Ashley Stockwell (@a5hley) is Guest Academy Director, Wayra UK
Here at Wayra – Telefonica Digital’s tech startups accelerator – we’ve had over 1,000 applications to join our UK academy and 16 lucky start-ups now find themselves working full-time onsite.
The teams vary from an idea created at a hack-a-thon by a team straight out of university to a commercially trading business – the key criteria here is simply that they are all digital business ideas that are less than 2 years old.
So what’s my background and why have I got involved?
I’ve spent the last 20 years in branding and marketing, working for one of the world’s best known entrepreneurs – Sir Richard Branson. I was lucky enough to work on a range of business start-ups ranging from Virgin Drinks to Virgin Mobile and from Virgin Galactic to Virgin Media. So when Simon Devonshire (Director, Wayra Europe) approached me to get involved, I thought it was time to share some of the experience I have managed to pick up with a new generation of business entrepreneurs.
So here are a few of my observations – 5 quick tips for tech startups:
- Focus, focus and yes focus
It’s really easy to get distracted by other people, ideas, opportunities, but to get a new business off the ground you need to stay absolutely focused on your vision to make it a reality.
- Build a passionate team
A business is only as good as the team working for it, so everyone in a start-up needs to be a passionate believer in your business vision too.
- Know your customer
With a great team you can do pretty much anything, but don’t forget your customer. Create and build your business idea from inside the head of its customer and then test, refine, test, refine, test refine and don’t stop.
- Don’t just sit there!
Partnerships, sales, great staff, mentors, advisors, developers, designers won’t just turn up, you need to go out and get them.
- You are your brand
With pretty much no marketing/PR budget, you and your team are your PR strategy, so make sure everything you do is memorable and builds the myth that is and will be your brand.