Is the government doing the right things to change the failure rates of start-ups?

Whilst the word on the street is that 8 out of 10 start-ups go bust within a few years, the real data is harder to find. What is true is that the majority of start-ups fail over a period of years. An RSA research report found that 55% of start-ups in the UK fail within 5 years. These slightly more positive figures are probably more accurate. It may well be that the government is too excited

Continue reading »

“Evidence” is key for entrepreneurs

As an entrepreneur it is very easy to be enthralled by your product at the expense of everything else. But it is critical to remember that “evidence” is key to success and making proper traction. By evidence, I mean something that forms the basis of long-term sustainable advantage. This isn’t necessarily just revenues or users, although it may be. It is likely to be: Customers / users who state that they value your product over the

Continue reading »

Is debt your friend or enemy?

As an entrepreneur, is debt a “badge of honour” or a “daily cashflow nightmare”?! For some entrepreneurs living in debt is a demonstration of success. It is all about the monthly burn rate and your ability to manage that and over time reduce it and deliver break even, before moving into the sunny uplands of positive cash flow. This is all about speed and the importance of being able to invest in product development, market

Continue reading »

Win an award for your business

If you’re a start-up today then you should be pitching for awards and “free” funding. The start-up world has never had so much free money being thrown around as there is today. You may say that it’s an unhelpful diversion to be trying to complete laborious online forms to apply for yet another award that hundreds of similar companies like you will be competing for. But don’t forget the different types of value that come

Continue reading »

Entrepreneur’s block

As an entrepreneur do you ever run out of ideas? Do you ever get “Entrepreneur’s block”? I normally have far too many ideas and get excited about lots of them. But I am learning to respect the concept of the “billion pound idea” now above everything. It’s too easy to have any old idea and start a business. It’s way more difficult to scale that business unless the market opportunity is very significant. I was

Continue reading »

No fear of failure

I recently spoke at the Entrepreneurship Guest Lecture Series at UCL on the subject of “No fear of failure”. I had 3 key points to make, which i think are so critical to entrepreneurs. The first is that “Fear of failure” is a massive motivator. If you aren’t scared then you are missing a trick. I use the fear of running out of cash as a powerful force to make me challenge my own business

Continue reading »

Success and failure

I am looking forward to speaking at the LSE on Thursday on the subject “Success and Failure as an Entrepreneur are essential for Long-Term Career Success”. In the US this is an accepted wisdom. Unfortunately here in the UK, failure is still a taboo subject. Yet while success breeds conviction and belief, It is failure that really generates insight. Great entrepreneurs need both.

Continue reading »

Less is more

I am sitting in front of my desk this wet Sunday, wishing it was hot and I was at Queens watching the finals of the Aegon! In fact I am busily trying to manage 3 start-ups at once and preparing a speech for my Alma Mater, Eton, in a couple of weeks. As I sat and cogitated about words of wisdom for 17 year old potential entrepreneurs from Eton, I reflected on that critical piece

Continue reading »

10 things you should know about your business partner before you get into bed together!

People often ask me how you know if you’ve picked the right business partners. Of course the obvious answer is that you have no bloody idea, and even when you think you do, you can still get derailed by the most unexpected things! But there are certain questions that you should ask yourself. Then at least you have a damn good chance of not screwing it up. These are emotive questions. After all this will

Continue reading »

Time is on my side

I  have been meaning to write for days, but I have just been crushed by too many “To-do’s”. I am damned good at multi-tasking , but shit, I really hate the feeling that time is roaring by and I am not getting enough done.  It is a constant bloody worry. But I am not alone. Most entrepreneurs’ worry incessantly about this. The truth is that every entrepreneur worries too much about this. It’s not as mission critical

Continue reading »