Latest Articles

Periodical

2021 - A New Dawn

“What will the new year bring us?” “365 opportunities!” This was the question and answer in a cartoon that was sent to me a few days ago, showing two people sitting on a hill...

Read Article

Lessons Learned

Final Lessons from 2020

Looking back on 2020 and learning as many lessons as possible is a very worthwhile exercise for all of us. At the beginning of this series, nearly three months ago, I paraphrased..

Read Article

Lessons Learned

Covid-19 AND Brexit

Businesses, and indeed stock markets, hate uncertainty. Sadly, there is no doubt that 2020 has been full of uncertainty at every stage. And whilst the main focus...

Read Article

Lessons Learned

Kickstart Scheme

How much do you know about the Kickstart Scheme that was introduced by the Government in September 2020? If you are a startup or early stage business, my guess would probably be...

Read Article

Lessons Learned

Working from Home?

Are you working from home? Do you enjoy it? Given a totally free choice how would you like to split your time between working from home and working in the office? These are...

Read Article

Lessons Learned

Virtual vs Reality

For everyone around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of all of our lives. But what lessons have we learned about virtual verses reality? In many ways...

Read Article

Lessons Learned

Surprise but no Shock

As we enter Lockdown 2.0 we are at least all much better prepared than we were in March when we entered Lockdown 1.0 and went into the total unknown. We are better prepared than...

Read Article

Lessons Learned

Optimism and Realism

Everything in life and business is a learning opportunity. The fact that all of us learn more, and more quickly, from our mistakes and when times are difficult, rather than when...

Read Article

Lessons Learned

Speed is of the Essence

In business, it is always important to react to changing circumstances and this has never been more true than in 2020. Regular readers will know that I have written a lot...

Read Article

Lessons Learned

Communications - The New Normal

Communication has always been key in running a business, and indeed in most other aspects of our lives. In 2020 many lessons have been learned or reinforced and it has reminded...

Read Article

Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned from 2020

As we enter the last quarter of 2020 I thought that it would be useful to take a look back at this extraordinary year and see what lessons can be learned from this remarkable...bl

Read Article

Top Tips

Top Tips to Entrepreneurship

What qualities make an entrepreneur? What character traits are typically seen in entrepreneurs? Are these qualities and character traits something that they are born with or...

Read Article

Top Tips

Top Tips to Adapting & Pivoting

Every business needs to constantly assess what it sells, to whom, and how it sells it. It also needs to constantly assess the market and its competitors, as well as attempting...

Read Article

Top Tips

Top Tips to Pitching

One thing that every early stage business should produce is a pitch deck, whether they are looking to raise external funding or not. A pith deck is typically a 15 to 20 page...

Read Article

Top Tips

Top Tips to Valuing your Business

Founders typically establish a business with one of two game plans in mind. They either want a lifestyle business and one that fits their work life balance, or they want to build..

Read Article

Top Tips

Top Tips to Managing Cash Flow

It is often said that turnover is vanity and profit is sanity. But, even more importantly, do not forget that cash is king. Put simply, businesses fail because they do not have...

Read Article

Top Tips

Top Tips to Scaling

As with everything about starting a business, different people do it for different reasons, and they have different levels of ambition. Some people want it to remain a side hustle.

Read Article

Top Tips

Top Tips to Surviving in Business

According to the Office for National Statistics 213,285 businesses failed in the UK in the first half of 2020, a 14% increase on the same period in the previous year. Without...

Read Article

Top Tips

Top Tips to Communication

We all communicate every day in both our social and our business lives but, let’s be honest, some do it so much better and more effectively than others. The very word...

Read Article

Top Tips

Top Tips to Getting the Right Partners

Some founders come up with their business ideas alone, whilst others do so with friends or associates. Some founders wish to stay as sole founders, whilst others prefer to work...

Read Article

Top Tips

Top Tips to Developing a Website

Having set up a business there are some very logical next steps that have common features irrespective of what your business will do. Any business needs to sell its product or...

Read Article

Top Tips

Top Tips for Starting a Business

Welcome to a new series of articles where I will provide practical top tips on a wide range of decisions and challenges that early stage businesses have to make every day. Here...

Read Article

Periodical

Taking a Deeper Look Into AI and Blockchain

Technology, especially new technology, has always had something of a divisive effect; that is it can be seen as black or white, working in good ways or bad. If we look back...

Read Article

Overheard in a Startup...

How Do I Promote My Business?

It goes without saying that for any business, in any sector, in order for it to survive, grow and prosper, sales are imperative, because sales generate profit and cash flow and...

Read Article

Overheard in a Startup...

How Do I Scale My Business?

According to UK Government statistics some 660,000 new companies are established each year and many of these will have plans to scale rather than to remain a micro business...

Read Article

Overheard in a Startup...

Should I be a Sole Founder or a Co-Founder?

For those founders at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey, whether for the first time or as a serial founder, there is a question that I overhear time and time again...

Read Article

Overheard in a Startup...

What Do We Do and How Do We Go About It?

As spring turns into summer and the fears of lockdown turn into the uncertainties of release, many early stage companies are effectively having to start all over again...

Read Article

Overheard in a Startup...

How Do I Make My Business Post Lockdown Ready?

After nine long weeks of lockdown, businesses are starting to re-open or, at least, planning to reopen in the near future. For some of the luckier ones this might be possible...

Read Article

Overheard in a Startup...

Should My Business Pivot?

Many businesses ask me many questions but one of the questions that has become more common over the last few months is whether their business should pivot. Regular readers will...

Read Article

Periodical

Why Many Founders are Fantasists

Founders and entrepreneurs need to be many things. They need to be enthusiastic and energetic, intelligent and inventive, resourceful and resilient, tenacious and talented. But...

