We interview 100's of entrepreneurs in different stages of their business, different industries, different ages and locations. They all have great advice for aspiring entrepreneurs that they have shared with us. The interviews provide a great in-depth look at their background and entrepreneurial journeys, complete with challenges ups and downs and successes. I have collated some of their advice for aspiring entrepreneurs that they have given.
So here you go, over 50 pieces of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs from some of the top and some of the up & coming entrepreneurs up and down the UK:
"Stop waiting for the perfect time – just jump in and do it, surround yourself with mentors that you can learn from, and be emotionally and mentally prepared for a roller coaster ride."
Jason Trost, Smarkets
"It’s easier said than done, but getting over disappointments and moving on quickly is important."
Omar Tayeb, Blippar
"Always be persistent in pursuing your dreams, but don’t be blinded by them and always listen to others who have been there before you."
Tiago Mateus, Sooqini
"Make something people want."
Matt Robinson, Gocardless
"Just start! Every marathon starts with one tiny step, take that step."
Steve Bartlett, Wallpark
"My advice would be to make sure you try to understand what you can do by yourself and what you need help with. Knowing what you don’t know is key."
Cary Marsh, Mydeo
"Take in as much information as you can. The more you can learn, the more you can figure out the noise to signal of what's important. Read as many books and biographies of entrepreneurs, blogs, go to events and parties, chat to entrepreneurs and through that noise you will begin to see patterns and it will help your business career enormously."
Michael Acton Smith, MindCandy
"Do the scary things first – If you've got a to-do list as long as your desk, it’s easy to push the tasks that you don’t like (e.g. awkward phone calls) down the list, but they’ll ware on your mind. Just muster up the “balls” to do it there and then. After that, the other tasks will be accomplished in a better frame of mind."
Donnie Maclean, Eat Balanced
"If you try something new, you risk failure. If you don’t try something new, you’re guaranteed failure. So try it!"
Richard Corbett, Eyetease
"Have the courage of your convictions. You know your business the best. Know your market. Know your customers. There will still be times when you feel like you’re winging it, this is all part of being an Entrepreneur so enjoy the ride!"
Nina Hampson, Zinc
"Tempo is extremely important in all types of businesses. Aspiring entrepreneurs need to realize that sometimes things will not occur as quickly as you’d like because they involve large corporations or the government. On top of that, it’s easy to continuously ramp up and down in order to sync with those organizations. But as an entrepreneur, there’s always something you can do and if you stick with a plan to be productive, you can switch from one thing to the next without frustrating yourself when you’re waiting for things."
Jon Horbaly, Oxford nanoSystems
"Get a product out there as soon as possible and then improve on it. Don’t wait to launch something."
James Wood, PageHub
"Have a vision and focus on it. Don’t be distracted by opportunistic plays."
Oli Norman, itison
"Be proud of your failures. Communicate how you reflected and learned by your mistakes. Anyone can get ‘lucky’, just ask a Lottery winner. No-one wants to back one of those."
Dan Somers, Boundary Capital
"Choose cofounders you trust; high-integrity individuals who share your values and vision for the company"
Sarah Wood, Unruly Media
"Evolve quickly, know that your original plan is not how its going to end up, don’t be afraid of this change."
James Layfield, Central Working
"Never be scared to ask – If you have a question, a doubt about your business and you need some help, don’t just sit there and wait for the problem to hit you. Ask for advice, there are many online websites who support young entrepreneurs, and loads to give you assistance on setting up your company."
Dirujan Sabesan, CreativeNerds
"Be focused. Write a business plan with financials – then double the costs and halve the revenues and see if you are still making money."
Nina Hampson, Zinc
"Fail quickly! Not everything works out and everyone makes mistakes but nip them in the bud ASAP. Don’t make the same mistake twice and listen to your gut."
James Connelly, Fetch Media
"Before spending any money, share your idea with as many people as possible. Listen to them."
Tom Wright, WhipCar
"When you run a tech business you have to be laser focused on that product. The best product businesses I know are the ones that have been devilishly focussed on doing one thing really really well."
Andy McLoughlin, Huddle
"When times get tough don’t forget to take time out. Sometimes we can get wrapped up in a problem and make it much worse. If you can step back reflect on it you will not do anything you regret!"
Rachel Ducker, Apparition Marketing & Design
"Listen to sceptics, but don’t be cowed by them."
Eben Upton, Raspberry Pi Foundation
"Keep it simple. If people don’t understand your value proposition it doesn't matter how brilliant it is- effectively conveying your message and the value of your product is essential."
Alex Rahaman, StrikeAd
"Try and understand what you’re getting into before you jump, and understand what your strengths and weaknesses are. Make sure you have a credible and affordable solution to plugging your own skills gap, and so if you’re doing a technology startup I’d recommend finding a cofounder or two with complementary skills."
Scott Allison, Teamly
"Focus on one problem at a time and forget everything else."
Matt Robinson, Gocardless
"Talk to your customers, then talk to them again and then don’t stop talking to them"
Alex Depledge, Teddle
"Get your value proposition and benefits case right from the beginning! If you can’t sell it in one sentence, move on! If you can’t identify a clear benefit to a clear customer group, move on!"
