. The article highlighted that hospitals need 'staff and space to deal with a huge backlog of scans for cancer and other conditions, as more than 600,000 people await CT, MRI and other scans amid the coronavirus crisis.'
The debate around the future of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and what it means for humanity is very much alive. It probably has been since 1927, the year Metropolis was released. If you haven’t seen it, the film stars a humanoid robot intent on world domination and human slavery. As you can imagine the robot doesn’t go down too well, and so began our difficult and ever-evolving relationship with AI.
With productivity and profits affected, businesses might not be considering wellbeing as much as how to move fast and regain ground, from a quarter that was terrible for much of the economy. There are some under-used but patently obvious wellbeing tips that will help boost productivity, reduce employee turnover and increase engagement that are well worth looking into.
As employers embrace video call tools such as Zoom and Skype for day to day work communication, recruitment is no different as recruiters turn to virtual interview processes to source out the best talent. For recruiters looking for a way to build a more engaging recruitment process video, Laura Webster, Global Marketing Manager at HAYS Talent Solutions shares tips and advice into how employers can build a seamless virtual recruitment process through video.
In many ways, startup leaders are the envy of the business world. They are able to create an appealing workplace culture that works employees across different generations, and can attract the best talent. Problems are often solved through creative thinking while there’s typically a flat hierarchy and open communication channels.
Sterling Networks was founded in 2014 facilitating networking events for businesses across the Midlands, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and the South West. Over 300 members attend its fortnightly breakfast and lunchtime meetings, and the company has also undertaken the very important role of providing emotional support to business owners at a very challenging time. Startups Magazine caught up with founders Neil and Tracey Davis to find out more.
If you have purchased a new computer within the last few years, you likely lack something - ports. You know, places to plug in your stuff. With streamlining and consolidation, many modern computers (including the entire MacBook family) have shifted to utilising only USB-C and Thunderbolt 3. Because of this, a dock or hub is essential when you Work From Home.
Can personal data from the EU being transferred on the basis of Privacy Shield to the US, guarantee an adequate level of data protection as per the GDPR? Head of Marketing for SmartSurvey, Neil Stone, offers some thoughts and guidance around this issue, while looking at the potential impact of the Privacy Shield’s invalidation for the technology sector and prospective customers.
I’m going to focus on digital products/services in this article, increasing the contribution of digital products/services only makes more sense for any business in a COVID-19 and post COVID-19 world. All things being equal to grow post COVID-19 we need to manage at least one aspect of the digital customer life cycle better than we were doing before COVID-19.
Each generation handles money in a different way. Afterall, people have grown up in different eras, they place value on different commodities, and some are busy saving for retirement while some are squirreling away their pennies in order to see the world one day. Attitudes towards saving money are most certainly generational, and there are plenty of assumptions people tend to jump to about these attitudes.
At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown has caused large-scale disruption to businesses worldwide, remote working has been a shining example of how to ensure ‘business as usual’, particularly in areas such as customer service. If Gartner predictions are correct that over 40% of all employees will continue remote working post-COVID, businesses must redefine remote working by ensuring customer service staff - contact centre agents and supervisors - are equipped with fit-for-purpose technology to ensure they deliver a truly first-class service to the customer. Anne-Meine Gramsma, Chief Commercial Officer at ContactCenter4ALL, explains.
As firms look to re-launch projects and resuscitate their business beyond COVID-19, the importance and value of freelancers as a critical requirement to retain skill at an affordable rate is essential for recovery. Someone only too aware of the importance of this is the CEO of The Future Strategy Club (The FSC), Justin Small; this is a benefit he has been aware of for a long time.
One of the few positive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic had been the renewed focus of the climate agenda. Over the past few months we have seen companies like BP begin to divest from their traditional oil and gas business and set aggressive net zero targets. For startups this represents a huge opportunity.
While car MOTs were scrapped during lockdown, taking the same approach with a business could be a mistake that leads to catastrophic consequences. Just as leaving unchecked, unroadworthy vehicles on the road is potentially dangerous, by not taking control of a business and leaving success to chance is a gamble at the best of times, but right now that approach could be the beginning of the end.
Much like any relationship, co-founders start their journey together full of optimism and excitement for the future. Falling out is far from their minds. But, with research showing that as many as 65% of promising startups fail because of founder disputes, smart founders should put a plan in place to deal with disputes.
As the UK high street continues to battle for survival in the aftermath of lockdown, new data shows that online retail sales are up 72% year-on-year in the UK. It’s the latest evidence that our retail future is going to be online-first, and hence it’s no surprise that, across the country, many independent retailers are shifting their businesses into the digital domain to stay in touch with changing consumer preferences.
Commercial real estate, HR and technology professionals are focused on finding innovative ways to meet the challenges of a post-COVID workplace through safe and effective back to work strategies. John Williams, Head of Marketing at Instant Offices, considers what this means for businesses heading back into the office.
