Seven things to consider when setting up your start-up

Highlights from ideaSpace’s Ben Hartley Start-up Story chat with CEO and Founder of Cambridge Intelligence - Joe Parry.

ideaSpace with Ben Hartley Start-up Story chat with CEO and Founder of Cambridge Intelligence - Joe Parry.

1 - It may not be part of your big life plan. Setting up Cambridge Intelligence was never part of Joe's life plan, however it was the independence of running his own business which was the main driver for Joe.

2 - You don't need to know everything before you start. Joe had absolutely no prior knowledge of running a company. He had an academic career until he was about 24, went into industry and while he had knowledge of the industry he was about to start a business in, he had no insight into marketing, accounting, sales or management. As Joe says, "the things I didn't know was quite a long list!".

3 - You don't always need to wait for your product to be perfect before you start selling. Joe's journey started with his first customer - he built something for that customer but retained the ownership of the licence of that code - then he launched that idea to the world via his newly created website.

4 - You don't always need investment. Joe is a big believer in bootstrapping and says, "if you can bootstrap it, then you should definitely try. The end result - the independence, lack of complexity is great. Of course it depends on the type of business and circumstances but if you can find customers who will pay for your product, they will also provide feedback - they will tell you what the thing has to do as well, so it's a double win."

5 - Not every hire works out - but there's things you can do to try and get the best person for your company. Joe used his networks to help find quality people and recommends dividing up the work into more traditional roles because it becomes much easier to scale. "I remember trying to hire a technical genius who must be able to do sales - that's ridiculous. To attract the right people you also need to try and work out what it is about what you're doing that will mean people will want to work for you."

6 - Join a community from the start. Joe started Cambridge Intelligence at his kitchen table and it wasn't long before he joined ideaSpace. "It was really important. Being a member at ideaSpace gave me access to kitchen chats with other founders - which I really enjoyed." As a single founder, with no investor he's found peer support even more valuable as he's gone on. 

7 - Read 'The One Minute Manager'.  One thing Joe wished he'd known more about was management. He recommends The One Minute Manager, "a US style self-help book which is only 50 pages so you can dip in and out so it's great. It's about adapting your management style according to the situation you're in."

Listen to the podcast with Joe Parry here 

Image: Courtesy of ideaSpace. ideaSpace’s Ben Hartley with CEO and Founder of Cambridge Intelligence - Joe Parry.