I want to change the world.
Most rewarding - to see people using the product that I have created.
Most frustrating - with a small team, there are always distractions from the core business.
Not seeking and taking advice. You might be smart, have bags of common sense, and be really commercial, but none of this replaces real business experience, which builds up over time. It's important to find a mentor or advisor that is willing to help you and your business, whilst you find your feet. A quick call to someone that has faced the predicament you are currently facing 10 times before, can save you a lot of stress.
1. Focus on the things you don't know
By this I mean that with my law background, at the start of the project, the tendency was to focus on the legal details rather than on the product and marketing, because this was what I knew best and was most comfortable doing. This is the wrong priority.
2. Find a partner
If you are starting a tech project and you’re not technical, then find a tech partner. If your business will be run online and this is new to you, partner with someone with online marketing or e-commerce skills. This will save you money at the outset and ensure you have an informed sounding board as you progress your plans.
3. Know your skill gaps.
You can’t be expert in everything and trying to be can be counterproductive. Accept at times that if you (and/or your partners) don’t have a required skill that buying it in might be necessary and a better course of action than starting on page 1 of a textbook.
I qualified as a commercial lawyer in Theodore Goddard (now Addleshaw Goddard), working for clients ranging from startups to multinational corporations – always much more interested in the former, with my firm being way more focused on the more profitable latter! I left in 2007 with an idea and bags of enthusiasm, co-founding and launching ClickTonight.
Moving from the structure of a large law firm into tech was a bold move and a major shock to the system. I rode out the obscenely steep learning curve and we developed ClickTonight into a recognizable London brand with a 6-figure database.
ClickTonight hosts large events in top London nightclubs for its community and it’s through my involvement in these events that I saw the increasing demand and success of off line events for an otherwise online community. This was where I saw an opportunity; and an opportunity that extended far wider than the dating market. So armed with this, and my love for dining out, TableCrowd was born!
TableCrowd is a real life social network where you can meet people over food. We believe that networks are vital to success and that there is no better way to build them than over food! Mostly we host business networking dinners, including industry startup dinners and dinners with great after-dinner speakers.
In 2012, I co-founded e-commerce platform SilkFred, the new online destination for emerging designers and independent brands. We work with new brands to get them selling online and offline in premium retail locations and more recently helping them develop their own web presence. SilkFred was recently crowdfunded on Crowdcube and is growing rapidly.
In 2014, I founded www.eis-seis.com, a startup for startups, to help them secure EIS and SEIS and to provide advice on all associated issues. Having successfully secured the tax reliefs for my own startups and many fellow startups over the years, it seemed like a natural step.