With more than 266,000 small businesses having reopened since the end of April, kitchen worktop businesses and Instagram marketplaces have seen an entire new generation of entrepreneurs to be able to get their products lifted off the ground. However, for many individuals and micro-businesses, the prohibitive costs associated with the rapid and accurate production and manufacture of their creations often prevents them from scaling up and making considerable profits.
Following the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, we have seen widespread business closures, pay cuts, reduced hours, and redundancies, resulting in many workers looking for a new venture. Today, LinkedIn is one of the go-to platforms for budding job hunters searching for a new role, therefore the competition is high. To help those looking to enter a new career field, online educational platform, Preply has provided tips on the things to consider when messaging a recruiter on LinkedIn.
Startups Magazine caught up with Flavius Plesu, Founder and CEO of OutThink, the world’s first Predictive Human Risk Intelligence platform (SaaS), aimed at revolutionising security awareness and giving security teams the power that comes with identifying high risk users – fully understanding who is not behaving securely and why.
What do startups need to know to ensure that their website is secure and safe against cyber attacks? Innovators, investors, and entrepreneurs, launching startup companies have hundreds of issues to deal with. Often setting up their website and internal communications drops in the list of priorities. And usually, at the bottom of that list, is ensuring that the company’s communications and website are secure.
Having formed new habits around remote work, many of us have settled into new routines and habits, adjusting to the shift and integrating this new way of working into our lives. But, bigger organisational processes might have been missed in the scramble to equip teams with the day-to-day tools needed to maintain business continuity.
YHANGRY is a London-based startup providing private chefs for social get-togethers at home. We launched our beta website in May 2019, when Siddhi Mittal and I were still working on the trading floor at Barclays in Canary Wharf. We were 10 months into our startup journey when COVD-19 brought our business to a grinding halt.
When starting a business, the implementation of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system may seem like an additional and unnecessary expense, but committing to it from the outset will realise a number of benefits including the development of a clear and focused sales strategy, together with the opportunity to strengthen new client relationships.
Whilst social media and too much screen time can increase the risk of depression and anxiety, technology can also have positive outcomes on our mental wellbeing too - even in our busy digital world. Many us will be familiar and fond of clever apps like Headspace, Calm and Stop, Breathe & Think which can offer support with a number of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. Here Natasha Bougourd from TSG, chats to Startups Magazine about tech aiding stress in the workplace.
This crisis period has proven what so many of us in our industry already knew. The UK manufacturing industry is and always has been resilient and adaptable, and has continued to grow even in times of trouble. Overall, the UK’s industrial sector has increased by 1.4% a year since 1948, according to the ONS. Much of this has been down to the fact that we always adapted and moved forward fast; year on year we shifted production from low to high productivity goods, invested more in research and development and adopted automation and technology.
A crisis seems an unlikely time to use for improving growth, but for many startups there’s an unexpected opportunity to slow down and refocus their growth and marketing plans on their fundamental, long term growth opportunity. It’s crucial for startups to build resilience and a path towards sustainable growth by building the right growth marketing framework and strengthening customer relationships.
In the COVID-19 era many people are taking the opportunity to organise and simplify their home working spaces, making good use of the ample time at home. But de-cluttering your virtual space - including your computer/laptop, phone, cloud storage, etc - is just as important as de-cluttering your physical space.
To find the right individual for the job will be a challenge for employers as well as hiring managers. With several companies intending to enhance their hiring efforts this year, it's necessary that you put extra effort and time into how you attract the most effective prospects feasible. With more possibilities for talent comes even more competitors for you, as well as making the ideal hire currently is crucial to strengthening your firm today as well as into the future.
The current situation has taught us a lot of valuable lessons, particularly about the true power of digital. With brands like Primark reducing their revenue to zero as a result of having no e-commerce strategy and B2B businesses that previously relied on trade shows forced to transfer online, the value of having a strong digital brand presence is now more important than ever before.
Today, many businesses are executing large-scale digital transformation efforts to keep up with the changing market demands and fast-paced competitors. In fact, a global survey conducted by McKinsey discovered that more than 80% of respondents stated their organisations have undertaken such efforts in the past five years.
It’s always refreshing when policymakers break with the status quo and do something genuinely left-field and unexpected. The current pandemic has certainly produced its fair share of bold initiatives. In the UK we’ve just had the announcement of Government-subsidised meal deals throughout August to boost the ailing hospitality sector. And, sitting slightly higher on the impact scale, earlier this month the French Government announced that it was making tax credits available to any citizen prepared to take out a subscription to a current affairs newspaper or magazine.
As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, SMEs need to look into engaging potential customers immediately in order to drive sales and awareness in the difficult months ahead. As the majority of the public continue to live and work remotely, however, companies must seek out new methods of marketing in order to attract better engagement. The online space has, thus, become crowded with brands attempting to cut through noise to truly make an impact on consumers.
