The 10 Biggest Lessons I’ve Learned As a Start-Up Entrepreneur
10 Entrepreneur Lessons You Can Benefit From Today With Luke Massie:
1. You are nothing without your team –
Probably the most important lesson I’ve learned is that you and your dream are nothing without your team. Having the right team around you is absolutely essential in start-up life. It is incredibly important that you get the right people involved in your business as early as possible, no matter what obstacles may be in the way. Passion is everything and in my entrepreneurial journey so far I’ve learnt that talent and money can only get you so far , and that dedication and trust are worth far more than anything else. And the success of your team ultimately comes down to your leadership.
2. Find yourself the right co-founder –
Find someone with desirable skills that complement yours. Find someone you trust, someone who shares the same vision as you and someone you can always rely on. A number of years ago, I was introduced to Jon Hill, a software engineer with over 15 years experience scaling development teams, with a real commercial eye. Jon is someone I can talk to, express my thoughts about opportunities and someone who could see my vision and turn it into a product. Jon became my partner, an early shareholder in Vibe and he is now the Technical Director here at Vibe Tickets.
3. Validate your business or product idea with customers –
It’s important to validate the idea for your business or product in the early stages of your start-up. Without doing this, you risk spending money on something that the market does not want and in turn, you will lose that money. Make sure customers want what you’re selling, before you start selling it.
4. Realise that investors and mentors are important –
In the start-up world, investors are responsible for funding a large part of your business. It’s important to find people that are as passionate about your business as you are, so passionate that they’re willing to pour their own funds into your project in order to see it blossom. The list of Vibe investors includes Alex Turton, Alex Cliffe, Russel Horton, David Butterworth, Robert Moulding, Tim Groves, as well as Matt Newing and EliteTele.com. Our investors care about the Vibe vision just as much as we do, which is why they support the company so strongly, and that kind of support is something you need in the start-up world. Mentors are equally as important, and one of mine is Richard Branson. I first met Richard after coming runner-up in the Virgin Media VOOM startup competition. Vibe now has a close relationship with Virgin and I have the support of an inspiring mentor like Richard.
5. Be bold –
You won’t get anywhere in the start-up industry without shouting a little. Start-ups everywhere will always be trying to make a name for themselves and you have to make sure you’re heard over everyone else in the crowd. Vibe Tickets is a disrupter in our sector and currently, there is no one else doing what we do. Other secondary ticket sellers charge over face value, or they charge their users a percentage of the ticket price. Vibe Tickets does not do any of this, we provide an open, transparent and ethical social marketplace where real people can buy and sell tickets and connect with each other. We exist to put ticket touts out of business. That’s how we are different, that’s how we stand out and that’s how we be bold.
6. Realise that fundraising takes time –
Money is needed to make almost everything happen in a start-up. You need money to hire your team, you need money to create your product, you need money to build a brand, the list is endless. How do you get this money as a start-up? You fundraise. The fundraising process will take up a lot of time. You can expect to pitch to hundreds of people before you get any interest in your idea. Be prepared for this and make sure you find the time to focus on this.
7. Keep building the business –
The idea behind your business might be the most genius idea in the world, but if your business isn’t growing, your genius idea won’t last. Always be working at expanding your business and improving your product. Get as many people talking about your company as possible and keep them talking. This way you could keep building tiny advantages that will ultimately help you beat the competition.
8. Nominate yourself –
Winning awards is a sure fire way to get noticed and get some good press for your business. Don’t wait for these people to come to you, nominate yourself for awards, enter yourself into competitions, do it all. Vibe Tickets has been nominated for various awards, most of which we entered ourselves, including KPMG Best British Mobile Start Up, Best Mobile App in Manchester TOMs awards and most recently for the Innovative Business Awards in the Lancashire Business Awards.
9. Make sure the business or product is scalable –
Vibe first began as a Twitter account, retweeting users to help them with their ticket needs and connect buyers with sellers. We had 1 employee, no team and no office. We now have almost 45,000 users, a team of 15 people, a development team, a marketing team and 2 offices in Lancashire and Vibe is now valued at £6 million. This is because the business was scalable and there was significant room for growth when Vibe first started. Every start-up needs that same room for growth.
10. Always focus on your long term vision –
Here at Vibe, we’re always thinking ahead. Our development team has plans in place for weeks and months worth of future updates. Improvements and developments in your company or product are always something you should celebrate, but your next goal should always be at the forefront of your mind. You should always be thinking about how you can be bigger and do better.