Read Article

Overheard in a Startup...

Is My Business Eligible for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme?

As we are all starting to hope that the end, or at least a temporary reprieve, is in sight, thoughts are starting to turn to how we and our businesses can bounce back. In fact...

Read Article

Overheard in a Startup...

How Will We Adapt to the 'New Normal'?

As we emerge blinking into the light post lockdown, what will the ‘new normal’ look like? The questions that I am overhearing have changed very recently, from those covering how...

Read Article

Overheard in a Startup...

Why Adopt a Siege Mentality

The longer the coronavirus lockdown goes on, the more my conversations with startups have varied from the norm. Just another example of ‘the new normal’ maybe, but recently...

Read Article

Overheard in a Startup...

How Will My Business Trade Six Months from Now?

Any business at any time has to constantly be considering how best to trade in the present, and how best to trade in the future. This is equally true in the good times as it is...

Read Article

Overheard in a Startup...

Can My Business Survive Coronavirus?

Coronavirus is on everyone’s lips, not literally but figuratively. And for very good reason. It seems so long ago already that the only thing in the news was all things Brexit...

Read Article

Overheard in a Startup...

How Do I Best Preserve Cashflow?

In any business, at any time, cash is king and cashflow is much more important than turnover, and in the short term it can often even be more important than profit. If turnover...

Read Article

Periodical

Coronavirus Business Loan Interruption Scheme

The government backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has been rolled out at unprecedented speed, and the size of the financial packages being made...

Read Article

Overheard in a Startup...

Does Remote Working Have to Mean Working Remotely?

These are strange times, unsettling times, and if I am honest this is not a normal question that I overhear much in more normal times, but recently THE question that I keep...

Read Article

Overheard in a Startup...

How Quickly Should My Business Adapt?

Any business at any stage of its life must be able to adapt and change to changing circumstances. One of the very real benefits that early stage businesses have is that they are...

Read Article

Periodical

Launching: Kevin R Smith

My ‘day job’ is as a business and finance consultant working with early stage businesses from start up to mid-sized corporates, and I am also a Mentor at Cass Business School...

Read Article

Overheard in a Startup...

Tell Me More About Funding Options?

Whatever any of us care to call it - funding, finance, getting investors, or any other variation on the theme – obtaining finance remains one of the biggest areas of both concern..

Read Article

Overheard in a Startup...

Why Do Most Businesses Fail?

For anyone starting a business there is that delicious and intoxicating mixture of excitement tinged with fear. That is partly the fear of the unknown but it is also very much...

Read Article

Overheard in a Startup...

How Big Should I Aim To Grow My Business?

When anyone is considering doing anything important and potentially life changing in their lives it always pays to think hard, do as much research and gather as much information...

Read Article

Finance

Money Matters! #4 Lower Risk but Better Returns

In my previous article in this series I set out why I thought that having cash in an instant bank or building society savings account, and especially in a cash ISA, was not good..

Read Article

Overheard in a Startup...

How Long Will It Take?

Of all the questions that I overhear or am asked, the one with the most variants is without doubt ‘how long will it take? The simple reason that it has the most variants is...

Read Article

Overheard in a Startup...

Who Should I Ask to Help Me?

As a Mentor, one of the things that I am often asked about is how to find reliable partners, and indeed who those partners should be. I recently overheard that very point...

Read Article

Overheard in a Startup...

How Much Should I Research the Market?

One of the very common themes that I come across with entrepreneurs and founders is that they are generally over confident. About everything! That goes from the valuation...

Read Article

Overheard in a Startup...

But Isn't Setting Up A Company Difficult?

There are many reasons why living in the UK makes life much easier than living in most other countries. This is in our personal lives and wellbeing but also in our working lives...

Read Article

Overheard in a Startup...

Where Do I Start?

Over the years that I have been working with startups and early-stage businesses I have overheard many different things. The majority of these follow the normal concerns...

Read Article

Finance

Money Matters! #3 Deposit Accounts

Having started to understand that we owe it to ourselves that we really do need to know a little more about our personal finances it is easy to go one of two ways...

Read Article

Finance

Money Matters! #2

In my opening article in this ‘Money Matters!’ series I asked a number of basic questions about personal finance that everyone should be able to answer at least in general terms...

Read Article

Periodical

Taking the First Steps in Business

So…you’ve decided you’re going to set up your own business and this time you are really going to do it...

Read Article

Finance

Money Matters!

I have been in and around the financial service sector the whole of my working life and indeed studied Commerce and Economics at school, so I guess that that shapes my view on...

Read Article

Mentor's Journal

Week 5 – An Unusual Mix

This week was quite typical in that it was an unusual mix of many of the things that I get involved with as a mentor and that I have written about in the past. There was some...

Read Article

Mentor's Journal

Week 3 – Law And Good Order

This week I met with Deputy Chief Constable Jo Shiner at Sussex Police to talk about all the many ways that businesses of any size can work together with the police for the...

Read Article

Mentor's Journal

The Mentor's Journal

Following on from the nine articles in the ‘A Mentor’s Perspective’ series that I wrote recently that looked at some of the main points that any startup or early stage business...

Read Article

Mentor's Perspective

Choosing A Mentor

In the first of this series of articles we looked at the fact that there was actually quite a lot of help available to you when you set up your own business, and specifically we...

Read Article

Mentor's Perspective

A Mentors Perspective

In this, the first of an occasional series, I will be passing on my thoughts and observations in my capacity as a Mentor and how accepting the help that is available to startup...

Read Article

boom

in British English

VERB

to prosper or cause to prosper vigorously and rapidly