Whilst the UK implements strategies to gradually return to life as normal, the question on everyone’s mind is how we plan to do this safely and effectively. With the process of working from home potentially coming to an end in the foreseeable future, regardless of what sector individuals work in, new safety precautions are essential to put in place to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers remain strong.
Lockdown is beginning to end, but changes in how we do business have only just begun. One country that might be able to shed some light on the upcoming unknown is Germany - having had their ‘Super Saturday’ back in April. Germany has already tackled the next economic phase that small businesses (SMEs) in the UK will have to adapt to.
A few years back, there was a two-day tube strike in London. As with most tube strikes, it forced stressed commuters to change up their route into work at short notice. When it was all over, economists who looked at Oyster Card data made a surprising finding. About one in twenty commuters who changed up their route on the days of the strike stuck with their new route.
Even in the bleakest of times, entrepreneurs have found a way to innovate and create disruptive products that have enhanced our daily lives or solved a problem. Take the humble chocolate chip cookie, baked for the first time after the Great Depression. During a period of severe economic hardship, this new treat offered some richness and comfort and remains immensely popular to this day.
Over the past few months, the world of business has been turned upside down due to COVID-19. During such unprecedented times, maintaining customer confidence and loyalty is a key focus for companies. The way in which businesses manage its customers throughout uncertain times is often the difference between losing or retaining clients, and ultimately business survival.
Until recently, for many smaller businesses, their website was purely a shop window with few, if any, transactions done through it. However, thanks to social distancing measures it has now become the primary means of business for almost every company. Ensuring your website is not vulnerable to hackers and other criminals is therefore more important now than ever. The crippling reputational and financial cost of a cyberattack can put a small company out of business.
Every company has its own culture, defined by its values, and governing principles that the leadership and employees equally share. While most people consider culture an unimportant element, it has a real impact on performance, retention and the company's ability to adapt to changes. A disengaged team will leave founders staring into the horizon alone.
The UK’s recent lockdown has seen a surge in demand for on-demand. By addressing one of the most challenging aspects of lockdown, food delivery services alone have experienced a 29% increase in popularity, and even industries historically steeped in tradition - such as theatres, pubs and restaurants - have had to embrace on-demand options. Digital businesses, in collaboration with more traditional high street counterparts, have kept access to services viable during the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has massively accelerated the pace of change in the business world. Leaders and employees have had to adapt to operate in a challenging environment, where the only certainty is change. Not only have organisations had to rapidly adjust to the changing needs of its people, customers and suppliers, but it has also navigated the financial and operational challenges. This has led to many businesses prioritising the now, focusing on reshaping its operations to stabilise revenue and align with short term demand.
One of the biggest trends in software development has been the rise of Software as a Service (SaaS). With SaaS, vendors and customers follow a pay-as-you-go subscription model, which eliminates the large upfront payment and aligns their incentives more easily: vendors get more recurring revenue while customers are freed from having to host and maintain their own applications.
I was young when I realised I came from a family of businessmen. At the age of eight, my paternal grandfather had been engaging in business deals between Africa and Belgium. One of my uncles had also started an import-export business based in Brussels. Then when I was ten years old, my father jumped on the bandwagon and launched a business engaged in the export of exotic meats from Botswana to the EEC. This is what began to pique my curiosity in business.
Technology, especially new technology, has always had something of a divisive effect; that is it can be seen as black or white, working in good ways or bad. If we look back in history, any technological advance is greeted with great enthusiasm by early adopters and shunned and ridiculed by those with a more traditional outlook on life.
Just as monetising mobile was the biggest opportunity of the previous decade, monetising the 3D worlds is the biggest opportunity of the next decade. It’s time to get onboard. From radio to telephone, TV to desktop computer and now mobile, the last 150 years have been filled with technological progress that has transformed our private and professional lives. Today, we are approaching another media transition: spatial computing - commonly known as immersive technology, XR or VR/AR.
The 23rd of June this year marked four years since the UK's EU membership referendum, and the rest of 2020 will likely see some decisive action on the UK's intention to leave the EU as a result. Much has been written over the last four years about the UK's currently gilded status as the preeminent global hub for financial services and fintech, and the risks of the UK losing this status to another European competitor once Brexit happens.
Identifying your ideal client is one of the most difficult things, and yet the most important thing to do for your business. Before I start going into the how, let us spend a few minutes thinking about the why. Why does everybody bang on and on about this ideal client business!? Believe me I used to feel the same way. Then one day it clicked into place.
Recently I connected with a non-profit civic engagement company called New Union to create a 'tactical urbanism toolkit.' Its aim is to bridge the gaps between governments and their citizens, starting conversations, and ultimately teaching communities that they can and should enact change within their communities – often for little or no cost.
