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HOW TO BUILD A BUSINESS

Raj Anand

rs trepreneu
Su alumni En
J O I N O F F ILCi nI A L G RO U P O N
kedIn

Exclusive place for 'Sussex University Alumni


running a business or looking to start one'

ab o u t R a j i n t r o du ct io n

I’ m one the growing bread of


entrepreneurs in the UK
who built a business right
businesses or think as an
entrepreneur.

The last few weeks I have been


after graduating from university. I’m
getting a huge number of enquiries
the founder of Kwiqq - Social
from budding entrepreneurs for
Networking Platform and
advice on how to build a business.
Anderstand - Web Design and build.
Although I’m not sure if there are
Recently I have been active in the
any rules or best practices in
helping others developing their own
entrepreneurship, there are a few
business through Make Your Mark
things which I have learnt from
and launching SUE (Sussex
developing Kwiqq. Blog was first
University Entrepreneurs). For my
featured on the Kwiqq Blog.
efforts with Kwiqq I won
BusinessWeek’s Europe’s Young
Entrepreneur (2007), Observer /
Courvoisier’s Future 500 (2008) and
finalist of Sussex Entrepreneur of
the year (2008). My personal
ambition is to get more university
graduates to start their own
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Shout about your Ideas / My advice is to find people at educate you but inspire you. When i
Marketing I get fairly confused networking events, social networks was starting up I spent 1/4th my
when people make me sign NDAs etc who you could bring in or time reading, you would often find
(Non Disclosure Agreements) or outsource to. Think how would you me at Borders reading the latest
feel that if they tell their idea, it will finance getting these people book on business, sipping Starbucks
be stolen. There is very tiny chance onboard for atleast one year. My and then back home to read a blog.
that someone will steal your idea advice is not to think beyond that, Often a good friend of mine Jon
and implement it as well as you as you never know how quickly your Markwell and I use to exchange
could. Rule of thumb: people only business would develop. links, very valuable to exchange
copy ideas once the product or these free resources amongst your
Apart from the professionals in your
service is successful. colleagues.
team, you also need a support
Hence talk about it, tell all your network. During the early stages of
friends and family, maybe they a business things can be a little
Networking Business networking
might know someone who could disheartening and you need
events are held in most cities of the
help you out. Make presentations, someone to speak to just to get you
world, where business people come
videos and images of your idea thinking about something other
together and speak openly about
upload them to SlideShare, than your business. This could be
their business. If you are a bedroom
YouTube / Vimeo and Flickr / your partner or perhaps your friend
geek thinking ‘I will do that once
Facebook. In general marketing is circle.
my product is out of stealth mode’
something many entrepreneurs put
then my friend you are mistaken.
on the back burner, the sentiment is
You need to start networking before
to come back to it when things are Most entrepreneurs fail
you have an idea for your product.
ready. My advise is to prepare your because they give up Most start-
Often networking can stimulate
marketing as you develop your ups don’t make it because they give
new ideas just by listening to others.
business. This way you don’t have to up. As a company founder you need
develop it at a later stage. to be positive, even if the idea is It also helps to market your product
flawed you need to find ways of and opens door to partnerships.
If you feel marketing is not your
improving it and maintaining the Real life networking can’t be
strength get a PR company on
momentum. You are an inspiration replaced by online networking, even
board, again this needs to be done
to investors, partners, employees etc if its a skype video chat. So
early on. The later you leave it the
they are putting in resources unfortunately Mr Bedroom geek
less effective the campaign would
because they trust you. So you need you will need to step into the real
be.
to give most events a positive spin world and get out there !
and develop your idea.
No man is an island Most people Giving up is not an option !
have an idea and feel they can
shoulder the load of developing the
business. Although in reality any Pick up skills as you go When
good business needs atleast two you start a business you have to be
people. In my experience your the sales person, marketer, designer,
founding team’s skills needs to tick accountant etc. Most people
all these boxes: sales, marketing, starting business, after few years of
legal, accounting/finance and work experience, wouldn’t have the
operation/product development. Its skills to undertake some of these
rare to find someone who has all tasks.
these skills and carry out all the
The only way is to overcome this is
tasks. to learn, my recommendation is to
read as many blogs and books on
start-ups as possible. They not only
