Things I wish I’d known before I started (part 2)
April 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
I asked this question to a range of entrepreneurial Scottish businesses – these are some of the answers. Thanks to all the contributors.
Becky Woodhouse, PURE Spa
- The amount of work/disruption to your life in starting a business – I didn’t take a holiday for the first 4 years!
- Not every one you deal with are professional or honest and you need to be prepared for this and fight your corner if necessary
Ben Panter, Blackford Analysis
- Customers are interested in products which solve their problems, not technologies.
- Every time you have a conversation know what outcomes you would like before you begin.
Carol-Ann Searles, Carlyle Associates
- Many people start their own business for flexibility of lifestyle, if you are trying to grow a business it takes a lot longer than you think to get flexibility!
- You need to be an MF, FD, Sales Director, IT Director and cleaner!
Dr Tim Willis, CEO & Founder, Flexpansion
- How long it takes getting a program built when there’s a large element of research involved as well as development. I spent a lot of money early on with ‘cheap’ non-professional programmers trying to fix the unfixable versions others had tried to build. I wish I’d cut that process earlier and got people rebuilding from scratch (as eventually happened) sooner. Unfortunately early on you have no money and the only way to get a prototype if you’re not a programmer yourself is to pay non-experts, and trust their judgements. It might have been cheaper to take a year off and learn how to do it myself, but the nature of a lot of funding is that you can pay others to program but not spend that money on supporting yourself while *you* learn to do it.
- How long it takes to get funding – I spend most of my time with the R&D on pause while I chase more money to keep a roof over our heads and to pay the developers to do another chunk.
Alex McAndrew, Spinsight
- Weekends are a luxury.
- Trust your instincts, particularly the negative ones.
Colin Gilchrist, Digital Face
- It’s all about cash flow – payment or part payment upfront
- If you admire a particular business or person the chances are if you speak to them they’ll listen and help.