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									 Who are the Smarta 100?                                    Contents
The Smarta 100 were selected as the UK’s smartest         Ideas & creativity                   Starting up                          Planning          Funding & finance
small businesses by Deborah Meaden, Charlie Mullins,
Sahar Hashemi, Michael Birch and Shaa Wasmund,
along with the help of Smarta.

The Smarta 100 are the most exciting, promising,
disruptive new businesses, the family businesses
who remain the cornerstones of communities, the
                                                          Resources: save                      Suppliers & distribution             Partnerships &    PR & customer service
innovators ploughing their own furrows in staid or        time and money                                                            collaboration
declining industries, the recession-busters making a
mockery of the doom and gloom, the web wonders,
the teenpreneurs, mumpreneurs, olderpreneuers and,
er, just about anyone who’s running a small business
worth shouting about.

Because at Smarta, we believe smart business isn’t        Marketing & advertising              Social media                         Online business   Technology
necessarily about making millions in your first year
and selling in the second year (though it might be!).
It’s about providing a service that truly helps your
community, or doing something completely different
and daring, or just doing a really ruddy good job even
when there’s only one of you working on it. It’s about
thinking miles outside the box for every aspect of your   Premises                             Employees & team                     Ethics            Exit strategies
business and always being super-resourceful with
what you’ve got – whether that’s £10 or £10,000,000.

                                                          Click on a image to view top tips. Once viewed, click smarta logo to return to this page.

                                                                                                The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business
Ideas & creativity

                     The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business
 Ideas & creativity

buddi:                                                       The Cake Kit Company:                              
Don’t wait for ‘the big idea’. Many founders start without   The process of coming up with a great idea for a new         Most of us who start new small businesses are going
one. Even for those who have one, it’s rarely a great one    business need not be shrouded in mystery. You need           to be fighting against established competition and
- and often a bad one!                                       to talk to people, hear positive and negative feedback,      alternative providers. An incremental change to an
                                                             write notes and scribble down ideas until all angles have    existing idea isn’t enough to mark you out from the
Zopa:                                                        been covered.                                                crowd. Find a really pressing problem and do something
                                                                                                                          break-away to address it.
You need an idea, but once you have one you don’t need
lots more. So focus on execution.                                                                               
                                                             Finding ideas that have worked in other markets, or
Clyde Marine Training:                                       that can be improved, can be quite a lot easier than         It’s important to be creative and innovative, but not at
                                                             developing genuinely new ideas. There is no shame            the expense of functionality. A fancy website may look
All our development ideas for the business have come         in not being an inventor.                                    great, but if it doesn’t do as it should and sell your
from our staff. They know what they’re good at and                                                                        business and its wares, then it’s not fit for purpose.
what they like. Allowing them free space to think and        Tribewanted:
be creative means they feel more involved with the                                                                        Drinksin:
business. Watching their ideas progress encourages           Think beyond what might sound plausible. When you’ve
others to do the same and increases everyone’s               got to the point where it sounds impossible but exciting,    Quickly record all ideas, however far-fetched they
motivation.                                                  start bringing down the barriers, one by one, to make it     may seen. Keep them all in one central place so as a
                                                             slightly less impossible. Soon you’ll find there is bridge   company you can review them regularly and sort by
Thirst Solution:                                             between the dream and the reality.                           priority. Always support ideas and creativity within your
                                                                                                                          company but keep dogged focus on what ideas are the
Only listen to constructive criticism - negativity is no                                                   real priorities, and be ruthless about removing the ‘nice
good for you or your business.                                                                                            to haves’.
                                                             Extra-magic ingredients for success are ensuring your
Catwalk Genius:                                              solution isn’t easy for others to replicate and can be
                                                             scaled easily once proven successful.
Avoid the usual route of basing a whole business on a
problem you once experienced. If an exit is your goal,
start there: which companies are doing the acquisitions?
Get to know them. Look for the problems they haven’t
managed to solve yet, then do it well for them, in a way
they can’t easily replicate.