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Get trained Like most skills in life for. It is even harder to convince built a company supplying SaaS
like sports, professional or academic investors given the current (Software as a Service) using client’s
requires training. Getting trained in economic climate. projects as a way to fund the
entrepreneurship is tricky as there development. This way of building a
Fundamentally investors love
is so much to cover. Saying that you product or a company is often
numbers so if you came with a
can identify things you are perhaps referred to as Boot-strapping.
proposition like, I have 1000 users
not very strong at. Once you have
on my website in my town, each
identified these get in touch with
paying $10/month and profit of $3/
your local Business Link or It also helps to market your product
user/month. Now the investor
Enterprise Gateway Service to keep and opens door to partnerships.
thinks, if I put in some money to
you informed via email on seminars. Real life networking can’t be
replicate this in 100 cities the
replaced by online networking, even
Most government organisations company would make $300,000.
if its a skype video chat. So
have free seminars at knock off The decision becomes simpler and
unfortunately Mr Bedroom geek
prices to get budding entrepreneurs your venture gets funded !
you will need to step into the real
trained. I suggest you attend these
Having just genaralised the world and get out there !
and sign up to your local
‘advertisement as a revenue model’ I
organisation’s newsletter.
must also point out that there are
exceptions to the above. Especially Take less risks and reduce
if you are building an innovative spending Early stage of the
Starting business with a friend.
advertising platform. Ad platforms business its all about keeping the
No !! I have heard several horror
is not the sames as sticking banners costs low. Your strategy should be to
stories on going into business with all around the website. Look at do things yourself but don’t
friends and I have one of my own.
Google adverts they are an compromise on quality. Pay for
Its great if you become friends
innovative, undistrating and simple things which will guarantee a high
through business, although the
way of advertising. Other sites like ROI (Return on Investment). If
other way round generally has a
Facebook, Twitter etc are still there is something you are not
tragic ending. Last thing you want is searching for similar revenue particularly good at, outsource it or
your business to go pear shaped
streams. So its not that easy but if bring someone onboard.
based on the relationship with you
you crack it, sky is the limit !
business partners. For instance if you can’t build a
website don’t try and hack together
Ideal way to find a business partner
a HTML site. Websites are now
is through your business contact Boot strapping to product
considered as face of the company,
book (if you have one) or through Building a product which can be
its your branding, bread and butter
networking events. Keep the provided by channels to a segment hence don’t take chances. The odds
relationship professional but of the market is a tried and tested
of you following all the accessibility
friendly and you will go a long way. way of building a successful
and design correctly are tiny. You
business. Generally to develop a
might as well get a designer on the
product an upfront cash injection is
case, they won’t cost you the world
Business Model NOT EQUAL required, typically investors are very but will ensure you present yourself
Advertisement revenue This useful at this stage.
well.
point is specially relavant to media Many companies especially started
company startups, who building a by founders with no business track
business on getting as many users record, find it extremely hard to
onboard as possible, hoping to
raise cash. Your best bet is to work
monetisation through
out a way to generate cash, typically
advertisement. Whilst I like the by providing a service like
business model and several consulting, save some money and
businesses like Facebook, YouTube then develop your products on the
etc have executed with success, its
side. Many companies like 37 signals
not an easy one to get investment
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Business is all about Karma
Karma (dictionary definition): The
effects of a person’s actions that
determine his destiny in his next
incarnation.
If someone told me this three years
back I wouldn’t have taken it
seriously. Karma is all about giving
without expecting much in return,
which in turn brings good fortune.
Over the last few years I have
noticed: the more free stuff one
gives, the more people enjoy it and
then become their evangelists.
These people effectly become their
personal marketers.
So when starting a business try and
give away things. The more you give
the more you will get.

Finally JFDI (Just F Do it) You


won’t know how successful you will
be unless you actually jump into it,
so why not try. What’s the worst
that can happen ? If you are
passionate about building a business
you will succeed eventually. If you
fail the first time try again,
apparently first time entrepreneurs
only have 18% chance of
succeeding, although next time you
start a business the chances increase
to 30%.