We’re ending our leadership series by taking inspiration from the 1989 film ‘Field of Dreams’ and focusing on your role as a leader in creating a place where people love to work. If you’ve got a vision for what you want your business to look and feel like, you play a significant part in helping to create the environment so that people can deliver that vision and more.
We live in changing times. Rapidly changing times. Times always change and move forward but what has been remarkable recently has been the fact that the speed of change continues to increase year on year. It is no surprise, therefore, that many founders, both first time entrepreneurs and serial entrepreneurs, often ask themselves, and me, ‘where do I go from here?’
The world is changing and what we witnessed in the last months all over the world is the creation of a stronger sense of community: people supporting each other and companies getting together to fight the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The old world is over, as its rules. The new world is going to be different, with new rules.
The business landscape has transformed like never before in just a matter of months. I've seen first-hand how the current climate has impacted global enterprises. As business leaders, we need to instil trust within our teams while also having a clear strategy on how to navigate these challenging times.
In the world of work, the effects of social measures that governments are being forced to take have proven to be incredibly challenging for businesses and employees. However, for many business leaders around the world, they are now starting to turn their attention to the potential long-term implications of the pandemic on the next era of work.
Driving disruption, embracing change and new ideas and generally just jostling for place at the bleeding edge of innovation has always been part and parcel for any company in the tech industry, particularly at the startup stage. But how do tech companies ensure they’re always one step ahead, and how do they create agility and disruptive thinking at the strategic leadership level?
So far, the first half of 2020 has felt like six years, not six months. Every new month seems to bring with it global challenges and the threat of coronavirus still looms. The knock-on effect of COVID-19 has been significant, with the FTSE100 losing nearly a quarter of its value in late March - the biggest drop in history.
For many businesses, scaling up and sustaining growth often seems unachievable, even when the brand has a profitable product or service. Investor and advisor, Sharon Brown, principal of Amplify Equity Inc. has recently adopted a laser focus for helping businesses step-up to the next level by leveraging investor expertise, industry experience, networks, and connections to help them grow faster.
When (or indeed if) office-based employees make a return to work, now that lockdown restrictions are slowly beginning to ease, they are likely to find a very different world to the one they left behind. Startups, by their very nature, are inherently innovative, adaptable, flexible, and more willing than most to embrace change.
With the IMF warning that the ‘Great Lockdown’ global recession will be the worst since the Great Depression, organisations are being forced to reset and reinvent faster than ever before. The race is on for entrepreneurs and business owners to craft new plans, develop new products and deliver new solutions in order to survive.
….you never know what you’re going to get. Although Forest Gump didn’t technically say that, there is some truth in it: no two leaders are ever the same. Think about the people you’ve been led by in the past - maybe they were a crunchy-coated, brittle leader, they might have been soft and gooey, or chances are you’ve probably had a few nutty ones as well. You never know what you’re going to get.
Death. A big topic, and generally as much a part of the everyday news cycle as politics or celebrities. From natural disasters to major atrocities, the subject never really goes away. That being said, it feels quite different at the moment. With death tolls now a media centrepiece, it’s playing a much bigger part in public conversation. At Farewill, where our 90-strong team of designers, engineers and psychologists are working to bring the death industry into the 21st century, we’ve noticed a real change in the way people are discussing and dealing with it.
With almost 11 weeks of lockdown in the UK, we have only just got to grips with our new working conditions. Now, with lockdown restrictions slowly beginning to ease, offices are planning for reopening. A new ‘blended’ model of working will become the norm, with some employees always working from home, in the office or a combination of both.
Wearables allow users to monitor their health, receive alerts for potential health issues, and preemptively contact a doctor. With many people housebound during COVID-19, wearables help people track daily exercise habits and maintain a healthy lifestyle while many gyms remain closed. Here, Emily Clark, Content Developer for The Manifest looks at the market for healthcare wearables and discusses how people use wearables for healthcare and the limitations of these wearable devices.
Europe’s AI ecosystem is consistent with many of the continent’s other expanding startups, with the UK emerging as the most dynamic country for AI: that’s according to new research from PNY Europe in collaboration with 33INSIGHTS. The UK leads the pack with 529 incorporated companies (27%), followed by France with 424 (21%) and Germany with 182 (9%).
When you are trying to navigate the management of a business in the midst of a global pandemic, it’s all too easy to neglect the maintenance of your company culture. Yes, it’s true that other priorities might seem more pressing right now; after all, your clients and suppliers won’t be sending you impatient emails demanding to know how you plan to safeguard your internal team relationships.
Being out of work during ordinary times is not fun. It can weigh a heavy impact on one’s confidence and sense of wellbeing, as well as being demoralising. This applies to people whose employment has been put on hold through, as they have been in the United Kingdom, furloughing schemes designed to prevent mass redundancies. It also applies to students whose future employment and careers have become uncertain after in-person lectures and exams were put on hold. The breath of fresh air is that some lockdowns, including the one in the UK, are beginning to ease.
