Start up rules of engagement

Andrew Scott (@andrewjscott) from Rummble, gave us his insights into the pitfalls and perils of running a start up. His most valuable experiences notably coming from his failures. This is something that made for a great talk, and his 12 tips are pretty much core to creating of a successful business.

The name – his first tip was not to choose ‘a crap name’. He illustrated this with playtxt, all too close to the bra manufacturer Playtex in the UK with obvious problems there.

Pick the right co-founder – not having the right partner will result in major problems

Location – the right place is so important to where you start the business. He highlighted the valley as the place that illustrated this well but also Clerkenwell in London where over 80 businesses are in the same area. The reason is that you can call on others when resources are needed – particularly skills that are not needed regularly but are specialized.

Hire slowly, fire quickly – particularly important Scott said when your intuition tells you somebody isn’t quite right you should follow it. Time and again he said that when he had made a decision to fire he regretted not doing it sooner. But of course, making the right hire should take time, as it is such a commitment.

Delegate – if somebody can complete a task to 70% proficiency  compared to yourself, then delegate the task

Have a one line pitch – the ability to be able to tell anybody your idea with clarity in very powerful and helps solidly your proposition to potential investors, journalists and the man in the street

Beware of the bubble – You as a start up founder are not normal, you live in the tech bubble and be aware of this. Many people still do not know what Twitter is, and we should remember that.

Stop building, but measure what matters – it is very likely that the things resulting in revenue may not be your main focus initially. Be aware of what is in the offering and remember to analyse performance thing form the start

Time flies – building something in Scott’s experience takes twice as long than predicted, gaining funding from investors takes three times as long

Practice – Quoting Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘Outliers’, it takes 10,000 hours to gain real expertise, so practicing is the basis of excellence and this also goes for pitching.

Help others – giving help comes back to you , its a circular function

Time out – unplug from the web and get out of the echo chamber.

The location point was particularly interesting, and Scott said there was a bias towards start ups from the US over those from Europe. I think I share his view but wonder if it is because they have a different culture and density of population to ensure momentum is created and ideas take flight…

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