Tag: enterprise

No regrets


There was a surprising article in today’s Yorkshire Evening Post saying that one third of all small business owners and managing directors in Yorkshire say that they not only regret starting their own venture, but would not go through the pain of launching a business again.

I find this really hard to believe, particularly as less than a week ago more than 4,000 businesses from the region spent two days sharing their success and giving advice and guidance to others during the Buy Yorkshire Conference. Not a single person I met on either of these two days said that they regret launching a company, in fact many of them quite the opposite.

This update came from the Viking Small Business Barometer, but interestingly there is no indication to the size of sample that was used to make these assumptions, nor any specific reference to the companies that were involved.

As a small business owner I am absolutely aware of the difficulties that people face when trying to get a venture off the ground and then the struggles that you come across in trying to keep it going – it’s not easy or for the faint hearted, but do I regret it? Not a single second.

I network with a lot of local businesses and we often natter about the different challenges that we are facing and then offer advice on how to overcome them and I think it is this that some small businesses are missing. It can be quite lonely when you work in a small organisation – particularly if you’ve come from a large corporate or agency environment – and so it’s essential to surround yourself with a network of people that you can trust.

Like making friends you need to be careful but if you have a couple of reliable people that you can call upon when you feel like pulling your hair out it makes life so much easier. There have been times when I’ve been close to throttling someone or myself but after sitting down with a business colleague for a coffee or something stronger the world makes more sense and I can get excited about the good things that are around the corner.

It would be ridiculous to say that every day you skip into work with a smile a mile wide but I have to admit that I’m happier in my career now than I have ever been, regardless of the longer working hours and added pressure.

I don’t profess that running a company is easy, far from it, but I don’t think that surveys like this encourage people to give it a go. Looking back at what we have achieved as a business and the challenges that we have overcome at Open Communications I am really proud to say that I am the owner of an agency and there isn’t a single thing that would make me regret the decision that I made to launch back in 2008.

So anyone out there who is considering launching a new start up, remember, what makes you unique is what will also make you a success, so as long as you truly believe in the product or service that you have to offer your clients then all you have to do is give it a go. No one will ever fault you for trying.

If you’re appy and you know it


Looks like a young entrepreneur will be laughing all the way to the bank thanks to Yahoo who has reportedly bought his app for an undisclosed sum – said to be around a cool 30 million dollars. What makes this story a little different, other than the fact the businessman in question is only 17 years old and started to write code for apps when he was just 12, is that what he has developed is actually really useful.

Summly condenses news items from the web into small chunks that are then readable on smartphone screens. Not only is this a handy option but you can click through to the full article if you want to read more – in turn driving traffic to the sites of global newspapers and syndication feeds. As a result he has kept news corporations on side by offering them something back and they have therefore agreed to share their content.

This is a fantastic example of a young and already very successful entrepreneur who has developed something that can make life easier for others. The app is clever, business led and will be of use to millions of people throughout the world. Most importantly it is a shining example to others that if they have a good idea they should pursue it.  

However there is another side to this story…

I’m all for championing passion and entrepreneurial spirit, particularly in the next generation of business minds, but what I don’t want to see is a market flooded with unnecessary content that is neither use nor ornament.

What is absolutely fundamental in this story and what led to Nick D’Aloisio’s app attracting the attention of investors and therefore a significant investment into his business is that he thought it through. He was looking for something useful, that would appeal to the masses and he found it.

The same should be said of brands who are investing in digital content. There are lots of QR codes and AR campaigns that are hitting the headlines as the use of smartphones become every day to the majority of consumers however how many of these apps will be used more than once? And what purpose do they serve?

The best apps in relation to campaigns in my view are those that add value – they bring a different dimension to an integrated marketing strategy that builds on a message and delivers it across channels.

To engage with an audience is to keep them coming back and wanting more and this is where I believe that digital and the use of apps, QR and AR codes come into their own. Consumers want more than ever before – they want visual, audio, content rich communication and they want to be involved, or at least feel as if they are.

So before we all put the CEO of Yahoo into our phones on speed dial because we’ve come up with the next big thing, perhaps we need to stop and decide what it is actually brings to those who are going to use it. What will it do, what will it deliver and if the real answer is not a lot maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board.