10 entrepreneurs’ tips to create a million pound start-up

Some of the UK’s most successful businessmen and women share their top tips to help your new business thrive…

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Starting a business isn’t easy, as many entrepreneurs will tell you. However, there are strategies and processes that you can put in place to maximise your chances of success.

We caught up with 10 of the UK’s leading business innovators to find out what advice they would share to create a start-up with fast-growth potential…

1. Start a business for the right reasons

Martyn Dawes, founder of Coffee Nation (now Costa Express):

“Being an entrepreneur has become very ‘cool’ but very few make a fortune. Start a business if you absolutely have to bring some change to the world, you’ll need passion and tons of energy.”

2.…But don’t be afraid to take risks

Anna Bance, founder of Girl Meets Dress:

“Don’t over think it. There will never be a perfect time to leave your secure job, risk your salary decrease, take a chance on an idea which might not work – but what’s the worst that can happen? You’ll go back to your previous role until you come up with the next idea!”

3. Make a solid business plan

Phillip Letts, founder of the blur Group:

“Starting your own business is a plunge into the abyss: it requires real guts and commitment. Before you dive in, make sure you plan every tiny detail and take into account every conditional probability and once you’ve lunged, don’t think of monetary returns: just focus on your idea and put that thought of personal profit off for a decade.”

4. Put the customer first

Dessi Bell, co-founder of Zaggora:

“If you have an idea, find a way to put it in front of customers as soon as possible. You need to get feedback from the customer; as what you think is a great product, may not be what the customers want.”

5. Create a stellar team

Paul Lees, founder of Powwownow:

“Surround yourself with the right team. Build the right team with complementary skills so you can all excel in your given areas and make sure you set the tone; your business is a reflection of who you are.”

6. Get to grips with figures

Michelle Clothier, co-founder of Livity:

“Understand the numbers side of your business. Whether you like it or not, if you don’t get your head around the key numbers it will be a long uphill struggle at the very least, and catastrophic at worst. Understand the numbers as best you can and get someone in to look after the numbers as soon as you can.”

7. Take control

Dan Wagner, founder of Powa Technologies:

“Follow YOUR vision. Don’t be too stubborn to accept help, advice and guidance from those that have succeeded before you, but it’s essential that you are the captain of your own ship. Neither success nor failure is predetermined, but once you have established in your own mind where you want your business to go, follow that vision, trust your own instincts and work like hell until you get to where you want to be.”

8. Raise money when you can, not when you need to

Paul Sulyok, founder of Green Man Gaming:

“Make it a priority to take on outside investment, regardless of whether your business is making money or if you have cash in the bank. Raising as much money as you can will make you stronger when competitors who are fully funded and at an advantage inevitably enter your market.”

9. Walk the talk

Stefano Maruzzi, vice president of GoDaddy EMEA:

“Follow your instincts, walk the talk, and pay attention to micro signals as soon as they emerge. We live in a world of data and I’m a strong believer in the value added by analytically dissecting a problem or a business case.”

10. And finally, don’t give up

Emi Gal, co-founder of Branient:

“Never give up. I’m not going to lie, building a business is challenging and there may be moments when you question what you’ve started. But never give up, if you have moments where you think you want to, it’s always worth having mentors, investors, or supportive friends and family around you who can give you the pep talk you need when the going gets tough.”

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