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.

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