6 practical and inspiring startup tips from real-life business owners

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Drop everything now! Here are 99 Amazing Life-Changing Quotes That Will Inspire You to Conquer the World.

This isn’t one of those blogs. Well, it is, sort of.

These aren’t tips from some Silicon Valley multi-billionaire. They’re from everyday business owners. Not ripped from the Harvard Business School but from the real-life rollercoaster ride that is running your own business.

Whether you’re already on the entrepreneurial path or just toying with the idea, these successful real-life business owners share what they’d wish they’d known at the beginning.

“Trust your gut”

The thing that pushed me to finally leave my day-job and start my own business? Gut instinct. I knew I had hit rock bottom. I knew I couldn’t take anymore. I knew that anything was better than what I was experiencing every day. Although I’d been running up to it for months, when the decision came it was fast and knocked me sideways. I remember laughing with relief because I finally felt ready to take the leap deep in the pit of my stomach.

If there’s one thing I know about life, it’s to always trust your gut instinct. Always. It’s there for a reason and has been the best guidance I could ever receive.

Jen Smith from Jen Smith Social Media – read Jen’s story

“Be ready to sacrifice your social life”

In truth, the reality of small business can be very different to the daydream you have in another tedious divisional meeting. And, it’s important to recognise that if you’re going to do this, how much work you’re going to have to do. Not on your business, but on yourself.

For me, working a full-time job and getting a small business off the ground at the same time was serious graft. I’ve never worked harder. I found myself in a constant juggling act, attempting to give everything the time and attention it needed, while trying not to run myself into the ground. I worked out pretty quickly that I’d have to sacrifice my social life if I was serious about making it work. Evenings were no longer for Game of Thrones or having a nosey on Facebook. They were now more about keeping up with orders and planning how I was going to deal with the upcoming months.

Andy Cordina from Bettie Confetti – read Andy’s story

“Don’t feel stuck in one place”

When you work for yourself, the world really is your oyster. Explore all the great little cafes and coffee shops in your local towns as your new hot desk. Use co-op working spaces. These are invaluable for meeting fellow start-ups as well as local established businesses. Even pack up your belongings and work from Berlin for a couple of weeks…because, why not?​

Kim Farrall from Somewhere Off Grid – read Kim’s story

“Stick by these three rules”

First, you need to focus, even before funding. It’s always challenging to focus on one specific problem. It’s easy (and hard not to fall into the trap) to try and solve everything for everybody, but then you run the very real risk of launching a mediocre product that doesn’t really solve anything.

Second, creating a compelling story. As an entrepreneur or co-founder, you need to be great at telling stories. You’ll be convincing everyone from your family, to investors, to early employees why you started the company, why now is a great time, etc.

Third, secure funding. It’s a competitive market out there; yes, there is more funding available to entrepreneurs than ever before, as well as structured accelerator programmes, meaning that startups are a valid career direction for a lot of people. But that doesn’t mean it is going to be easy to secure funding, furthermore, you always have to remember that nine out of ten startups fail.

Scott Taylor, serial entrepreneur and former CEO of miDrive – read Scott’s story

“Maintain your principles no matter what”

Stick to your guns. There are always so many pulls to do things another way or compromise. In food, this often happens with starting to use ingredients that go against what you stand for. It’s so important to retain your principles, even if everyone is telling you there’s no other way.

Rob Martineau from TRIBE – read Rob’s story

“Travel the world and test your resolve”

Book a flight and see the world. Experience all it has to offer. Go with minimal money and see if you have the resolve and gumption to get through it. The most valuable experiences I learned while away always happened when I was skint. If you want to launch a startup business you should be prepared to get used to this feeling.

Dan Place from Northern Soul Grilled Cheese – read Dan’s story

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