The current challenging economic climate is persuading many people who feel that don’t have many prospects of getting a (new) job, to start up their own businesses. Here are some tips for wannabe successful business start-ups. They have been volunteered by a number of highly successful businesspeople, from a variety of industries, who are based in and round St Albans, in Hertfordshire and who are members of the Platinum Point business breakfast group.


  1. You can only achieve things by doing them. Don’t spend a long time pondering: just do it!
  2. Learn to be selfish – clear the desk of all extraneous tasks and materials.
  3. Develop a high profile for being an expert in your field.
  4. Be yourself and your business will be in your image.
  5. Make your own decisions but surround yourself with trusted advisors. Find a mentor or mentors.
  6. Don’t try to do everything. Only do what you can do well. Get others to do the rest.
  7. Don’t be afraid to take some time out, especially if things aren’t working out as you want.
  8. ‘Eat an elephant for breakfast’: do the harder tasks first.
  9. Keep asking yourself are you doing the most productive thing?
  10. Persevere – there will be low periods but you’ll get through them.

Business development

  1. Lead generation is the challenge, and needs time and focus.
  2. Give consistency of service.
  3. Cash flow is king.
  4. Make your products and services easy to buy but don’t sell yourself too cheaply.
  5. Only spend money on what’s absolutely essential.
  6. Set weekly targets, especially sales targets.
  7. Think about system scalability from the start.
  8. Make your payment terms clear from the outset.
  9. Watch your back by managing risk – especially trading terms & conditions; confirm everything in writing and have a mechanism for solving problems. Proper documentation and contracts are imperative.
  10. Gain as many champions as you can – and promote your business by entering business awards.

There was one, final, piece of advice that didn’t seem to fit into either category. It was: ‘Don’t listen to business advice!’