Kevins Top Tips
Some founders come up with their business ideas alone, whilst others do so with friends or associates. Some founders wish to stay as sole founders, whilst others prefer to work with co-founders to share the tasks, decision making, and risks, as well as adding often complementary skills or knowledge to their own.
According to the Office for National Statistics 213,285 businesses failed in the UK in the first half of 2020, a 14% increase on the same period in the previous year. Without looking much more deeply into the numbers it is not possible to say for certain how many of those that failed were due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown but we would not be far wrong to say that the 14% increase, or 26,193 businesses failures were as a result of the pandemic.
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.
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.
One thing that every early stage business should produce is a pitch deck, whether they are looking to raise external funding or not. A pith deck is typically a 15 to 20 page very simplified business plan set out in a PowerPoint type format. Its purpose is to succinctly outline all aspects of the business to any outsider. Just like a business plan, producing a good pitch deck is a good exercise for any founder in refining the business itself, and considering all aspects clearly and objectively.
Every business needs to constantly assess what it sells, to whom, and how it sells it. It also needs to constantly assess the market and its competitors, as well as attempting to forecast future trends in demand and technology. All of this is quite a task in normal times when events move in a predictable way and in a linear timescale.
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.
If you want to scale your early-stage business, and to grow it quickly, then it is quite possible that you will need to raise investment by selling part of your business to new investors. This is done by the business issuing new shares which has the impact of leaving the original shareholders owning the same number of shares that they did, but a smaller percentage of the total.