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Starting up

              The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business
 Starting up

Carbon Retirement:                                            Hemingway Kits:                                                Dust and Vac:
Whenever I’m in a meeting or chatting with someone new,       Concentrate on the enjoyment, not the money.                   Think local at first rather than national - start small so you
I draw a picture - and the penny drops. No matter how                                                                        can iron out any issues. This lets you spot any weak areas
simple you think your business is, a picture always helps!    Highland Wi-Fi:                                                which you may need to address before rolling it out.                                            Get a logo and website for your company before you             Dust and Vac:
                                                              start. Make sure your artwork is perfect before you print
Find a like-minded co-founder: someone who shares your        business cards. There’s nothing worse than blurred             Get feedback from everyone, and do not take anything to
passion for success, believes in your idea and has the        business cards.                                                heart. You want to hear the negatives - they will improve
necessary skills to complement your own. And who you’d                                                                       your business.
be happy going for a drink with.                    
Struq:                                                        Fight, beg, borrow, and pull in every favour you can
                                                              to get going with minimal funds. There are no excuses.         Use work experience students – I wouldn’t have been
Learn to sell and be bloody good at it.                                                                                      able to start up without them. They’re enthusiastic, hard-
                                                                                                     working and very creative. And they’re good company
Bulldog Natural Grooming:                                                                                                    when a lot of start-up work can be very antisocial.
                                                              People who are just starting out spend a lot of time early
Understand where your strengths lie. Work with a wider        on perfecting a ‘pitch’ and business plan, because they        Skimlinks:
team or business partner to help you in the areas where       feel that’s the expected route to get investment. Forget it.
you might be weaker.                                          Most important thing is to put 100% into getting a product     Surround yourself with advisors and mentors that you
                                                              out there, however basic. Everything else comes later.         trust. Listen humbly to everything, and then make a gut
Arena Flowers:                                                                                                               call. You need to have a good gut, or at least the courage
                                                              Pins and Ribbons:                                              to act on it, but know you can sometimes be wrong.
Get a bookkeeper. You need someone who’ll do the                                                                             Entrepreneurship is all about decisions: informing yourself,
mundane task of punching receipts and numbers into            It’s always worth testing your product initially on family     understanding the market and the players in it, and
accounting software. Everyone hates doing it, but it’s key.   and friends. If they give you the thumbs up, try selling on    making a call quickly and confidently.
                                                              eBay (or similar), where you only need to make a small
Shoot:                                                        investment to find out how the product is received.            Buddi:
Own all the IP in your business. Make sure you check                                                                         Most entrepreneurs fail at first. It’s the keeping going
this with all contractors from day one and make sure it is                                                                   that matters.
contractually written down.

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           The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business

Shoot:                                                         Drinksin:
Manage costs carefully as it will take much, much longer       Don’t be afraid to make changes. It’s sometimes hard to
than you expect to make a return.                              do this when you’ve spent a long time down one road,
                                                               but failure to be flexible when there’s a problem can be
Comp Bio Products:                                             a real risk. Take a step back from time to time to remind
                                                               yourself what it is you’re trying to achieve.
Do not try and do everything immediately. Start with
a couple of lines and expand gradually - it makes              Highland Wi-Fi:
managing your finances simpler.
                                                               Update your business cash-flow on a regular basis so
Shoot:                                                         you know exactly where you are and where you’re going.

Grow in line with actual rather than forecasted revenues.      Ambition Communications:                                                 Don’t spend hours on complicated spreadsheets.

Base any business decisions on the assumption that             Girl Geek Dinners:
your target consumers don’t care about your business.
                                                               Always double the amount of time you think a task is
Dust and Vac:                                                  going to take. It’s all too easy to forget to factor in time to
                                                               change, edit and review products before releasing them.
Don’t price yourself too cheap. Even if it looks like
another company is doing well, they might be serving 20        Mixcloud:
customers for the same money as you serve 10.
                                                               A business model is not just about increasing revenue -
Arena Flowers:                                                 it’s also about driving down costs.

Realising that not everything can be worked out in
PowerPoint or in a spreadsheet is a great freedom and
lot of fun. It won’t work every time, but it can really help
to say: “Ah, let’s just go for it!”

