Saturday, 17 January 2015

StartWhat?

Screenshot via Nokia Lumia
StartUp 2015 was billed as being exactly what its title would suggest - an honest, helpful, informative point in the right direction for budding entrepreneurs.

Held at London's Somerset House, with more attendees than capacity of the rooms would allow, with many being turned away from seminars they had queued for, it felt like more of a hangout for any and every one than a business driven hub of which the purpose was to provide those who aspire to become their own boss with at least a handful of firm, useful tips to set them on their way to do just that!

In fact, based on the seminars I attended and the overheard conversations between certain groups whilst in the bathroom and while I was in line for an afternoon talk, it presented self made successful business persons who remained vague about their actual journey from someone's employee to CEO of their own company. There were a number of unsatisfied budding entrepreneurs at this event. Having turned up in such poor weather conditions and queuing for each seminar between 9am and 3pm it's no wonder why...

There were loose accounts of "well this is what I did" filled with (what sounded like) just a tiny portion of an actual 'success' story from appointed so-called entrepreneurs who seemed more enthused by having been given a seat on a seemingly high-profile panel than that of giving tips one could actually use; something not yet thought of or realised, that would be of some real help. No demonstrations, nothing concrete. Some handouts and a limited, tight lipped chat/Q &A..

StartUp Britain was co-founded by Emma Jones (a very bubbly, attractive, likeable, warm lady) who is hailed as a "business expert" having founded Enterprise Nation for home business owners in the UK. StartUp serves to encourage more people to launch their own business and while StartUp 2015 was an inspiring event, in that seminar panels were filled with many who have successfully founded and sustained new business ventures, overall it was a huge let down!

Event partners
startup britain it's nice that supa academy start-up loans    eventbrite
courierhootsuiteinstabear seedrs  

"Unique" and "most influential entrepreneurs" are just 2 ways in which the event and its panelists were described and while StartUp may be unique in that there doesn't appear to be any other entrepreneurial event quite on its scale and as successful (for reasons I have yet to identify), the panelists I experienced were far from influential and more, "you have to be passionate about it and then, just do it" - the most repeated line by each of them! I felt that some of the audience could have probably done much better at being more open and giving raw details about what they do, how they do it and how they have managed to maintain their business, or drive it forward which is what those in attendance were hoping to hear no doubt... I didn't expect any speaker to give out a list of their contacts however, in all that was said, there were literally no 'tools' given.

Screenshot via Nokia Lumia
In particular, I was rather disappointed with 'Building a business from a blog’ delivered by Alex Bec from It’s Nice That who, together with a slide show presentation of pictures which said absolutely nothing, literally, spoke of going from a Graphic Designer to having worked on a blog with his friend which now makes them money. How they made the transition exactly, found who their audience were, kept their audience interested, turned the blog into a business, found a way to make it lucrative and sustain that I don't know. There were no real details in anything he said. Just a surprising leap from one step to the next... He did a lot of talking and was quite the comedian with it too; a really nice guy I thought, however, he didn't give even one clue as to how to build a business from a blog despite being directly asked the relevant questions! Another common theme - questions asked were not necessarily answered and instead were practically overlooked!!

All of the above stated, I did leave feeling inspired albeit born from mild frustration and I hope to be able to share that inspiration in the near future. Sponsored by HSBC, 123-reg, Direct Line for Business and MOO, I was simply grateful for the freebies I received from StartUp 2015 including a pair of white earphones (which I needed for my mp3 player), oyster holders, a pen, a pair of woolly gloves, a book about Start Up Loans and some flyers... I'm sure these bits and bobs will come in handy so, again, I appreciate the handout however, I'd have traded in the goodie bag for some firm stepping stones in the shape of some concrete business tips from those supposedly in the know. 

I must take the time to mention a lovely lady (apologies, I cannot remember her name) who works within PR and Marketing who was simply a delight to talk to and was most definitely about her expertise, if you know what I mean! 

To all those who are keen to go into business for themselves, research then plan, do some more research, plan further, be clear about what your product/service is, know who your target audience is and keep up with them as best as you can, save a good chunk of money, make sure you have a good support network behind you in the shape of trusted family and friends then just GO FOR IT making sure you're open to every pitfall along the way which is likely to provide you with the valuable lessons you'll need to succeed and always continue with your research! I'm no expert however, I'm guessing that's a pretty good start? All the best. 


Thanks for reading - if you attended StartUp 2015 and have blogged a review, or would like to share your experience of the event, please tweet me @CharleyRealTalk

All images taken from Google unless otherwise stated