I recently had the pleasure of chairing a panel for Manchester Digital exploring,t the different challenges faced by start-ups in the North West. I was blessed with four great panelists, all at different stages of the start-up life-cycle:
Michael Gibson from Miralis – an experienced business professional who has created, grown and sold businesses, and now advises a range of start-ups and established companies.
John Kieller – Co-founder of digital strategy agency Common Good, launched with his co-founder less than three years ago.
John Kershaw – Bearded wonder and founder of BristlrApp and the M14 dating platform.
Callum Reckless – Founder and Managing Director of Reckless Agency in Chester.
I’m not planning to run through the entire session…you should have been there 😉 Instead I’ve listed my four key takeaways.
- The Lean Start-up works – John Kershaw, told us the story of how the Bristlr app, a dating service for beard owners to meet people who like beards, started out as a joke. He set-up a landing page for people to register interest and had thousands of sign-ups before he’d written any code.https://twitter.com/McrDig/status/642242043230724096
- Choose your first employees carefully – When you’re launching your own business, you have to be able to do everything, but you’ll rarely do all things well. Be sure to recruit people who’ll do things better….and don’t just recruit people who will simply follow your lead. As Callum noted, you need to have colleagues who will call bullsh*t when you start to believe your own hype. John Keiller claimed having a great co-founder was also invaluable.
- Be prepared to pivot – When we opened the session to audience questions, we had a great one about how much flexibility was required. All the panelists agreed that they’d changed the direction of the business numerous times in the early stages. For example, The Bristr app has lead to John developing a bespoke Dating platform which he can use for a variety of other niches.https://twitter.com/McrDig/status/642245238862561280?
- You’re going to make mistakes….lots of them – Every panelist agreed they’d made errors along the way, but every single one was a learning point. The key is to acknowledge it, learn and move on.
— overthewire (@overthewire) September 11, 2015