Simply Business met with several British entrepreneurs at the Business Startup Show in London's ExCeL centre. We've asked business experts about their startup tips to guide new entrepreneurs through the process of starting or growing their business. In this interview, Philip Young of Grow My Business encourages startup business owners to seek free advice and to have confidence when promoting the business to potential clients.
Simply Business: Could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your company please?
Philip Young: My name is Philip Young. I’m here for the launch of our new business called Grow My Business. This is day two for us here, and we are very pleased to announce that we have just launched. So it is brand new to us, too, as well as everyone that is visiting here. Basically, we set the company up to deal with multiple services that SMEs would use. So, it might be that they are looking at accountancy and taxation, it might be that they are looking at sales marketing, website solutions, HR… pretty much every service that an SME would look to use at some point during their development. Everyone that is involved with the business has around about 1000 years of experience running their own business. So, we are all small business owners, we all know what we’re doing. What we’ve done is that we’ve brought together a collection of people that really know what they’re doing.
One of the core target markets that we deal with are the small business start-ups, so hence our exposure here today. What we’re finding is that it’s really convenient for people to have one supplier for a number of different services. They can just have one account manager, they speak to one person, but there’s a whole array of services behind that. So, we’ve bundled those services together. The second aspect that we deal with is we actually look at small businesses, see who the people are as personalities that are involved in running those businesses, check out what markets are operating within, and formulate a plan for their growth. So, in as much as they’ve got all the services in one house that they can just deal with as one point of call, we’ve also got an ability to take that person and their business, and put in a proper plan for their growth. It fits new business start-ups because they may be pre-trading, they may be trading for less than a year… they all have different challenges, so we very much get involved in working with the person as a partner, and saying to them: “This is what we think you’re capable of doing. Here are the opportunities you might want to explore.” It’s very, very exciting for us here today.
Simply Business: What sort of advice would you give to somebody who is here today and is thinking about starting up their own business? What sort of tips might you offer them?
Philip Young: I’d probably say the best tip you could have is just get as much free advice as you possibly can. There are so many opportunities to speak to people that are willing to give their advice to start-ups. For example, we have free introductory sessions with people. We just pump out loads of advice for them. There are also places like Business Link, there are loads of mentors online that you can get information from, YouTube is great for that sort of stuff, too… but just get loads and loads of free advice, and don’t make any rash decisions.
Simply Business: You mentioned that you’ve run businesses yourself. What sort of gems were you given when you were running those?
Philip Young: People constantly try to come up with the next biggest idea. They really try to come up with a big brainstorm of what they’re going to do. More often than not, that actually doesn’t work. What they tend to find success with are areas in which they have training or prior business experience. So, just take what you do and do it really, really well. Just really try hard, put energy into it. But also, be enthusiastic with people. Don’t just come on and say “You know, I’ve got a service, it’s quite vanilla…” Really try to sell it, and really be confident in what you do. People do business with other people, when it’s all said and done, and if you establish trust with people and you can say “this is right for you as a client”, then they tend to believe what you’re saying. If you take what you’re doing and try to sell it to them, it doesn’t necessarily work. Look at what a customer needs first, and then supply to that.
Simply Business: Where would you point people for help and advice if they’re here today starting up business?
Philip Young: Well, you just need to go to Stand 599 because that’s where we are. But, no, there are loads of people. Go to the free seminars. Come and see us at our stand, but yes, just ask as many people for as much information as possible. Don’t sign up for anything.
Simply Business: Thank you.