September 10th 2017

Business Innovation - Startups Video

This is a video created by James Blackman - Managing Partner for Cocoonfxmedia Ltd.  The video is still very relevant today and is a good insight on what's needed to get your business startup up and running.

What do you need to start your own business?

I have always been an entrepreneur. Even from the age of 10 years old, I was busy selling my granddad's golden wedding anniversary balloons, and from that, it developed to making little manufacturing lead models, selling them to shops, to making speaker boxes and selling them to boy races. The real driving force for starting my own business was, working for the last company, I realised that I was making an exceptionally wealthy man even more wealthy through the job I was doing, and getting a very small reward. I thought to myself, "Well, I've got the skills to do it, I've got the attributes to do it, and I've got the drive." So, I thought I should start up my own business, which is now Cocoonfxmedia Ltd.

What does it take to go self employed?

I think you need to have a good product and a good idea. I feel that you've got to have something where you know that you can succeed in, so an underlining willpower to take something and make it work. The key thing to being an entrepreneur and setting up your business, also, is to have a lot of self-motivation, a lot of determination, and to see things in a positive way, and have the drive to take something, and to build on it, and to push it, even if there's some knockbacks along the way.

What do you need to start your business?

Firstly, you need to have a good product and a good understanding of how that product works. And, ideally, you need cash to start up with. So, if you're manufacturing a product, you may need tens of thousands of pounds to get started up, but if you're starting an online business, the cost may be not as expensive. But, cash will help you. And then, from that, you need to understand how the market is working, what are the conditions within the market, what is your potential competition doing. You've also got to have a good financial understanding on the processes, such as VAT, PAYE, corporation tax, plus also, your monthly outgoings. So, you've got to factor all of these in and make sure that you can keep track of your finances easily, and without that, your company will fail.

What will make your business fail?

I think complacency will make you fail. If you're doing something a certain way and continue doing it a certain way, you will lose the edge on the market. I also feel that you need to have flexibility. If you have no flexibility in the way you work, chances are you're going to start losing business, or you'll not gain business because you won't have a flexible approach. If you have poor credit control, so basically, if you're allowing your customers to continuously pay late on invoices, you're going to have a cash flow problem. Basically, you're going to lose money, and that's money which is owed to you, so you need to be hot on your customers' heels to get paid. Not understanding how much things cost. A common problem is that a Web developer or a car mechanic, people will think, "Oh, yeah, that only costs this because you're just changing a nut or a bolt, or you're just changing a bit of code," but there's a cost associated with that because time does cost money. If you can get your head round understanding that things do cost money, then you're on a good start for making a success.

Do you have any other advice?

Research, research, research. There's no point in starting up a new venture if you haven't got a clue what's going on. It's all a bit daunting when you first start. So, I mean, places like Growth Hub will provide a wealth of information for a startup. You're also going to get a lot of knockbacks when you first start up. That's part and parcel of running a business, and you've got to see whatever negativity you get, you turn into a positive. And also, listening to your customers. You may find out new pieces of business or new opportunities which you may have not thought about. So, it's always good to listen to your clients and to your client base, and to use what they're saying as a tool to help you develop your business further.

Don't expect people to come to you. Don't expect the phone to ring immediately, or if you just place one advert out there, it's going to bring you 1,000 leads. You've got to go out to the marketplace. You've got to take your brand, your idea to the market, and sell it. It's going to be a lot of hard work to start with, but once the brand starts to get known and recognized, the phone will start ringing. But, you've still got to push it, and don't be complacent, and be flexible.

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