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Business & Economy

Growing and scaling is the theme of day 4 at Newcastle Startup Week

The penultimate day of Newcastle Startup Week has lost no momentum, with Thursday focusing on growing and scaling up startups. We highlight some of the guest speakers on day 4

Colin Bell kicked off Thursday’s event by discussing his own story with scaling up businesses. Including Winning Moves, a benchmarking software company that was purchased for £400,000 eventually being sold for millions.

The key to such success according to Bell involve several factors. Firstly a start up must have a vision before anything else in order to guide the future direction of the company. Secondly, companies must identify a purpose, then visualise goals. After this values and strategy should follow naturally, thus arriving at action. A concrete exit timetable should also be included. Bell decided that he would leave Winning Moves after 5 years, in order to spend more time with family and to focus on other business opportunities.

Andrew and Pete, a marketing specialist duo, informed innovators as to how to move marketing forward in creative, unique, and crucially effective ways.

Every startup should have one goal in mind; to become the obvious choice for customers. Primary rich content is the keystone to this goal. Primary rich content’s aim is to make customers feel happy or smart, ideally both. After this secondary conversion content is pushed in order to move the audience of a product into active customers.

Traditionally content poor products such as energy or law should thus find new ways to gain access to customers. A noted example, as exemplified by Andrew and Pete, was the shorts company Chubbies. They expanded their business immensely after upgrading their online presence on their Facebook page. As opposed to simple advertisement, their page contained content ranging from aspirational videos, to fun weekend ideas, whilst subtly but powerfully pushing the brand in an effective way.

When success arrives for a startup, it can be increasingly difficult to maintain the innovative, creative edge that made the business a success in the first place. Sarah Cox put forward several ways to reduce the risk of creative plateau.

Fear of failure should be overcome in order to keep a business on the cusp of its innovative potential. Eric Ries, quoted by Cox, stated he made mistakes during his tenure at Amazon that cost the company billions. However, these mistakes were durable, because without taking risks and embracing failure innovation cannot continue.

A culture of commercial curiosity needs to be a big part of a scale up.

Words: Austen Shakespeare