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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...

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Where Do I Go From Here?

We live in changing times. Rapidly changing times. Times always change and move forward but what has been remarkable recently has been the fact that the speed of change...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Choose Your Investors Wisely

Taking the plunge and deciding to start your own business can be one of the biggest and most important decisions that many of us will make. Having set out on that course...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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sifted. Part of Financial Times

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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...

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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...

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Why Is Understanding Customer Needs Important?

When your business was founded you would have done a lot of market research into all the areas necessary in order to validate your idea and to write a full and comprehensive...

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Can I Raise Finance During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Money most certainly does not buy happiness, but it does make the world go round. And the lack of money can lead to hardship in many ways. A question that I keep overhearing...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Growth & Grace Collective

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Do I Really Need To Network?

Some people are afraid of networking and others love it! It is true. We have all come across people that love nothing more than going to networking events and chatting to...

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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..

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Startups Magazine

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What Exactly is SEIS and EIS Tax Relief?

Some questions in life are more fundamental than others and some are more specific or technical, and so it is in the world of early stage businesses. But for the person asking...

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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...

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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...

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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..

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Mentor's Journal

Week 17 - Et Deinceps Sursum

Last week was of course the last real working week of the year, but whilst many will have found opportunities to celebrate most will still have been working hard...

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Crowdfunding or Angel Network - How to find your way in the world of financing options

At some stage in the development of a business that wishes to really grow and prosper, the founders or senior management will decide that they need to raise funding...

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London Business Magazine

Mentor's Journal

Week 16 – Planning for the Year Ahead

The middle of December is a strange time of year for all. Some are already starting to slow down and getting into the full swing of the season’s festivities, whilst others...

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Startups Magazine

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...

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Like Minded Females

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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...

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Startups Magazine

Mentor's Journal

Week 15 – Entrepreneurial Inspiration

Different things drive different people in different ways. That is because each of us wants something different from our lives and we are prepared to make different levels of ...

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Mentor's Journal

Week 14 – Help Required!

I am sure that each and every one of us would accept that we cannot be good at everything that we do, or that we do not have time to do everything ourselves.

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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...

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Like Minded Females

Mentor's Journal

Week 13 – Hurdles & Blinkers

In each of our lives, some weeks are more predictable than others. Some people are a little afraid of change and facing new, unexpected challenges, whilst others face the world...

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Startups Magazine

Mentor's Journal

Week 12 – The Connection Hierarchy

Over the last two weeks I have written special articles on ‘Business Plans and Pitch Decks’ and on ‘The Art of Fundraising’ but this week I return to writing 'The Mentor’s Journal'

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Startups Magazine

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The Art Of Fundraising

As a mentor I get involved in a huge cross section of businesses in different sectors and at different stages of their development. As a result I have been involved in many...

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Business Plans Vs. Pitch Decks

As readers of either my Mentor’s Perspective or Mentor’s Journal series will know, one of the most common themes that I come across is that of fundraising in all its guises.

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Startups Magazine

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Week 11 – Is Your Business Fit For Purpose

Most of us would associate the phrase ‘fit for purpose’ with a product or service that we have seen or used, but that we do not think actually does what it is meant to do.

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Mentor's Journal

Week 10 – Taking Centre Stage

This was one of those weeks that saw me meeting with business from every possible stage of growth from ‘enter stage left’ to being a massive player that is looking for...

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Startups Magazine

Mentor's Journal

Week 9 – From Little Acorns Mighty Oaks Grow

The old saying that ‘from little acorns mighty oaks grow’ came about to show that sometimes something very large can grow from something very small.

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Startups Magazine

Mentor's Journal

Week 8 – Why Businesses Are Reinventing Themselves

When I think about all of my conversations and meetings last week there was a very common thread tying them all together, and that was of people or businesses reinventing...

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Startups Magazine

Mentor's Journal

Week 7 – The Next Steps

Just as last week’s Mentor’s Journal led me neatly into my article, 'The Power of Networking', so this week started off very much in the same vein with all my early meetings...

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Startups Magazine

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The Power Of Networking

Welcome to the first of a periodic series of articles that will take a more in depth look at some of the topics that make frequent appearances in my Mentor’s Journal series.

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Startups Magazine

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Week 6 – On Fast Forward

This was one of those weeks where everything seemed to be on fast forward. Not just the number of meetings but the speed of progress in the companies that I met was truly...

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Startups Magazine

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...

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Startups Magazine

Mentor's Journal

Week 4 – When 2+2=5

One thing that I have learned over the years is the importance of cooperation and working with the right partners, and this has only been reiterated during my activities as a...

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Startups Magazine

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...

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Startups Magazine

Mentor's Journal

Week 2 – Never Too Soon To 'Go International'

This week, almost to underline my comments in the first of this series about not knowing what each week will bring, was almost entirely different to last week. Last week was...

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Startups Magazine

Mentor's Journal

Week 1 – A Sounding Board

Welcome to the first in the new series of ‘The Mentor’s Journal’ which will look at some of my activities from the preceding week, with a view to turning the theory outlined in...

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Startups Magazine

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...

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Startups Magazine

Mentor's Perspective

Growing From A Startup To Scale-Up

In this article - the last in this series - I am going to look at scaling your business and the fact that growth is often the hardest part of the startup journey.

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Startups Magazine

Mentor's Perspective

What To Consider With International Sales & Exporting

Having written your business plan, identified your existing and potential market and your target clients, and decided how best to market and sell your product, you should now...

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Startups Magazine

Mentor's Perspective

Understanding Your Market

Last week’s article focussed on Business Plans; what should be in them and why you should write one. One of the key pieces of information required is of course sales figures...

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Startups Magazine

Mentor's Perspective

Business Planning with The Business Model Canvas

Over the last five articles I have tried to set the scene in terms of outlining what help is available to early stage businesses, and certain aspects of finance, including a...

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Startups Magazine

Mentor's Perspective

Understanding R&D Tax Credits

In the last two articles in this series I have looked at various aspects of finance and this time I am going to stay with the financial theme but from a very different angle...

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Startups Magazine

Mentor's Perspective

Getting Finance – Part 2

In this, the second part of looking at the different forms of finance available to a startup, I look specifically at the different types of equity finance and try to summarise...

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Startups Magazine

Mentor's Perspective

Getting Finance – Part 1

So far in the series I have looked at some of the different types of assistance that is available to a startup and also about what benefits working with a Mentor can bring and...

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Startups Magazine

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...

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Startups Magazine

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...

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Startups Magazine

boom

in British English

VERB

to prosper or cause to prosper vigorously and rapidly