Startups Magazine has been lucky enough to interview Kevin Smith from Boom & Partners, a business that offers bespoke mentoring for startups to help them grow and thrive. Having teamed up with Kevin and Boom & Partners many times already, we thought it was time to get his expertise on some of the most pressing conundrums for startups
In the midst of a global pandemic our leaders are necessarily focused on the immediate. Survival - in life and in work. Entrepreneurs and executives alike are shoring up business, optimising current operations and cashflow; the need to stay afloat taking precedence over the long view. But with the passing of this crisis, may there come a sustained shift in values?
For all businesses operating in the digital arena, there has long been an advantage to be gleaned from better understanding how your customers behave online. Can you identify which website visitors are on the verge of clicking ‘buy’? Can you spot a disgruntled customer desperately searching around an online FAQ for the product support they require? Is it possible to determine whether a prospective subscriber is ready to commit, or whether they need further incentives to push them over the line?
Given that up to 50% of any population identify as introverts, organisations with an unbiased recruitment process will have a fair proportion of introverts in their workforce. If their promotion panels are fair and equitable, some will reach positions of leadership. However, many introverts spend much of their working life pretending to be more extraverted in order to fit in and be accepted. This comes with a heavy price tag; overwhelm and burn-out. Introverts need strong, well-defended boundaries and a personal strategy for replenishing.
As companies across the globe are closing their physical offices, the business world has transformed dramatically within just a matter of months. More emphasis is placed on business being conducted online. For example, retailers, IT service providers and even personal trainers are utilising their online platforms and video chat software to remain engaged with their customers.
Analyst relations. For many startup founders and marketing teams, it’s still a bit of an unknown. There’s no question that it’s a valuable marketing strategy, but there’s a surprising lack of literature advising startups on how to make it work for them, when to start, and what to do in a briefing. This article looks to state the case for analyst relations in a startup context whilst providing some valuable insight from the analysts themselves.
When starting a business it’s easy to get consumed by P&L and that all-important bottom line (understandably so), but as Sezer Sherif, Founder and CEO of brokerage and investment advisory firm Vector Capital Group explains, that doesn’t mean you can’t build a business with a strong code of ethics and corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Alongside a few others, I recently gave a talk to a university conference where I explained my progress in the past year, successes and changes, and my plans. What was interesting, hearing my own answer alongside the other start-ups called in to do the same, was that things have generally 'paused.' We have stopped every financial outgoing we possibly can and are reaching out to investors and clients alike only to be told that they are in the same position – 'expect nothing soon.'
Law firm Taylor Wessing’s work with the Mayor's International Business Programme, and its work day-to-day with VC-backed tech companies has shown that most UK companies look to the US or Asia before Europe when looking at new markets. However, Europe is on our doorstep, and has its own advantages which shouldn't be ignored. This article by Mark Barron, a corporate technology partner at Taylor Wessing, will cover what you need to think about in choosing Europe as the first stop in your international journey, and a few of the key advantages in doing so.
As spring turns into summer and the fears of lockdown turn into the uncertainties of release, many early stage companies are effectively having to start all over again, either because they have been temporarily closed and have been in something of a coma like state, or because they have pivoted and the business plan has changed from the original. The question being asked by so many, is ‘what do we do and how do we go about it?’ and is focused around the fundamental question that takes all founders back to the origins of their business.
The world is embarking on a period of great technological innovation. This means that innovators themselves need a place where they can grow their ideas. Technology startups are fast becoming a growth area for semiconductor manufacturers, as they are often at the coal face of design innovation, pioneering the journey towards the fourth industrial revolution.
The world feels upside down, right? Mankind is not meant to stay locked inside. We need wide spaces, open-air, opportunities and horizons. As the world stopped and placed us in a timeless lethargy we find it hard to remain optimistic. The same question goes round and round in our heads as we stare at the azure of the sky through the window: How is Coronavirus affecting the future of work?
Many startups know what building a culture means in their startup, and most founders will - smartly - work to prioritise that closely to ensure their company culture is warm, positive, and creative. But few know what building a digital culture means. Without a digital culture, your business will struggle to scale, and will struggle to expand internationally. It’s often ignored and that means you can make it a real positive difference between you and your competitors.
Like many good things in life, The Hustle House started out over a couple of G&T’s. Free ones at that. Maybe it was because Fiona had her laptop out in a restaurant on a Friday night, or maybe it was because the waiter felt bad for seating them late. Whatever the reason, the free G&T’s set the tone for a discussion on possibilities, on the notion of leaving behind the comfort blanket of corporate life and taking the plunge into the start-up world.
