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.