Newcastle Startup Week is the perfect event to meet investors, accountants, solicitors, and many other organisations who may be able to support your startup. But with so many organisations in the area, how do you decide who to work with? Here are three key tips to help you decide which business support provider is the right fit for you.
1. It is about relationships, not just services.
Whether you’re looking for accountancy services, investment or legal advice, all organisations have one thing in common: they are all ran by human beings with unique personalities. When choosing a support provider, it is important that you trust the people you will be working with. At Newcastle Startup Week 2017, investment firm Northstar Ventures compared working with investors with being in relationships: you’ve got to trust and (somewhat) like each other. This concept is underpinned by the logic of psychological safety. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing failures or challenges with the people you are working with, they will not be able to provide you with tailored, appropriate advice when it is most needed. When looking for business support providers, it is therefore crucial to ask yourself whether you would feel comfortable sharing both key wins and losses with the organisation.
2. Take your time.
Just because you were given a business card at an event does not mean you need call the person back straight away. You can take some time to go through the different cards you were given and research similar organisations in your region. To learn more about other people’s experiences of working with particular organisations, you can look for online reviews and network with like-minded entrepreneurs. LinkedIN and Twitter are useful platforms to ask for recommendations as well as regional Facebook groups such as ‘North East Startups’.
However, regardless of the recommendations, make sure that the business support provider you work with feels right for you and your startup. If you have mixed feelings, don’t be afraid to ‘browse’ until you find the right organisation for you.
3. What do you really need?
A good business support organisation will be able to tell you what it is that your organisation needs and what you really shouldn’t have to pay for. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any organisations who will try to sell you more than necessary. Aside from doing your research on trustworthy organisations, it would be useful to have some understanding of what exactly your business needs help with. There are plenty of free skills workshops around the UK that focus on different business areas, which can help you refine your strengths, weaknesses and key needs. In the North East of England, Newcastle Startup Week provides a variety of workshops throughout the week of 13-17 May 2019, giving you the low-down on different aspects to consider when starting a business.
To get the most out of the workshops, make sure you have researched the guest speakers and prepared some questions beforehand. This is a great opportunity to get free advice. At some events, guest speakers will make themselves available after their talk for a more in-depth conversation. At Newcastle Startup Week, most speakers stick around for the entire event, including the afterparties. However, if for some reason you were unable to connect with someone, please let us know and we can help with introductions.
What do you think?
Do you have any tips or advice on how to find the right business support providers? Please leave your comments below…