Richard Corbett, Eyetease
"If you have competitors, always aim to be the best and benchmark your progress so that you can eventually come out and say you are."
Oli Norman, itison
"Don’t be afraid of telling others about your idea. You need honest feedback, so keep asking for it. Make sure your elevator pitch is crisp; when we started, our early elevator pitch was only suitable for the tallest building in Dubai; we had to learn to focus."
Irina Pafomova, Shopitize
"Make sure you understand how you are delivering the value to your customers. Make sure you know their problems, make sure you know the opportunity clearly that you are pursuing and work your darn hardest to make it a reality."
Andrew Jervis, PieBoy Clothing
"Make sure you believe in what you are doing"
Sarah Mcvittie, Dressipi
"Success rarely comes overnight, if you are convinced of your idea then commit to it and make it happen. Don’t get scared after the first problem you encounter. Be prepared for a rollercoaster ride that is fun and risky with many ups and down."
Taavet Hinrikus, TransferWise
"Persevere, if you have a passion for your business others will too."
Alex d’Arche, Daisy Darche
"Don’t get too attached to your idea. It’s easy to say ‘well that’s for people with crap ideas, mine kicks ass’, but its not just about the quality of your idea, but whether it’s the right timing, whether you have the ability to execute it better than others, and whether you have the resources to get there. Post-pivot, you always realise that you were a bit too headstrong about the last incarnation even when it wasn't going to work out. But that’s understandable, you’re a passionate entrepreneur right? Just take some objective steps or outside perspective to evaluate whether the business is still right in its current state right now."
Joe Stepniewski, Skimlinks
"Surround yourself with smart people. Giving advice out is easy and not all ideas are brilliant but having a group people you can turn to for advice when you’re stuck is invaluable"
Raphaëlle Heaf, ArtSpotter
"Just Start. You don’t have to quit your job to see if your idea has legs. Manage your risk but get something out in public. Even if it’s just a blog, a survey, a Facebook page, a prototype product. No idea survives first contact with the people you are building it for. So get it out there!"
Rob Symington, Escape the City
"You need to have pig-headed determination, persistence and discipline."
Skip Brand, Martini Media
"Having a 'never-say-die' attitude is also important. At the start of any project, everyone has to be a bit of a salesman and go out and sell the concept, and the dream."
Anil Stocker, Marketinvoice
"Celebrate the small wins! You’ll need to look back at these successes when the going gets tough to help you forge ahead."
Gem Misa, Righteous Limited
"Don’t give up and always believe in your product and idea. Don’t listen to the detractors."
Paul Cameron, Booktrack
"Ask people you respect for help and guidance. Often, they will be flattered, and usually provide way more value than you anticipate."
Morgen Newman, IdeaPaint
"Stay as focused as possible and keep simplifying down your ideas till you have something small you can launch quickly and iterate on."
Ian Hogarth, Songkick
"If you are truly passionate about something, ignore the critics and take the risk. Once you do that, failure doesn't seem such a scary idea."
Sarat Pediredla, Hedgehog lab
"Think about what success really means to you – people have different aims and objectives in life and you shouldn't measure your success against other people but against where you were when you started, where you are now and where you hope to be."
Rajeeb Dey, Enternships
"Network and never give up"
Ben Lang, EpicLaunch
"If you have a way of turning something you’re passionate about into a business then just go for it. There is nothing worse than waking up every day to something that you don’t want to do."
Samantha Park, What’s About Town
"Be prepared for some very challenging days it can be lonely especially at the start!"
Kate Castle, Boginabag
"If you are setting up an online business and can’t code the site yourself then ask as many people as possible if they know anyone can, for cheap. Do not pay thousands. There are plenty of people out there trying to rip you off."
Steve Burford, Wealthystudent.co.uk
"Work smarter, not harder. Running a business is hard work, so understanding when you are at your most productive is key. The same task can take me 15mins or 1.5hours depending on my mood. Knowing this helps me plan my day more effectively and now I don’t waste time staring at my Mac when I know I’d be better off in the gym…"
Nina Hampson, Zinc
"Talk to everyone you can about what you are doing / thinking of doing and ask for help. Don’t be guarded with your idea. You need input from everyday people as well as more experienced entrepreneurs who can help point you in the right direction."
Andrew Hunter, Adzuna
"Choose who you hangout with carefully. Make sure you surround yourself with people with a similar mind set with you."
Oo Nwoye, Onepage
"Learn as you go along, don’t let anything hold you back. Avoid the thoughts such as 'I don’t have enough experience' or 'I don’t have enough money'."
Joel Gascoigne, Buffer
Some great advice for aspiring entrepreneurs here. I hope these help. There are certainly a few reoccurring themes here, like just get started & talk to people, smart people, people you respect. I guess that's what this article is trying to do. Not everyone has access to loads of entrepreneurs in different industries, but we ask the question for you and these guys have been kind enough to offer their advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. So take with you their words into 2013. And remember nothing is set in stone, these are just opinions from some fantastic entrepreneurs, to help guide you on your startup journey.