Having worked as a solution architect and designed multiple SaaS applications over the years, I could see most startups struggling to choose the right SaaS architecture for their product offering. In this article, I’ve compiled all my learnings into a cheat sheet to help startup founders, who’re looking to build SaaS applications, make a pragmatic decision backed by proven facts and data.
One of the biggest trends right now is IoT, especially Industrial IoT (IIoT) and the security around data. Having taken off massively in the past few years, in the tech startup industry if you were going to create a business, these areas would be two of hottest in the current climate. Innovative startups or scaleups with cutting edge IoT hardware technologies capable of securely retrofitting industrial facilities for predictive maintenance, are extremely sought after and very desirable to investors and businesses. Also we have seen a rise in the number of startups working within data security at sensor level to avoid data breaches.
Many businesses ask me many questions but one of the questions that has become more common over the last few months is whether their business should pivot. Regular readers will know that many of the answers to questions I overhear are often prefaced with ‘well it depends’ but this question can in many ways be easier to answer than that.
There’s no denying that living in lockdown amid a global pandemic is something new to us all. And for millions of workers across the country, they’ve spent the last few weeks working from home as a result of social distancing. Here, Parin Ashra, UX/UI Designer at Perlego for mental health awareness week, delves into mental health within businesses, and why we should be doing more.
SharkNinja although known for producing vacuums, have been doing some very different work during the COVID-19 crisis, as they had some more time on their hands, and wanted to help. We spoke to Mohammad Hatia, SharkNinja Prototype Lead Workshop Manager and asked him a few questions as to what SharkNinja have been up to.
Global efforts to combat climate change have been stifled recently, with an unprecedented crisis shifting the focus of governments, businesses and consumers away from the plight of the planet. We’re engaged in a war against an invisible enemy; and COVID-19’s dire importance has placed many environmental initiatives on hold.
The model and motivations are in alignment and all bodes well for the energy company’s collaboration with a startup. Excitement is high, as are expectations. There is one thing left to attend to though: the environment you create. Will it be a space where collaboration can thrive? Or where it will wither on the vine?
Being a business owner is now more stressful than ever, with the outbreak of COVID-19 seeing companies both big and small shaken and left to find new ways of working. For small businesses and new business owners especially, this is a particularly daunting time with cash flow and employment being some of the biggest worries to face over the coming months.
Throughout history there have been several significant events which have led to mass deaths defining the course of civilisation. Among these are World Wars, plagues, pandemics, and epidemics including the black death, flu pandemic of 1889-1890 and more recently Swine flu, Ebola, and our present challenges with COVID-19. They are all examples of major historical outbreaks that have taken lives and steered the course for public health development, social and medical innovations some which still being used today.
Modern day advancements in technology and resources, as well as a much wider range of funding options, mean taking an idea from initial concept to startup has never been easier. One thing that you can’t create a shortcut for, however, is understanding the fundamentals of scaling a business - and getting it right.
This Startip provides a concise list of skills needed to migrate to the cloud or from one cloud provider to the next, so that you can fill the gaps in your team’s expertise. Startups have to have a cloud migration strategy or know how to build cloud-native products, and therefore need the skills to do so.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on businesses and the economy in the UK. Access to finance for business, as provided by banks and financial services institutions, is imperative in these trying times. Whether you’re a shopkeeper, sole trader or multi-national company, the chances are you need help right now, and getting access to that support is a top priority.
As we emerge blinking into the light post lockdown, what will the ‘new normal’ look like? The questions that I am overhearing have changed very recently, from those covering how to survive during lockdown, to those focused around how to get back to normal working? In truth, the questions vary from the theoretical to the practical, but in essence they all ask, ‘how will we adapt to the ‘new normal’?
The current global situation has affected many different industries, businesses and individuals and it is safe to say we are only just getting into the real mix of it. A lot of people have been talking recently how this could change the world in some way forever. One area that is has affected in an interesting way in the insurance technology area. We decided to catch up with and ask a few questions to Christian Wiens, CEO and founder of Getsafe about the insurtech space, and the current situation for them.
Cloud computing might be a relatively mature technology now, well-adopted by many types of SMEs, but changing your cloud strategy can still be daunting. Do the benefits of multi-cloud outweigh the costs? Is it worth the additional time spent managing multiple services, especially for a smaller business? I think that it is, and here’s why.
Jo White, Marketing Manager at customer relationship management software specialists Capsule, looks at the top sectors destined for startup success in 2020 and beyond. She explains how startups can leverage the latest technology to build lasting and meaningful personal relationships to deliver the excellence in customer experience needed to make it big.
To remain competitive, every company across every industry is now compelled to rethink its established ways of doing business. Change is set to continue, the ride is only going to get faster and the differences more fundamental. The risks of not adapting are now outweighing the risks of staying the same.