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Funding and finance

                      The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business
 Funding and finance

Cyclescheme:                                                Zopa:                                                     Girl Geek Dinners:
Don’t get into private equity too soon. You’ll stay more    Ask everyone you know if they know anyone and can         A strong sales plan and sustainability are key to self-
profitable and less stressed if you wait.                   provide introductions, then ask them again. Then ask      financing. Consider what the minimum you need is to
                                                            them again.                                               start-up, and your ideal amount. Figure out what you
Skip-Hop:                                                                                                             need to do differently to get from your minimum to your
                                                                                                    ideal, and across what time scale you want to do that in.
The lack of a vast pot of money for start-up capital                                                                  And always keep in mind your breakeven point.
can be a good thing. It means you’re limited in what        A team of three co-founders combining idea and product
you can do, which concentrates your activity on core        with commercial and then technical ability has a far
competencies and activities. You can test your business     greater chance of raising early finance that one person
model in a small way, on a focused area, meaning you        attempting to hire or freelance people.
can assess success before increased expenditure. As
your company grows and capital becomes less of an           Dust and Vac:
issue, you will have learned a valuable lesson regarding
testing and exploring new markets.                          Know your bottom line at all times and you will always
                                                            make a profit.
                                                            Ambition Communications:
If you can go out and raise £5m before you’ve launched,
great – but make this count. Timing is everything with      An internal investor is going to add greater value than
finance. Don’t put the pressure of returns on yourself if   an external one. With employee or colleague buy-in
you don’t need to – get trading instead.                    you create a team that are as hungry for success as
                                                            you are. External investors are much more likely to                                                 add distraction, demand reports that don’t help you
                                                            win business, and want their money out as quickly as
If you’re pitching for funding, make everything you say     possible.
very clear - especially the part about what an investor
can hope to gain from their time and investment.

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Resources: save time and money

                         The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business
 Resources: save time and money

Green Hands:                                                  Green Hands:
When it comes to buying anything for the business,            Working flat-out is exhausting, and it can damage your
assume the budget is zero. Work out a way of doing            efficiency. Announce to yourself when you definitely
it for nothing. It’s amazing how much of the small stuff      won’t be working and block out your diary. Choose a day
you can either do without, find an alternative for or do      to have ‘off’ each week. Have a night-time curfew (when
for less.                                                     there are no deadlines) and things will happen quicker in
                                                              the morning.
Outsource anything you can that is ancillary to your core
business and you can save a fortune in time and money.        Negotiate, always, wherever you are, and in whatever
Use, and                     you’re doing. They can only say no. Lots of small They work like eBay in reverse –                discounts here and there really do start adding up.
you can pick the cheapest bid for the work you
need to outsource.                                            Green Hands:
Showstorm:                                                    Call Business Link for every question you have, every
                                                              day. It’s free, and there are hundreds of immensely
Only check your email twice a day and set up an auto-         talented business people working there waiting to take
reply to explain your availability.                           your call.

Your mobile phone is for your convenience, not                Invest only in the product and people behind it. You
everybody else’s. If you are working on something             can use rented desk space or start from home, or use
or you’re in a meeting, switch it off.                        new initiatives like Tech-Hub (London), offering low-cost
                                                              serviced accommodation in a start-up environment.
Arena Flowers:                                                Hosting services like Amazon web services are fantastic
                                                              for start-ups.
Spinvox is handy: it turns all voicemails into texts so you
don’t waste time calling up to listen to them, and you
can read them during a meeting without seeming
too rude.

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Suppliers & distribution

                           The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business
 Suppliers & distribution

Arena Flowers:                                     
Suppliers can be bigger ‘investors’ than, well, investors!   Do ensure that you have proper contracts in place for
A lot of your funding requirement can come through           any people or suppliers you’re dealing with. If the worst
credit from suppliers. It’s not the lowest-risk approach     were to happen, these can save a lot of hassle and tears
ever and not the way to finance a business long-term,        before bed time.
but it can give extra liquidity that was never expected.
                                                             Arena Flowers:
Highland Wi-Fi:
                                                             Never, ever be dependent on one supplier – they will try
Look globally to source the cheapest suppliers for your      and abuse that relationship. Have a back-up supplier for
product.                                                     every key part of your operation. This is important for
                                                             disaster-recovery planning too.
Always perform a vendor selection process with at least
three shortlisted suppliers for the job. A few simple
questions asked of each supplier will help massively with
the decision-making process.

