What do you need to do to give your startup a legup

HRH The Duke of York talking to new startup founders at a recent Wayra Academy day

You don’t have to go it alone: It may be advisable to try to find a partnering director, especially if you are able to partner with someone who has previously experienced start-up success to act as a mentor. Experian analysis shows businesses started by two people or more have a greater chance of survival.

Know your sector: There are many successful firms even in vulnerable sectors, just as there are many companies in growing sectors that do not perform well. The key is to ensure you have a good understanding of the risks and challenges of the target sector.

Know your area: Make sure there is local demand for the service or product if targeting a specific region.

Investigate all available finance options: Don’t just rely on overdrafts, bank loans or personal sources of cash. Investigate alternative sources of finance, such as crowd funding, angel investments, business cash advances and government grants.

Get credit savvy from the start: Ensure your business is registered with a business directory and approach credit reference agencies proactively to make sure your credit line is in order before you start making purchases. This will help kick-start your credit history and put you in a better position to negotiate with initial suppliers (e.g. telephone, utilities, banking).

Check your suppliers and customers: It’s easy to get caught up in that first customer win and forget the due diligence. Be sure to check out the financial position of all your customers and suppliers, regardless of how big they are. Don’t wait until they become insolvent and you don’t get paid.

Don’t stop sharing business information: Regardless of the stage a business is at in its development, the more information there is in the public domain or that is provided to credit reference agencies, the better. Once you are on top of it, you will be able to spot any problems early on, as opposed to them taking you by surprise and scuppering critical business developments further down the line.

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