Company Connecting was one of only 7 Scottish companies recently selected in the UKFast 101 Rising Stars: a list made up of companies believed to have the potential to scale up and succeed in the future. This is great recognition of the value of Company Connecting and its established place as the authoritative source of information on Scottish IT SMEs, with the rest of the UK and other countries being constantly added.
On June 7th, UKFast held a ‘Startup 101’ event in Manchester at its headquarters, to which the 101 Rising Stars were invited. The event was opened by UKFast CEO Lawrence Jones MBE, and then continued with a number of panel discussions with advice and insights for early stage companies.
Company Connecting founder and director Janice Grant-Shaw attended the event and took copious notes. In particular Janice found what Lawrence Jones had to say very interesting, and from her notes put together her own take on Lawrence’s 5 Rules for Startups converting big ideas into big business.
Rule #1 - Don’t overspend
If you don’t absolutely need it, then don’t buy it. If you are bootstrapping your business it's highly likely that you will be short of cash. Don’t get carried away with "nice to have’s" and unnecessary extravagances. Go with the minimum you need to get started. Play it smart, and everything else will come later.
Rule #2 - Set goals.
The human brain needs a map. It needs direction to know where it is going and how it is going to get there. Your business also needs to be navigated. A list is a good starting point. Write down your extraordinary list - your ‘Everests’ - that may be a longshot to conquer. Also create a ‘doable’ list - your ‘Snowdon’s’ i.e. those that can be done in a day. Even if you think you already understand what these are, try this exercise and use it to understand your plans and short and long-term targets. You’ll find you have a clearer idea of what you need to do to make your business into the success you want it to be.
For help with setting targets Lawrence suggested reading some of the works by Tony Robbins. ‘The 12 Week Year’ by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington is one that Janice would also personally recommend. It is an easy read with some great guidelines on setting goals and measures.
Rule #3 - Remove self-limiting beliefs.
If you set your mind to do something, you are on the road to achieving it. At the same time you need to accept that things do not always work out the way you expect. On your journey you will have some calamities. Don’t be discouraged. Accept, learn and move on.
Rule #4 - Never Change your brand, change your product.
If it’s not working, it’s not your brand it’s your product! This flies in the face of the advice from any ‘professionals’. Don’t be swayed - if it’s not selling; it’s the product! Get some substance behind your brand by creating a great product and get people talking about it.
Rule #5 - Be wary of seeking investors at an early stage.
If you can get something off the ground without investors then do it! Build your company; build your team; and take it from there. Get your business to a stage where you have something to sell as quickly as possible. That gives you a platform from which to grow everything else. Then do your homework on your customer base and you’ll find you can achieve a great deal!
The companies present at the ‘UKFast Startup 101’ event in Manchester were all identified as having potential for growth and success in the future. But to go from being a company that has potential and good ideas, to being a company that has achieved and maintained success, many things need to happen and the 5 rules put forward in this article can certainly help you make this step. If you’re in the position of looking to grow your own business some of Jim Collins’ work is must-read, such as ‘Built to Last’ and ‘Good to Great’.
A forward-thinking mentality is vital to running your business and keeping up its growth. If you’re not growing, you’re dying: it’s so important to keep finding new, smart ways of improving upon what you have.
This is a constant aim at Company Connecting, where we’re always aiming to find new ways of using the unrivalled data we have to build a business that reaches our potential. Company Connecting is delighted to be selected for the 101 Rising Stars list and certainly hopes and expects to fulfil the title of a rising star! CC would like to thank UKFast for inviting us to the great event in Manchester and hopefully this article gives others as much food for thought as we gleamed from Janice’s attendance at the event.