Comp Bio Products:
Find a reputable local supplier to work with. This enables
easy communication and the ability to resolve any issues

Check out manufacturers from around the world - don’t
limit yourself to England. With the internet, the world is
a much smaller place, and you can get almost anything
cheaper outside the UK.

With Support From                                                                           The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business
Partnerships & collaboration

                           The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business
 Partnerships & collaboration                                                    Arena Flowers:
Working with partners saves you time and money, and            At some point most business will have a disagreement
helps you learn. You’ll be combining audiences, sharing        with one (or all) of a supplier, investor, competitor,
marketing costs, contributing to each other’s ventures,        employee, the government, a plagiarist or just a random
amalgamating useful contacts, discussing markets and           nutter. A deal that isn’t properly written down and
shouting about each other - all invaluable.                    documented leaves room for different interpretations
                                                               through being too unspecific. At the very least, get
Skip-Hop:                                                      things spelled out in a clear and detailed email that can
                                                               be referred back to. Legals don’t necessarily require
Focus on the value that you can bring to your partners or      lawyers, they just need doing.
A Suit That Fits:
                                                               If a strategic partnership does not ultimately add value
Networking is very important - and lots of fun. It’s a great   then there is a risk you’ll become distracted- you might
way to learn about other business and also let people          miss essential business-growth opportunities. Always
know what you’re up to.                                        ask yourself if it’ll enrich core business.

No matter how good a friend they are, always get the
relationship properly documented.

Finding referrals for people is easy if you trust them.

Arena Flowers:
Building a track record is key for B2B. Small deals that
may seem irrelevant can lead to bigger and better things
and help business gather momentum.

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PR & customer service

                        The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business
 PR & customer service                                                      Shoot:                                                     Mamascarf:
Save the launch party budget unless someone sponsors          Engage personally with each of your customers and          Contact press agencies with your story - they sell
it. Instead, launch your service at a conference. It is       always respond openly and kindly to negative criticism.    stories to the national press. Follow every email up
1,000% more effective, and usually free.                      Great customer service is so rare that you’ll stand out,   with a telephone call a day or so later. I’ve often found
                                                              and you’ll learn something each time you listen.           that emails or press releases don’t get read until I drew
Catwalk Genius:                                                                                                          someone’s attention to them.
                                                              Dust and Vac:
When you’re assessing your customer relationships,                                                             
don’t just measure the things that are easy to count or       Deal with customer issues in person if you can. It lets
that everyone else is measuring. ‘85% of customers            you read body language, and shows how much their           Don’t think that a weekly press release sprayed out to a
get an answer in three days’ tells you nothing useful.        custom means to you.                                       large a list of contacts is actually going to get you very
Instead, you might collect data on the length of time that                                                               far. If you play it safe like the masses, the best you can
elapses between each customer’s first contact to the          The Thoughtful Bread Company:                              ever achieve is to be one of the masses. Don’t be afraid
point when their query is fully dealt with. Averages are                                                                 to raise eyebrows. Work with an energetic, passionate
only half the story - analyse the variation too.              Whether you have a sound business idea or not you          PR person to identify the news hooks and create
                                                              will be inundated with advertising sales people telling    something people really want to hear about.
Hemingway Kits:                                               you how keen they are to ‘work with you’. Don’t pay
                                                              for advertising. Instead, think of a hook to get local
Not only is the customer always right, you’ve got no right    journalists interested. Editorials will always draw more
to profit from his custom unless you sincerely believe        attention than any advert, and they’re free.
he’s got more than he paid for.
Highland Wi-Fi:
                                                              Lots of media requests are advertised on the internet.
Always answer the phone and always return the call            Apply to any that are relevant. Some PR websites charge
promptly if you were busy. Get a mobile phone tariff with     a nominal amount for it, but sites such as
free minutes and always offer to call the customer back if    are free.
they are calling from a landline to mobile. They love that.
Get an 0800 number – they’re not expensive. Customers
avoid companies with 0845 numbers like the plague.

