Below are the top trade secrets from five successful entrepreneurs to consider before taking the leap and starting your own business.
1. Find out everything you can about your customer
British designer Lorna Syson:
'Keep your customers at the root of everything you do. Know who they are, where they shop and what their price point is as there is little point investing in products which aren’t right for them. Do your research and find out the right places to sell to your customer. By gathering web stats on where most interest is generated online, I’m able to invest more time in those revenue streams and therefore sell more products.'
2. Borderless working is easier than you think
Derek Gallimore, MD of City Marque:
'Don’t be pigeonholed into thinking you have to run your startup entirely from the UK. Instead, fit the company structure around its needs. Online communication services will let you work across borders and bring you employees closer together, no matter where they are based. I run an international workforce with staff in Australia, the Philippines, and UK, ensuring we can respond to customers in a number of different languages, at all times of the day.'
3. Be open to working alongside other start-ups
Dan Barker, co-founder of the Yearbook Machine:
'We have our own office space in London’s Silicon Roundabout in Shoreditch and rent out desk space to other entrepreneurs, which means I’m surrounded by the most interesting and innovative minds in the country. It’s the best of both worlds as I often find inspiration for a new idea or development in a ‘water-cooler moment’, as well as contributing to the cost of having our own office.'
4. Startup tools don’t have to cost the earth
Christian Mouysset, co-founders of Hummus Bros:
'I’m a firm believer that small businesses can get the tools they need from the power of the web at a fraction of the cost. For example, we use cloud-based tool Google Apps to give us the flexibility we need at just £3.30 a user per month. This lets us handle all our emails, documents, budgets and calendars on the go, whilst we work from any one of the four restaurants or on the move to and from meetings with local businesses. It’s much much cheaper than investing in lots of expensive IT hardware and the people to run it.'
5. Create a product with potential for global growth
Bryony Cooper, the CEO of taxi dispatch platform T Dispatch:
'If you have big plans for your business, you’ll need to think about how to make your product appealing to an international audience from the outset. Having started the company only a year ago, T Dispatch now has offices in Berlin and London, and over 150 clients across every continent. We’re able to grow our customer base internationally because we’ve underpinned our fleet management software with a mapping tool that’s customizable to anywhere in the world, across any language or time zone. Keeping things as familiar and intuitive as possible makes global growth all the more achievable,'