Many companies collapse after expanding too quickly and spending more than the new business brought in. The sales figures can be high, but the profit may not be there. Or, an unexpectedly large order may put extra pressure on employees – if they deliver a positive experience, a business can be propelled into the next stage of growth.
The stigma attached to periods manifests in many ways and in the workplace, it can often prove quite a difficult obstacle to overcome. In 2018, there were 15.3 million women aged over 16 in employment, with the total female employment rate being 71.4% — the highest ever figure since 1971, when records began.
Many startups are born of a desire to fix a social or environmental issue that the founders believe has been poorly addressed. Many governments, councils and politicians believe the same, enacting policies to hopefully enable these solutions – either through public funding, tax breaks or regulatory requirements (to recycle or meet emissions targets, etc).
The road to developing, catalysing and scaling a sustainable energy business is an eventful, long and can be a frustrating one. I know because I am travelling on that journey right now. For me it started four and half years ago when I purchased a 322 hectare site in Cameroon with a vision to establish it as a production park for biofuels.
For thousands of years, people have been telling stories in a variety of forms. Yet just like the word sustainability, the word storytelling has become a trend or something that’s nice to have. Getting someone to understand what sustainability is about has its challenges - there are a lot of opinions out there on what sustainability is but it’s not always easily articulated. Often the explanation gets a bit technical so it needs to be broken down, making it easy to understand. This is why having a good story about sustainability is essential.
Virtually every startup thinks of itself as innovative, but are they really? Every day I help companies claim cash for innovative activities through the R&D tax credit scheme. Most of these companies are somewhat innovative, however, to be truly innovative is really tough. In this column, I want to explore what innovation means and how you might apply it to your business.
Some questions in life are more fundamental than others and some are more specific or technical, and so it is in the world of early stage businesses. But for the person asking the question, each carries the same weight, and each is of the same importance because at the time of asking it is that point that is not understood.
Working a 9-5 may still be a norm for many, however, it’s been predicted that the number of digital nomads will reach one billion by the year 2035. With this new tribe making waves in the world of work, Instant Offices looks into how they are changing the way Millennials and Generation Z think about their careers and travel.
Over the years that I have been working with startups and early-stage businesses I have overheard many different things. The majority of these follow the normal concerns of any entrepreneur that is entering into uncharted waters for themselves but there have also been some comments that I have overheard that have been unique to the individual’s concerns or the setting in which it was said.
In each of our lives, some weeks are more predictable than others. Some people are a little afraid of change and facing new, unexpected challenges, whilst others face the world with a ‘can do’ approach and even relish unpredictability and the need for flexible thinking and action to jump over the hurdles put in our way. And just like the best race horses, this keeps us fit and agile.
This round-up’s inaugural theme looks at startups that help users incorporate sustainability and sustainable development into everyday living. These companies stand out for how they ask for a nearly imperceptible lifestyle change while providing impressive solutions. These are some startups we stan:
As a mentor I get involved in a huge cross section of businesses in different sectors and at different stages of their development. As a result I have been involved in many hundreds of meetings about almost every aspect of setting up and running a business, but it would be true to say that raising money is the most common conversation of all.
As highlighted by last Friday’s global Climate Strike, the world is increasingly aware that we stand on the edge of an imminent climate and ecological crisis. It was heartening to see that, around the world, so many people took to the streets to call on government and business to make serious changes.
Few industries have felt the impact of technological disruption more than the banking sector. Over the last few years several new kids on the block have emerged to take their seat at the top table and muscle in on the activities of the high street giants by specialising in areas that are being underserved.
The business industry is constantly changing, so it’s imperative to stay at the top if your game in order to keep profits increasing. With businesses always competing for customers, it can be difficult to break through the noise and become a successful and established brand while continuing to grow.
This week was quite typical in that it was an unusual mix of many of the things that I get involved with as a mentor and that I have written about in the past. There was some international, some regulation, some cyber security, lots about women in business, and yet again on advisory boards and raising finance.
For many startups, the process of fund raising can be quite daunting. What method of raising do you use? How long is it going to take? To say nothing of the fact that it’s the time when founders and entrepreneurs have to stick their necks out and ask other people to invest and commit to their vision.
One thing that I have learned over the years is the importance of cooperation and working with the right partners, and this has only been reiterated during my activities as a mentor. By working with others that have skills or experience in areas that you do not, then 2+2 can, quite literally, equal 5.
For the supremely talented entrepreneurs and startups doing great work around the world, marketing and PR are often low on their list of priorities. After all, there’s the running of the business to get on with, the development of amazing technology and launching of innovative projects, investment to secure, and people to hire.
This week, almost to underline my comments in the first of this series about not knowing what each week will bring, was almost entirely different to last week. Last week was full of face to face meetings and there was no particular thread to my week, other than of course the fact that it revolved very heavily around early stage businesses.
