What I want to see from the Startups Awards 2016

Startups.co.uk speaks to Start Up Loans CEO Tim Sawyer about his start-up tips

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Why are you looking forward to judging the Startups Awards 2016?

The Startup Awards are a great opportunity to celebrate the success of new businesses across the UK and to meet some of the inspirational individuals who have taken the plunge by starting their own business, turning their ambitions into a reality.

The awards are also a chance to understand the trends in the start up sector, giving me and my team insight into the hopes, fears and struggles of today’s start ups –  with this insight my team at The Start Up Loans Company can get a better understanding of how we can best support our future customers.

Why are Start Up Loans backing the Startups Awards 2016?

Since launching in 2012 The Start Up Loans Company has provided over 40,000 loans, helping individuals turn their business ambitions in to a reality, by offering not only finance but also free business and mentoring support. The current governments manifesto pledged to deliver 75,000 loans to business start ups by the end of the current parliament in 2020. By working closely with partners such as Startups.co.uk, we are able to connect with individuals that might be planning to start or grow their business. It is also a great opportunity to share ideas and learn how we can best support new business.

We want to shine the spotlight on new businesses of all sizes, from the one-man bands to the larger organisations, and highlight the invaluable contribution they make to our economy.

What are you looking for from start-up businesses that enter?

I want to see lots of creative, innovative ideas that are different to anything we’ve seen previously. Businesses that have revolutionised a way of doing something, setting them apart from their competitors. Or perhaps they have created a pioneering new product or service. Sometimes the simplest idea can be ground breaking.

The businesses also need to be sustainable, able to grow and develop over time. There are some fantastic new businesses out there and we want to recognise them and celebrate their achievements.

What is great about business in Britain?

British businesses are individual. At Start Up Loans we have funded everything from alcoholic cocktail jelly sweets to a subscription sock company: these businesses are all going from strength to strength, employing staff and bringing fresh products and services to the consumer. I believe that the British are incredibly creative when looking for new opportunities and ways to do things. This is something we should continue to encourage, support and celebrate.

Finally, what are your top tips for start-ups in 2016?

Thorough research and a clear plan are essential if a business is to succeed. You need to understand your market, and make sure there is a need for your product or service. Be clear in your own mind – and on your business plan –  what differentiates you from your competitors and why would a customer choose your business over another?

You need to have a plan. What are the objectives of your business and how will you achieve them? A business plan shouldn’t just be drafted and forgotten about, it should be a forever evolving document, developing as your business does. Make sure you have thought your finances through: what money will be going out and what money will be coming in? Understanding your cashflow is essential.

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