The reality of a startup

The reality of a startup

The reality of a startup: it’s tough, especially at the beginning and if you’re on your own.


When I was much younger I was one of those sporty kids at school that played everything going. You know the type – talked too much, likely had ADHD before it was a thing and would never sit still.


I joined the tennis club, the football team, hockey, table tennis, badminton, chemistry club… you name it! I’m still not sure how my parents coped dragging me around to all these different team events and activities. It was probably the only way they got a rest.


Fast forward a few years, and I’ve found that moving from a large business with an infrastructure to being on your own, is a bit like growing up in the world. When you are a kid you have all this support and structure around you. And then suddenly you find yourself in the real world and feel slightly dazed by it all.


Ah structure, allegedly the stifler of creativity, but trust me on this – structure gets stuff done. That’s why big businesses use it and it’s so effective.


Creating a startup feels a bit like going to university; you haven’t cooked before, you certainly don’t tidy your room on a regular basis, no one tells you off if you don’t go to class, you can get trashed whenever you want and sleep in… and no one’s going to shout at you for it.


But here’s the thing, if you don’t go to class, guess what, you are going to flunk your degree. And it’s your own fault.


Like going to university, when you first start your own business a lot of things will be new and you won’t have done them before. Like IT support, accountancy, facilities management, payroll and marketing? All pretty important things to get right when you are a business.


Plus, when you think you have it all nailed, you then get a little bit bigger (as I’ve just found) and the things you thought were great, start not working again, who would have thought?


The great thing about being a start-up these days is all of the support around you, if you choose to find it, it just takes a bit of time to find the right partners.


There is a great book I’d recommend reading called, ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki, and one of the basic premises is to free up as much of your time as possible and to focus.


This has been one of my major challenges, learning when to invest in things and what to spend the businesses money on. I don’t think there is a magic wand which will reveal how to get this right, it seems a bit trial and error unless anyone has any tips for me?


But I wouldn’t change it, not for a second.


If you are thinking of making the jump, what’s stopping you?

To discuss further, you can email me on You can view more about James Cumming our change and business transformation specialist here