The startup storm has Britain in its grips, and it doesn’t look likely to ease off soon. So what does it take to make it big?
In a world of over 6,000 spoken languages, business is a global form of communication. People have been doing business the world over for many thousands of years, trading all things bright and beautiful. The ways in which we approach business have evolved with our species; we’ve now arrived at the age of the startup.
This year alone, over 450,000 startups have been set up in Britain, offering a range of diverse products and services to the public at large. In fact, over the three years that Startup Britain have been monitoring them, the number of startups in Britain has risen year on year. This year’s figure shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
Hives of business activity have been springing up all over Britain; Greater London remains the top startup axis, as could be predicted. Hot on the capital’s heels, though, are Birmingham and Manchester. It’s never been easier to get access to support, facilities and resources to get your business on the go, and many are grabbing that chance and running with it.
So, what makes a great startup?
A little lion’s courage
In an interview with Entrepreneur.com, Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, highlights the rapid takeover of the startup,
“These days, the number of people who are working as entrepreneurs has increased so much that that this career path almost qualifies as a lifestyle choice. Defining “entrepreneur” has become more difficult because it now means so many different things to so many different people – all of us speak from our own experiences.”
As in many cases, Branson isn’t wrong here. Starting your own business gives you the freedom to turn your lifestyle into your business venture; the variety of startups on display in Britain is testament to this! Branson continues,
“What makes the difference is fearlessness. The best businesses offer a product or service that has never previously been available. While you can almost always conduct research and test the marketplace before a launch, an entrepreneur will always be, to some extent, jumping into the unknown, as the very nature of a new product means you’re venturing into new territory.”
Taking the leap into a new business can be really testing, there are obstacles thrown in your way from left, right and centre. The sheer volume of startups on the go at the moment, however, are a testament to Branson’s words; be fearless in the face of fear.
Peter Jones, star of Dragon’s Den and multi-millionaire businessman, invested in the future of entrepreneurship in 2009, founding the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy. A place for young entrepreneurs to explore, expand and realise their startup dreams, The Academy has been slowly feeding the next generation with business smarts, financial expertise and (suspectedly) a shovel load of brain food. Peter himself cites ‘a good vision’ as the number one secret to startup success. In his list of 10 rules for entrepreneurial success, he advises that “if you are going to dream, then dream big. Reaching one horizon always reveals another”.
Forbes magazine backs Jones, siting vision as the number one reason for the success of startups. Harvesting the power of your imagination and cementing a great idea can be the difference between success and failure; in such a saturated market individuality is certainly key.
Setting up a business is certainly not a hare and the tortoise scenario…
In the world of the startup, no idea is safe. With the rapid increase in people setting out alone or as a small team, the amount of fresh ideas coming to market has doubled, tripled and quadrupled again recently. In order to safeguard your idea, you have to be on the ball and ready to pick up the pace; hitting deadlines and getting your business plan together quickly must be priorities!
Whilst you have to roll with some speed, it’s also important to manage your time within the business itself with some prowess. You pretty much need both quantity and quality, and you need it as quick as possible.
Joining the 450,000 strong army of startups in Britain can be a daunting move! You can check out our setting up a business series, which has tips on business strategy, structure, finance and market research.