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Marketing & advertising

                          The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business
 Marketing & advertising

Dust and Vac:                                                 Catwalk Genius:
Ask local printers to give you discounted or free flyers by includes a great metric for making sure
letting them print their details on the reverse.              you’ve got the product fit right for your market: ask your
                                                              early users how disappointed they’d be if they could
Skip-Hop:                                                     no longer use your product or service. Then don’t blow
                                                              your marketing budget until you can prove they want it
When placing advertising in magazines or other offline        enough.
media, suggest and negotiate editorial content to run
alongside your advert. This is always more powerful than      Cyclescheme:
your advert alone.
                                                              Don’t get suckered in to buying advertising space - write                                                   some editorial for your local press instead.

Create a database of customers and keep in touch with         Dust and Vac:
them via email marketing. Send them exclusive offers
as incentives to use your business. Sponsor the local         Get your company name on everything. Stick it on your
under-11’s football team. Dress up as a chicken and run       car or your bike and park it up somewhere busy: cheap
the London Marathon for charity. Stage an event. Enter        advertising!
awards. Anything.
Comp Bio Products:
                                                              If you use a graphic designer, ask them to provide you
Don’t try and get too many customers at once. If you          with editable versions of everything, so you can make
get a good success rate, you stand the chance of failing      changes yourself for free when needed.
due to lack of supply. Target single areas of you target
market, one at a time.                                        Drinksin:
Booths Garden Studios:                                        Email marketing is a very low-cost way of marketing. To
                                                              improve your email marketing, take note of every good
What worked last year might not be the best for this          email you receive personally and file the ones you like.
year, because the channels are all changing so quickly.       Going to this file when in need of inspiration can help
Google AdWords is getting more expensive. Check out           you understand how to improve your own.
Facebook – it’s half the price of Google.

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Social media

               The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business
 Social media                                                  Girl Geek Dinners:
If you’re not using social media you’re missing a huge       You have to be prepared to put time and effort into
audience. And it’s free! Use it as brand awareness and       creating conversation and feedback, otherwise these
to earn a reputation for being helpful to others, not for    tools are only going to be doing half what they should be.
selling. Pure broadcast of your own products will get you
nowhere.                                                                                         Twitter is more than just a numbers game. You must
                                                             engage with your followers and be yourself. A quality
Take on a student part-time to help run your social          following is worth a lot more than one where people are
networking campaign. Arm them with an iPhone so they         simply attracted to you for discount codes.
can work in-between lectures, on the bus and from their
bed. As part of the Facebook generation, a sharp tuned-      Drinksin:
in student can come far cheaper than any media agency.
But keep a tight rein so they fully understand your brand    Encourage everyone in your start-up to have their
and your company values, and make sure they listen and       own company Twitter account. Allow them to be
respond to your customer base.                               ambassadors of the company - just be clear on what
                                                             information is sensitive and what information is free to                                               discuss and promote.

Get cool blogs to write about you by writing about them      Mixcloud:
first. Send them a link to what you’ve written. They’ll be
far more inclined to link to your article and write about    You can reduce the cost of customer acquisition by
you this way than if you just email a press release.         letting your customers an army of marketeers and
                                                             evangelists. Help them share and talk about you more by
Dust and Vac:                                                investing in social media sharing tools for your website.

Get a Facebook account and write on the walls of other
groups in your area: appreciation societies and the like.
This feeds through to group members, so targets locals
without you even leaving your front room.

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Online business

                  The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business
 Online business

EasyInsites:                                                                               Skip-Hop:
No matter what type of company you have, having an           Research, research, research. Online, you can see your       Develop a news area to your website and ensure it has
online presence is beneficial.                               immediate competitors; you can ask your potential            regular and original content. Write about your industry as
                                                             audience questions before you start; you can research        well as your business. Outside agencies will pick up on
Highland Wi-Fi:                                              trends on Google, find out how much your competitors         news from your company, and you’ll be seen as having
                                                             are making via Companies House; and most importantly,        a finger on the pulse with an opinion that matters. It
Use website analytics to discover where your customers       discover your niche in the market.                           helps your search engine rankings too, so include some
are coming from, what they are searching for and to fine-                                                                 keyword articles.
tune your site keywords to attract more business.                                                It’s unlikely that you need to spend more than £1,500 on
                                                             a website. Test your idea very cheaply and play a game
If you’re selling online, make sure you show your            where you are not allowed to spend beyond X amount a
customer exactly what their options are as clearly and       month (my X is about £500).
visually as possible – we use 360-degree views to sell
private jets’ interiors, as an example. Customers want       Skip-Hop:
to make informed decisions. It also makes for a more
efficient online business model, lessening use of your       You need good quality inbound links to make your
offline team resource, as you won’t have to answer so        website successful on search engines. Link exchanges
many enquiries.                                              are much less valuable. Think of innovative ways to get
                                                             these links, perhaps in return for products or services
Contextured:                                                 from you. For example, we offer a free set of double-
                                                             dutch ropes to schools that link into our website. This
SEO everything! Choose company and product names             gets us valuable links, provides great viral promotional
to rank, use suppliers who will give you links and employ    activity and begins a relationship with a potential future
staff who will contribute their online presence. Online is   customer.
fierce - you must SEO to compete.

