6 quickfire business tips from SB.TV founder Jamal Edwards MBE

Speaking to Startups.co.uk at the VOOM 2016 pitchathon, media mogul and guest judge Edwards shared some top tips to guarantee start-up success...

Arguably one of the most high-profile young entrepreneurs in the UK business landscape, Jamal Edwards MBE knows a thing or two about starting a business; having gone from filming videos in his bedroom at the age of 15 to a multi-million serial entrepreneur some 10 years later.

Founder of popular digital channel SB.TV, and with a host of other ventures to his name, Edwards has a knack for turning a business idea in its infancy into a successful household name brand.

So, it’s unsurprising then that Virgin Media Business wanted Edwards to be a guest judge in its 29-hour ‘pitchathon’ for the VOOM 2016 competition.

Discussing the competition with Startups.co.uk on the first day of the pitchathon, Edwards explained that having been involved in the initiative from the start – he won the first ever VOOM (then Pitch to Rich) where he got to meet and have lunch with Sir Richard Branson – he really wanted to “help out and be a part” of it for 2016.

Edwards, who revealed that he’s working on a “US move”, also told us of his ambitions to encourage more young entrepreneurs to be role models: “One day hopefully I can create a self-belief platform and get loads of different young entrepreneurs involved and film their stories to inspire others. Over the next five years, that’s one of the key things I want to do.”

Given his business experience, we asked Edwards to share his top start-up tips and here they are…

1. Find your niche

“The most important thing I can say is find your niche, and then be consistent with it. A lot of people find a niche and if they don’t think it’s working, they give up. For me, it wasn’t working for a very long time [but I got there] so try and find your gap in the market, be consistent.”

2. Confidence is key

“Be very confident. Everyone [pitching] today has done brilliantly well, I don’t think there were any bad pitches – it’s about confidence.”

3. Take a “lean and mean” approach

“Try and find a team that share the same vision as you, that’s so important. It’s also important to learn how to delegate. We’re a team of eight now, it’s lean and mean. I had a big team before but I was looking around and was like ‘what are people actually doing?’ I was employing people for the sake of employing people.

“Now people know exactly what they’re doing, it’s much more cost-effective and we’re lean and mean, and get the job done. It doesn’t matter if you’re a team of 100 or five; as long as you can get the job done and your customers are happy, then it’s fine.”

4. Don’t let your background hold you back

“It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what background you’re from, just go for it. What’s the worst that can happen? You’re not going to die, the worst you’re going to get is a ‘no’ but it’s a learning curve for you [anyway].”

5. Pitch with products (if you’re a product business of course)

“We had product businesses in today that brought examples of their products. You can actually feel it, look at the packaging, learn more about it etc. and that’s really important – it’s good to actually see the product.”

6. Do sweat the small stuff

“Learn more about your finances, VAT, tax and get everything in order. That’s key.”

Find out more about Jamal Edwards MBE and his business story here.

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