Top Tips for the road to entrepreneurial success

Tips for entrepreneurial success

With startups and SMEs being such a huge part of our economy (making up more than 99 per cent of all private sector businesses, according to the Federation for Small Business), it’s vital that we continue to drive this culture.

Turning a great idea into a viable business can however be a minefield. As a programme within Innovate UK, IC tomorrow has seen numerous entrepreneurs successfully take this leap. To celebrate the success of Global Entrepreneurship Week last week, we’ve pulled together a collection of top tips for getting a business off the ground, and staying sane along the way, from some of the most successful businesses that have been through the programme.

If you’re on the fence about starting your own business – we hope this will inspire you to take the plunge!

  1. Implementation separates successful businesses from just ‘good ideas’

“Don’t worry if every morning there’s another announcement about a company developing similar technology to yours. Someone else has almost certainly had the same idea. And if they aren’t pursuing it, it probably wasn’t a good idea in the first place. The execution is just as important as the idea, and with good execution you’ll succeed.” – James Cobb, Crowd Connected 

  1. Never underestimate the power of a toe-dipping exercise

“In business I have learnt that something as simple as a ‘toe-dipping exercise’ can often to lead to much greater things later on. When Nexus Interactive Arts team pitched the idea of Nexus Stage to IC tomorrow for example, we were awarded the funding to build a prototype.  This subsequently helped us secure some impressive high profile commercial projects including one that went onto to win a prestigious award. The exercise has also changed the way we present ourselves to our clients and has opened doors along the way.” – James Tomkinson, Managing Director, Nexus

  1. Involve customers or potential users in the design process

“This can be a bit daunting, but if you genuinely involve your customer in the co-creation process, you will see a number of benefits. It improves your understanding of the business, market and users; it saves money as you won’t spend time building features only you believe in; it improves the customer relationship as you work together on a much deeper level; and it makes adoption much faster as the customer or user is personally invested in the project. This is very valuable for early stage disruptive tech products trying to drive change.” – Priya Prakash, D4SC

  1. Surround yourself with the right people 

“Find the right team early – As an entrepreneur, it can be quite lonely when you’re battling out logistics, funding and everything else involved in sharing your work with new audiences. It’s often a scramble to find the right team once you have found the financial backing you need, so my advice is – don’t start a project until you do. Having a team in place that believes in the idea and can bring it to life is as important as the idea itself.” – Priya Prakash, D4SC

“You are about to go after a vision at all costs – you will be become a classic anti-hero in storytelling terms. This will mean losing friends on the way and finding out your what makes you, you. Make sure you have someone talk to – a mentor, a partner – just someone you can speak to at the end of a week. The journey you are about to go on, is only as a valuable as the people you go on the journey with.” – Julian McCrea, Portal Entertainment