Advice for future founders?

13 March 2015

There are so many challenges for founders of UK tech and media start-ups wanting to succeed in such a fiercely competitive environment. And all whilst needing more than a bit of luck along the way! It’s really hard to sum up in just one piece of advice.

The Steve jobs quote: "To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed... Execution is worth millions" is a good start. And good execution will be a key theme at the Fast growth forum and Founders events this month.

To start getting inspired for the upcoming events I wanted to share with you again the wise words from some of the interviewees from our Fast Growth Founders stories. We asked them to give one bit of advice to someone starting a new business based on their experiences. Here's what they had to say...

 Arnaud Bertrand, co-founder of HouseTrip:

"It's all about people. At first as an entrepreneur you assume it's all about you and that's not right.  It's all about really thinking 'What is the team that I want to put in place?' and 'How can I fire myself from everything.' I don’t think that can be understated and it took me too long to understand that. I was driving too many things and I was relying too much on myself rather than spending all my time trying to recruit the right person in each role.

“It's probably your key role as entrepreneur, as soon as you get funding, is not about keeping reign of the company, it's 'Wait a minute; what team do I need to put in place to do that? ‘Let's not rush into doing that, let's put the right infrastructure in place to make it happen."

Chris Morton co-founder of Lyst

"Things take longer than you’d imagine, so every growth story is going to have highs and lows and not a perfect curve.  Tragedy is really par for the course.  Early on, you are so vulnerable to everything and it’s inevitable that you’ll get dealt a hammer blow that will make you think: ‘Oh my God, this is just game over.’

"Very early after starting up, I had a really bad piece of news and I was processing this whilst I was making myself a cup of tea in the kitchen. One of the founders we were sharing an office with looked at me and saw that I looked like I’d been hit by a car and he  said, “Okay, grab your tea, let’s go up to the roof terrace and I’m going to tell you what happened to us when we started.” Sure enough, that story was ten times worse and what’s really useful is, you just realise that everyone has had a similar experience.

"If you just come to expect it and know that it’s normal, then you are able to get over it. Within two or three weeks, that terrible 'tragedy' I think helped us reach a much better outcome than we would have had if it hadn’t happened and it became a very positive thing." 

Greg Marsh, Co-Founder & CEO of onefinestay

"If you’re lucky and if you work hard you can succeed. When I talk to people who haven’t succeeded and I mean people who valiantly tried and failed through reasons outside their own control, that’s a really tough gig.

"My formative experiences as an entrepreneur were in a very different business. I learnt an enormous amount and I only realised quite a lot later how much I actually had learned.  I didn’t really appreciate the value of that experience at the time.  Success is by no means guaranteed and it’s not even a function of your talent. Success is also a function of factors outside your control, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try because even failure can be its own reward."

Cristiana Camisotti, Co-Founder of Silicon Milkroundabout

"Never give in, never give up. Try, test, get it wrong, learn fast and move on. Try to achieve balance and time out to let your brain rest.

"But overall... think big and then work out the baby steps to get there and believe me you always do eventually!"

The Fast growth forum is on 24 & 25 March 2015 in London. You can buy your tickets here. Use the following discount code to get 15% off entry: PwC-FGF

For more information visit: and follow: @fastgrowthforum

Brian Henderson | Fast Growth Companies Leader
Profile | Email | +44 (0)207 804 9018


More articles by Brian Henderson



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