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             The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business
Embrace technology. It’s progress. Keep up-to-date with
it and use it to your advantage. Encourage staff to, too.

Highland Wi-Fi:
You get what you pay for in the tech world. What might
seem cheap at the beginning can turn into an expensive
product when you have to replace it shortly afterwards
with something better.

A Suit That Fits:
Keep up-to-date with the latest technology. Use new and
exciting innovations to delight customers. For example,
we developed a ‘suit wizard’, allowing customers to
design every single part of their suit for free.

Don’t try to invent or develop your own technology
(unless you are a technology company). There is
so much out there that can be accessed through
partnerships or purchased from others.
If you’re building a technology product or service, do it
in-house. If you can’t afford to hire the talent, bring in a
partner with the expertise.

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           The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business

The vast majority of businesses do not really need
offices, a shop front or warehousing. Work from
home instead.
Unless your business absolutely positively requires it,
avoid fancy offices in expensive neighbourhoods.
You might be able to get funding from a local council
or RDA for setting up in a less economically-
developed area.
Always try and get more space then you need.
This helps you scale and it gives you the opportunity to
sub-let, which can have a positive impact on cashflow.

Ambition Communications:
Don’t spend money on fancy offices and furniture – just
make sure you have the environment to get the job done.
No client or customer is impressed with expensive office
fittings in this economic climate. Most clients are too
busy to visit you anyway (and it makes you look a lot
hungrier for their business if you offer to travel
to meet them).

With Support From                                          The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business
Employees & team

                   The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business
 Employees & team

Skimlinks:                                                      Arena Flowers:                                         
You should be the hardest working person in the company,        Don’t allow petty politicking, childish bickering or any ‘it’s   Don’t take on people you don’t need to – it may sound
and your team have to look up to you and respect you.           not my problem, guvnor’ rubbish. And don’t blame people          obvious, but do you really need a marketing person, a
You are asking them to give up a part of their life to make     for making mistakes – at least not the first time.               finance person, a CEO, a sales person, a PR person, a
your dreams happen. If you can’t reward them with money,                                                                         cleaner, a PA, a receptionist, and so on? Get one person
reward them with insight, opportunity, and involvement.         Clyde Marine Training:                                           with a combination of skills and cut your wage bill in half.
                                                                                                                                 Think quality, not quantity.
4Networking:                                                    Your company will only ever be as strong as your weakest
                                                                member of staff, so invest the time and money to make            Dust and Vac:
If you have a partner and you agree all the time, one of        sure everyone knows their role and has the tools available
you is redundant.                                               to do it effectively.                                            Your staff can see things you can never see because you
                                                                                                                                 are far too inside your business. So listen to them. And                                                        Booths Garden Studios:                                           you never know - that apprentice you hired last week
                                                                                                                                 might be the business brain of tomorrow.
If you’re starting up with zero capital, share your idea with   Working in a small team is like having to pull a huge ball
two or three brilliant partners and form a team of people       of concrete. Good people will grab a rope and pull in  
with complementary skills in certain areas.                     the same direction as you, making the job far easier.
                                                                Bad people will sit on the rock, and slow you down.              You can never be sure about someone just with a few
Thirst Solution:                                                So choose wisely.                                                interviews and a CV, so don’t be afraid to use your gut feel
                                                                                                                                 to make hiring decisions too.
Reward yourself when you hit targets or reach goals.            Urbantopia:
                                                                                                                                 Drinksin:                                                        Employ young, inexperienced but talented new graduates
                                                                to work for you, especially for art based or design stuff.       Always stand by your team and never wash laundry
Only invest in people - rent everything else!                   They’re cheaper than experienced people and sometimes            in public.
                                                                even better.
NuBeginnings:                                                                                                                    Drinksin:
No one is indispensible. I’ve spent huge amounts of time        Struq:
                                                                                                                                 Just because you’re the co-founder of the company,
trying to keep bad staff members because I was worried          If their eyes don’t light up, don’t hire them.                   doesn’t mean you will always know more. Seek out people
about replacing them. But once they were gone, we found                                                                          more experienced than you that can fill gaps you can’t
wonderful replacements. All the pain was unnecessary.                                                                            cover. And make sure people’s roles are clearly defined.
And the harsh truth is you are not indispensible either:
your business should be able to run without you.

