It is an annual organised event for entrepreneurs and wannabes to connect and meet people from the industry in its essence. They say it is the biggest and it did seem like it was – spread throughout 13 floors at the magnificent KPMG building. Hosted and founded by Emma Jones. There were people from US, UK, all over Europe and someone flew in from Malaysia. Great speakers were coming to delight their listeners and there was a bunch of great companies helping small business owners to get better. Covering all important areas from content to social media, finance to branding and many more. Completely free to enter too, all I had to do was to enlist on Eventbrite and I was good to go.
What did I do?
10 am. on the spot I have rolled in looking smart in my tight blazer, creamy white shirt, engraved cuff links and ready to network like crazy. I was scared but felt somehow confident, brought my notebook and a few pens. All of this was given in a nice little pouch – stickers, pens, notebooks, some chocolate and a few other branded things were there as well. Nice! A few minutes late, stumbled into the main talks area. There was coffee, snacks and a good 100 people crowd.
First talk, 10am. How to boost your business on Facebook by Oliver Seawell. Good and inspiring, showed us how mobile world is changing everything we do in life. Won’t go into too much detail here as I did not make many notes on it.
Creative Stairway, 10:30am. Start-ups on the move
-Dan Thompson (Supernatural smoothies)
-Susan Ellicott (Localboxx)
-Abigail Freeman (WeAre PopUp)
-Denizer Ibrahim (Appear Here)
-Dan Cresta (Exterrior Media)
This presentation – conversation was amazing. It showed me how we can easily rent a small or bigger space anywhere I want in London. It is much easier than I had ever expected. It is possible to get a shelf for 5£ a day in a botique Shoreditch shop or a TOPSHOP stall for 1500£ per month. Never expected it would be so easy and I could use their services which makes it all smooth and rather simple as long as I would a have a product in hand.
Denizer Ibrahim with Appear Here is the master here in London, as well as WeAre PopUp for more worldwide offers. Appear here can offer some very unique spaces in very different environments ranging from Shoreditch to Mayfair, from King’s Cross to Oxford Circus. As long as I know what is needed both are good choices. We Are Pop Up is focusing on the larger and longer leases.
Finally, the highlight for me personally was Dan Thompson story. He was a bar tender (like me),
founded his own company called SuperNatural which makes smoothies fastest and always with fresh ingredients. Had his own stool for 3 weeks in Borough market, then lied about having it for 2 years to Selfridges team and got a space for a Pop Up in there. Worked with Tfl going around their old school ways and managed to do another Pop Up, so cool, huh?
He pretty much did what I was dreaming off for a while now, starting a healthy trade in the similar industry like mine. Bootstrapped enough to make it work and made into a real business with 4-5 open retail stores now and expanding as we speak. Great stuff! Wish him luck and might reach out to him. Imagine if I could leave what I have now even if it is great to start a healthy way of similar trade. This company has grown very fast and could change how people consume healthy food. It could join them and see it grow, would be very interesting ride…
Although I have different ideas in my mind and my current job is very rewarding too. No choices to be made just yet, but great things are coming. Will talk about it soon – once I will make up my mind but for now that is it.
Learned that it is very possible to have a space to do and sell what I can make, there are plenty of markets and shops available offering anything I need. Other people have done so I can too.
Ground Floor Main Room, 11:30am Lara Morgan, How I made it
What a lady. She had sold her business for 19 million £ and kept 20% equity which is rather impressive. Her main message was: ‘Keep on Selling, do not stop selling – if you find yourself doing something else rather then selling, get back to selling!’, As it was annotated before her speech ‘ She has more balls than most of the people in the room’ it seemed like the right impression considering Lara sweared at least 15 times in 20 minutes talk. Bitch, Fuck and Shit were the most common ones but not the only ones. Although she did get her point across, forget about everything at the beginning and care about the product, sell it and then do the rest as if there is no profit – there is no business.
Employing A-grade players was a key point there too. She paid someone 8 times more than she was paying herself at that time for the role she employed the guy for. I would think – crazy. But it actually makes sense, if I can get someone who is really good at certain area – A grade player, then it is worth it as it will bring great returns for me in the longer run. I am important but my company growth is more important.
Forget about perfectionism – it will get me nowhere as I can easily get stuck on little things and never achieve and produce anything. Give myself the time I want to spend to do a certain task – a deadline is a must and then complete, move on. That is it, do not get stuck tempering with a little logo as it will probably change anyway.
Do not be afraid of pitching to large companies, more often then not people want to work with someone who has something of good value and would enhance their services. If I have a good towel then pitch it to the biggest company who would buy many of them, this makes a great company. Sell!
The Creative Stairway, 2pm How To Create Dynamic Content David Revagliatte
Great guy, a bit technical but definitely delivered the message. Content is one with the brand. Both are very tightly connected, a very important thing to remember. Therefore when creating a brand I must focus on what it represents, what does it stand for, what personality traits it will deliver and so on.
Moo is the company he works for and they are a well established brand. Playful and energetic, artistic and fun.
Sugru is another example of how to tell a story about the business. She does it perfectly showing how things went, employers and so on. Very compelling and eye opening. If I have a story I need to make sure to tell it.
What personality trait do I want my brand to represent? Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Ruggedness, Sophistication – just to name a few. Which lines do I fall into? It is essential to know this and play within those rules to stay truth to my brand. How does my brand sound?
Why? Tell my why. It is the main drive for why I am doing business therefore I need to tell it to people.
The Creative Stairway, 2pm How To Start a Business in the Sharing Economy
-Sophie Neary (vrumi.com)
-Pete Dowds (Mopp.com)
-Merilee Karr (UnderTheDoorMat.com)
-Jazz Gakhal (Direct Line for Business)
Its hard to trust someone online. Ebay and Amazon showed that it is possible and a lot more people are doing it, AirBnb is another great example but it is still difficult to trust someone online. Especially for the first time. Complete transparency is the key here. Ability to deliver any message and display to everyone is essential.
Write a business plan in such way so I could give it to my granny and she would understand it. If she cant – do it again. It has to be that simple, accurate, straight forward and to the point. Have enough money in the bank and know how much things will cost.
Always have empathy, costumer is not always right but always relevant. Put myself into their shoes and go with it. Call them back, ensure their experience was great!
Insurance is the big thing here. Ensure my costumers will have a full confidence by ability to trust my services and if things do go wrong I would be covered for it. Anything that has potential risk should be covered by insurance.
Met a guy from Liverpool who registered his digital company. He is in his 40s and two children at home. Very different background. I wished him well but I want to get things going for myself much earlier than this. Mark my word here, as I will have things running soon.
Overview – Great event, amazing place.
A day to remember and looking forward to the next year already. I would love to network more next time, have my own cards and have a better idea of what I want to make for the world to use. For the first time I would call it a success, many more to visit in the future.
This is my first post as well, is it a success? You tell me. I did manage to spend 1 hour 30 minutes writing it… As I previously expected to spend 30min… I guess these will take much more time in the future but it is worth it!