What 3 tips would you give to entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
1) It's really daunting in the beginning, so expect some sleepless nights. This is normal and it shows you care about your business. Don't worry, you will sleep again! (and the drag on energy will be compensated by an amazing feeling of reward when things go well!)
2) Find good people to help you make decisions. I had (and still have!) go-to people for financial matters, product matters, hard hitting introductions and so on. Entrepreneurship can be lonely and a diversity of perspectives and skill sets will help you feel supported.
3) Get close to the customer. If you are not solving a genuine customer problem, you are putting your business at risk.
How did you get funding or have you just grown with profits made?
Friends and family will believe in you and you will be surprised how willing they are to invest in your business. The government has great schemes in the form of SEIS and EIS to help entrepreneurs and to give investors a better deal on their taxes.
What are your 3 biggest business challenges today?
1) Dealing with legacy players in the industry. Disrupting an industry will earn you fans. But many people don't like and feel threatened by change. Converting them is time-consuming, but important.
2) Too much to do, too little time! There are so many directions your business can take. Focusing on the important things that further your strategy can be challenging when you are surrounded by new ideas.
3) Step changes in growth. At a certain point, your business becomes interesting to giant distribution partners. Dealing with their bureaucracies is time-consuming, but can be very rewarding in the long-run. Just make sure it doesn't suck the energy out of the room!
If you're looking at funding a new business, you can read our Boring Money Guide to Finding Funding. It's full of straightforward, practical advice and steps to take. There's loads more about running a business on our Everyday Entrepreneurs page.