With Support From                                                                                 The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business

         The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business

Zopa:                                                         Arena Flowers:
Naked capitalism is less and less acceptable. People          Be generous and helpful to others, as it feels good, and
want an ethical dimension. It helps with recruitment and      you never know when the favour might be spectacularly
in building a sustainable brand.                              repaid. Especially online, helping others out can help
                                                              you back.
Carbon Retirement:
It’s hard to bring your values to bear on everything that
you do. It takes extra energy and time - but it’s worth it.   When you make a decision about your business, ask
It gives you the satisfaction of not only forging a path in   yourself if it’s good for everyone involved: suppliers
your chosen sector, but doing it in a way you’ll always be    (the whole chain), customers, your team, your local
proud of.                                                     environment. If it works for all of them, it’s the right
The Thoughtful Bread Company:
Do not underestimate what having good ethics and a
sound environmental approach to your business can
do for you. Consumers are genuinely starting to take
notice. Don’t let putting this off be the reason potential
customers chose to spend their money with your
competitor instead of you. Start with an ethical and an
environmental policy to help map out what you’re trying
to achieve.

Always go the extra mile to make sure you treat people
how you would like to be treated. Some will take
advantage, but most will not. It is always worth it.

With Support From                                                                              The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business
Exit strategies

                  The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business
 Exit strategies

Highland Wi-Fi:                                               Zopa:
If you plan to sell your business, it’s important to detach   Unless you’re starting the next Amazon, don’t bother
yourself from it right from the beginning. Do not get         too much with exit strategies.
emotionally attached or you will struggle to see it for
what it really is.                                            Zopa:                                               If you do sell your business, it’ll most likely to be to
                                                              someone you have talked to for a long time. So talk
Never has it been more important to network if you’re         to lots of people!
trying to sell your business, and never has ‘cold calling’
been so challenging. Tell everyone you know about
your business, and sell yourself and your achievements.
Reconnect with old colleagues, suppliers, school friends,
neighbours, and use every networking tool you can.
Great businesses get great exits with little effort or
design. Focusing on a potential exit in the first two to
three years of any new business can distract from the
far more important task of building a great business –
even though investors understandably want some clear
thought around this early on.
Know your exit strategy at the beginning, or at least
have a good idea of how and when you’d ideally like to
get out, then shape your business plan to suit. Eye up
competitors, or businesses that complement yours,
and who may want to buy you out. Subtly let them
know you’re there.

With Support From                                                                              The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business
4Networking                         Natural Grooming                      Cyclescheme                    

A Suit That Fits                                 Drinksin                          

Ambition Communications             Carbon Retirement                     Dust and Vac          

Arena Flowers                       Catwalk Genius                        EasyInsites                 Girl Geek Dinners                                          Clyde Marine Training                     Green Hands                

Booths Garden Studios               Comp Bio Products                    Hemingway Kits          

buddi                               Contextured           

                                    simple and profitable web marketing

                                                                           The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business
Highland Wi-Fi                The Cake Kit Company       

Mamascarf                  Shoot                      The Thoughtful Bread Company

Mixcloud                   Showstorm                    

NuBeginnings               Skimlinks                  Thirst Solution                     Zopa              Skip-Hop                   Tribewanted

Pins and Ribbons           Struq                      Urbantopia              

                                                       The Smarta 100’s top tips for smarter business

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