Take it away James.
James Rix, Founder of StreetPR
If you’ve got to the point where you’re reading stuff like this from people like me, then it’s a very good indication that you’re thinking about making the jump to starting your own business, or have just made the jump. Put it another way, you want to be an entrepreneur…
Or you could just be so bored at work that you’ll read anything by anyone to pass the time – in which case you really need to make the jump!
So, my fellow hurdlers, here are the first three things I'd like to pass on to you that I wish I could have told my old self when I was starting out.
1. Keep track of where you started and how far you’ve comeIn 2011, I shut down my company, StreetPR, to travel from London to Australia by motorbike, spending 11 months riding through 30 counties and having some brilliant experiences. When I returned from my trip in 2012 I restarted StreetPR. We went from nothing to £400,000 in year 1, £800,000 in year 2, and £1.56million in year 3 – impressive stuff!
Then our turnover stayed the same for about 18 months. I got a bit annoyed, frustrated by this sudden plateau. The truth was, we’d founded and grown two other companies significantly over this period. And we’d improved StreetPR so that it was a completely different company to even 12 months before, meaning our bottom line was significantly better.
It actually took a Facebook memory of our old office in Great Newport Street from 2012 – just me, my business partner Ferg and one other staff member in a tiny office – to remind me just how far we’d come.
Five years later, and we have 30 staff across three companies, turnover of more than £2.5million and offices in Alfred Hitchcock’s old film studios, with solid wood floors and brick exposed walls. How cool is that? It’s a long way from our tiny, almost cupboard-like space in Leicester Square, London. I have amazing clients and we do some amazing things, and my team impresses me every day.
It’s really easy to forget how you’ve grown when you’re feeling tired or frustrated.
2. Write out what you’re doing during the weekOne of my mentors told me to do this, and it really helps put things in perspective.
Here’s a week from my life in September:
Our events company is organising parties at Ministry of Sound, LightBox, The Piano Works, XOYO, Piccadilly Institute, Fabric, Proud Camden, Café de Paris and Koko London. We also have parties in Brighton and Birmingham. We will sell close to 12,000 tickets this week alone.
We have exclusive contracts to organise student events with 10 London universities and we have marketing to do for Fresher’s Fairs across London.
We have added 10 new clients to StreetPR this week alone, we’ve run three events and are staffing two other events at Wembley Stadium, we’ve run a tech investment conference for the Israel equivalent of the Financial Times, we’re promoting the London Octoberfest, we’ve got staff at Brentford FC, Chelsea FC and Saracens RFC, 19 regular clients confirmed new bookings…
…and its only lunchtime on Thursday.
I could go on for another three or four paragraphs, but you get the picture.
3. Mentors rock!Let’s get one thing straight right now: a mentor is not a business coach. If a business coach only does business coaching as their business, I would personally avoid them. But good mentors are ace.
I always try and find people more successful than me, respectfully ask for some of their time and listen and learn – from their victories and their mistakes. I take on things which are important, and I discard things that are outdated or no longer relevant, perhaps due to changes in society or technology.
Mentors can be found by emailing CEOs or founders you respect – I’ve connected with two like that. Remember, if you don’t ask, they can’t say yes. Alternatively, you can find mentors through resources like Rockstar Group or the Entrepreneurs’ Organization .
This is part of our Mindset & Planning series – content dedicated to practical advice for SMEs when it comes to getting in the right mindset for business growth. Other articles in this series include:
7 reasons why cash flow is more important than profit
11 great podcasts on productivity
SMEs: Here’s how to create more time (and how to use it)