Don't be afraid to ask for help
James Sleater, Sales and Marketing, Cad and The Dandy:
It's amazing when setting up a business how many of your friends are willing to get their friends to help you or someone knows someone who's an internet designer or a photographer who's willing to do mates' rates and everybody wants to be involved in a start-up company and everyone loves to be flattered in asking for help.
Understand what makes you different
Ian Meiers, Operations and Finance, Cad and the Dandy:
You're going to go into an industry where nine times out of ten there's going to be an existing competitor base so you've got to really understand why someone's going to go to you, what's different about your business and what's going to make you succeed in that industry and really understand that before you go about launching a business.
Focus on quality
If you've got the best product in the market people will come to you and they'll tell all their friends, it means you don't have to have a big advertising spend and it gives people a reason to visit you if you are providing the best in your field.
Get a good mentor
It's really really important to get someone who's got some business experience behind him just to give you the nod to say yeah that's a good idea or that's a bad idea and that will save you a lot of pain and heart ache in the early days if you get someone to guide you in the right direction.
Focus on service
Fundamentally a customer has to enjoy coming to you and you can deliver the best product in the world but if it's not delivered in the right way with a smile and an enjoyable experience then the customers won't be coming back and they won't tell their friends.
You might have the best product in the world but if nobody knows about it you're not going to make any sales so get a good plan in place that is going to bring some sales in from day 1.
Don't wait until everything is 100% perfect
A good example would be a website, it is very difficult to say now it's ready for launch. There's always something you can tweak and improve but at some point you have to bite the bullet and launch the business.
Don't promise what you can't deliver
It is really important to be aware of what capacity you've got and what you can actually offer and there's no point in selling it when you can't deliver on it so just know where you are on that and make sure you can deliver on what you are going to sell.
Do your research
I think fundamentally you have to be able to do your research and know that there's a market there for what you're wanting to do, understand why there's a gap at the moment or why there isn't a gap and explore the competition and find your niche.
Keep your costs down
If you spend too much in the early days then you're just making it so much more difficult to turn a profit and you've only got limited cash to spend when you set it up so give yourself the best chance possible and keep the cost base down when you're in the early days.