Monday, 7 November 2016

ScaleUp 2016 Enterprise Nation

Matt Dredger and Ricky Kothari
It was a memorable day at Enterprise Nation's ScaleUp 2016, the perfect event to help you take your small business to the next level and dream bigger!
Emma Jones and Stephen Ibbotson

It was fitting that the first speaker at the event Jason Stockwood of Simply Business is a former philosophy student as the quotes below are often extremely thoughtful, inspiring and ethically minded rather than some lets get rich quick mentality. 

Lets start a bit sombre...

Scale Up 2016 in 20 Quotes

1) "Remember You Die".
Jason Stockwood discusses the 'death penalty' with EN founder Emma Jones
Jason wants you to ask yourself "Is what you are doing today really what you are about?". Jason stated that businesses should not define their values as values are actually how you live your life. "Don't leave your values at the door" he urged as there is no point defining values such as integrity if employees then see you acting differently.

2) "I will get you the returns you need, just leave me alone".

Jason said not to bother explaining emotional intelligence to investors, just talk about return on investment and figures as they won't understand or care about what you mean. Investors help you to be ambitious but don't drive your culture. "The language of numbers is different to the language of the heart."

3) "I wanted to build a business that I would want to work in".
Jason said you need to be best version of yourself. He does not believe in the work/life balance mantra as those two things are diametrically opposed instead you should love going to work and behave in the same way as you do outside work.

4) "Get the staff right and the customer service will flow."
Three top tips are:
1) Set the culture
2) Don't run out of cash
3) Hire great people

Simply Business has such a strong culture that even if he left there would still be 14 senior staff that share his values that would keep the culture in tact.

During his first two years with Simply Business Jason interviewed and hired every new employee. Get as much data as possible and as many opinions as possible he suggests. "Are you excited to work with this person?" If anyone on the team says no we won't employ that person.

5) "We had to move on 53% of employees we began with".
When he took over Simply Business it was £10m in debt with 70 employees. Many of these did not like the new more accountable style of management where he asked:

What are you working on?
What problems do you have?
What help do you need?

Simply Business now has 400 employees and an estimated valuation of £120m.

6) "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that matters".
Jason is a big Winston Churchill fan and quoted his words to encourage every business to keep going.

7) "We had to scale up the business very quickly. There was no time for 'let's open one shop and see how it goes'.
Doddle's Chief Executive Tim Robinson.

8) "Don't just think big act big!"
You need big pockets to scale quickly and Tim wasted no time in raising £24m from Network Rail and TravelEx founder Lloyd Dorfman. They opened 26 shops in 20 weeks which was the fastest retail rollout

"The best looking man in the railway business!" 
So stated Emma Jones enthusiastically. Tim took it all in laconic style.

9) "You need to scale up as a person before you can scale up a business".
Michael Bruce
This was a quote Emma particularly connected with. Former Criminal lawyer and founder of Purplebricks will be your judge, jury and executioner if you don't have the drive and talent to think and act big. 

10) "If all you care about is money when you start a business you won't get it!"
Loving the death stare here.
Don't start a business just for money Michael warned. If you care about the things that create wealth then money will follow. Don't be shallow people.

11) "Get as close as possible to the people/customers who can help you fulfil your dreams".
Purplebricks spoke to thousands of people before they launched and discovered crucial tips about what they did and did not want. For example customers did not want a 100% digital service they still wanted support from a local agent.

12) "If you dream big enough you can give away equity".
"Don't be greedy trying to hold onto 80% of your equity"

It's possibly the most dreaded dilemma an entrepreneur can face. Should you give up equity and how much is the correct amount to give up. Michael said that he would rather have 20% of a big company than 50% of a tiny one. Purplebricks which launched in 2014 after 2 years of prep floated after 20 months at £240m. It is now worth £300m.

13) "All are customers are Gen D".
If you don't know who the Digital Generation are then you may not be cool enough to drink Sandows Cold Brew Coffee. Co-founder Hugh Duffie explained that it's important that they speak to their young customers in their own language. "We take risks and we use txtspeak to show that we are Gen D and not the older generation".

Credit @GreenfieldEmma

14) "Every morning do the one thing that is the most important and critical thing for the success of your business".
Nigel Botterill
Nigel Botterill of Entrepreneur's Circle ordered that you should not be scanning your emails or being distracted by anything trivial. For many businesses the most critical thing they should be doing is finding and keeping new customers. You must set aside time to do this key thing and Nigel even has a sign on his office door stating "Do not disturb unless the building is on fire". He even gave two employees a disciplinary to enforce this rule.

15) "If I had to do________ by __________ or else I would die. Would I get it done?"

This is tip for the procrastinators of you out there taking your time, avoiding deadlines and lacking urgency. Nigel said that if for example you had to get a Facebook ad campaign running in 24 hours or you died you would do it! Get your plans into action!
credit: press4attention
16) "Entrepreneurs waste millions of hours a day dicking around on social media instead of doing what they are supposed to be doing." 
Nigel said that this is what most of the UK is doing and that we are not exactly rammed full of millionaires. Got a great chuckle and knowing nods from the audience.

17) "If 80% of small businesses are only getting by or struggling why are you copying what they do?"
It's foolish to copy the market and your competitors strategies if most of them are not thriving as you too will then be destined to be only getting by and struggling. "Your dream fades to just getting by".

18) "I've interacted with my customers 10,000 times".
 Debbie Assinder, Emma Greenfield and Mel Bound
My favourite moment of ScaleUp 2016 was getting to chat with Mel Bound of This Mum Runs and Enterprise Nation's Female Start-up of the year 2016. You cannot fail to be impressed with Mel. When talking about being able to analyse her Facebook group page Mel was astonished to find out that she had commented 10,000 times on members post. There can be no finer example of engaging with your customers with enthusiasm and dedication. Amazing!

A big thank you to organiser Debbie Assinder for bringing together such a wonderful range of inspirational speakers.

19) "Investors don't want to be the first person in a empty restaurant"

If you are looking to crowdfund to raise investment for your business your marketing campaign must start long before your launch day on the website. Chris Rea sitting third left on the finance panel explained that you should already have some investment lined up so you attract attention on the homepage and start with a good momentum towards your target.
Mukesh Bulsara, Juliet Rogan, Chris Rea and Steve Walker

20) "Are you THEE Chris Rea? Are you going to sing Driving Home For Xmas to us now?"

Words and photos by Paul Clarke.

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