Concerns about AI technology, in general terms, boil down to the quantity and areas in which it’s used to replace human tasks. Establishing the limitations of AI and unique skills innate to humans, provides insight into its future application, and alleviates some of the worry that one day AI will take over the taskforce.
Unbound Festival this year saw an influx of tech for good innovation, propelling the industry towards a bright and influential future. Spearheading the mainstream market today is a boom in self-care apps from mindfulness to sleep assistance, while location-based apps designed to tackle physical inactivity are making scenic walking as easy to find as getting an Uber is to order.
It doesn’t matter whether a business is for enterprise or not for profit - to create a successful business, you need more than just an idea. You need to identify a problem/need to create an attractive market. It’s much easier to start a business if you have a unique product/solution, and a scalable, profitable model.
Why building meaningful values into your brand leads to the culture you want
Creating and sustaining culture can feel a little bit like a chicken and egg situation in a startup. You need to define your culture early on in order to attract the right employees, but culture itself is largely driven by people, so until you have the people in place, how can your culture be expected to flourish?
The Victoria Embankment in central London might not be the obvious place to find out more about Scotland’s vibrant startup scene. However, representatives from the country’s board of trade, business incubators, educators, R&D partnerships and innovation centres headed south for London Tech Week, and Scotland House, where they spent the evening showcasing the business opportunities north of the border, creativity, the potential of data science and the country’s talent.
For founders looking to start a business it is imperative to get the culture right - as getting it wrong can lead to bad investor, customer and employee experience. At Women of Silicon Roundabout 'Founder Focus' workshop track, CEO and co-Founder of London-based foodtech startup Feedr, Riya Grover delivered a thought-provoking workshop titled 'Defining your culture blueprint to hyper-charge growth', and explained why it is so important to get it right from the start.
At the LeadersIn Tech Summit during London Tech Week 2019, a roundtable was held discussing the benefits and drawbacks of partnerships between corporates and startups. At the table, Anna Jones from FieldHouse Associates, Ryan Haynes from Ryan Haynes Marketing, Ben Rudman the CEO of MMT Digital, and Denise Glee from MagnaCarta Communications, lent their personal expertise to the debate.
The next generation of aspiring startups are hoping their technology will change the world. But what about the technology that is changing startups? I’ve spent the last few years working with some of Europe’s biggest startup success stories, helping them put in place the right business platforms to support rapid growth.
Having written your business plan, identified your existing and potential market and your target clients, and decided how best to market and sell your product, you should now of course actually be making sales. But how open has you mind been whilst undergoing this process, and how limited are your ambitions? Many smaller companies, whether startups or more mature, have a tendency to only look at selling to the home market of the UK rather than broadening their horizons and selling internationally.
When one thinks of countries with a focus on innovation, the true global leaders - USA, the U.K., Canada and Israel – traditionally lead the way based on the strength of their startup ecosystems. Not surprisingly, the next country to gain a foothold is Australia followed by no fewer than a dozen of the top industrialised nations in Western Europe.
Last week’s article focussed on Business Plans; what should be in them and why you should write one. One of the key pieces of information required is of course sales figures, both actual numbers for historic sales and those forecast for the future. It is also very important to include the assumptions and how you market your goods in order to achieve those sales. It is those subjects that I am going to focus on this time.
Over the last five articles I have tried to set the scene in terms of outlining what help is available to early stage businesses, and certain aspects of finance, including a valuable but often overlooked tax refund. In this article and the next I wanted to focus on two fundamental issues that will determine how your business develops and how you grow sales.
The Internet of Things is an exciting and expanding market. It’s one that many large organisations are already actively involved in, with competition mounting rapidly as a result; but it’s also a market ripe for innovation, with countless unexplored opportunities – across all industries – almost too compelling for an ambitious entrepreneur to ignore.
Subcon is introducing the Launchpad & Launchpad Awards to this year’s event. The Launchpad aims to propel startups and entrepreneurs by giving them a platform to share their innovations with thousands of engineering and manufacturing professionals with the power to influence and guide them to future success.
South-By-Southwest is an annual assemblage of conferences and festivals that takes place in Austin, Texas in early March to celebrate the convergence of film, music, interactive and other industries. Created to foster both professional and personal growth across multiple levels, the ten-day event prides itself on truly being all things to all people.
The audience at the Dublin Tech Show 2019 fell silent and slipped into awe as it listened to the man who broke into Mir using a Swiss Army Knife, flew into Earth orbit three times, was Commander of the International Space Station (ISS), has spent 166 days in space and was the first Canadian astronaut to walk in space: NASA Colonel, Chris Hadfield.
In the first of this series of articles we looked at the fact that there was actually quite a lot of help available to you when you set up your own business, and specifically we started to look at entrepreneur accelerators and the roles that Mentors play within that overall service. This time I wanted to take that further and start to explore the actual role a Mentor plays, how best to choose one, and then how best to maximise that relationship.