Day 1 of Newcastle Startup Week 2019 saw over 400 people check into the Boilershop to be inspired by regional and international entrepreneurs, making NewcastleStartupWeek a trending topic on Twitter. In this blog, we’ve summed up your key lessons of the day.
#1 Be a painkiller, not a vitamin – FreeAgent
In the first talk, Ed Molyneux (Founder of FreeAgent) asked the audience a difficult question. Is your product a painkiller or a vitamin? Painkillers solve problems whilst vitamins are just nice to have. When developing your business, make sure you solve genuine customer pains that others are not already solving.
#2 Stop chasing shiny new things – Brad Burton
Our second speaker, Brad Burton (Founder of 4Networking), advised entrepreneurs to focus on the core of their business and to stop chasing shiny new things. When coming across new opportunities, entrepreneurs should ask themselves whether these are genuinely opportunities or just distractions (squirrels). Don’t spend precious time chasing ‘opportunities’ that just distract you from meeting your business growth needs.
#3 It is OK to be vulnerable – Myndr
Our third speaker, Lizzy Hodcroft (Founder of Myndr) advocated the topic of mental health. She highlighted that 1 in 3 entrepreneurs are affected by depression and advocates for openness, connectedness and transparency. She called on entrepreneurs to support each other and share their stories when they are feeling vulnerable and in need of a reaching hand.
#4 Self-care isn’t selfish – Dr Aria
Following on from that, our fourth speaker, Dr Aria, talked about individual well being. Self-care isn’t selfish. If we want to look after other people, we need to look after ourselves first. This ties in with an earlier quote from Brad Burton: “Treat everyone equally, including yourself.”
#5 You’re not too late for anything – Always Wear Red
Entrepreneurs are often portrayed as being aged between 25-40 years’ old. However, it is never too late to start a business! Our fifth speaker, Michael Owen, (Founder of Always Wear Red) recalls an entrepreneur who started their business at 77 and made it a success. In fact, it is never too late to start anything.
#6 Enjoy life! – Tyne Bank Brewery
A popular theme across the day was for entrepreneurs to remember the joy of life. Work smart, instead of hard and have fun, because we all die eventually anyway (Steve Bartlett). Julia Austin (Founder of Tyne Bank Brewery) shared her journey with the audience and reminded us that starting a business is just one part of life. Although starting a business can feel like a roller coaster, she advised us to remember why you started in the first place and enjoy the ride.
#7 Invite Critique – Trend Bible
Joanna Feeley (Founder of Trend Bible) reminded us that the best businesses are often developed from a place of openness. Invite critique and make sure to listen to the response. Act on it where you feel it is appropriate. You don’t have to agree with everything, but take it on board and value other’s opinions. Only by listening to both critique and praise, can you truly maximise business improvement.
#8 The only limits you have are the limits you choose to believe – The Social Chain
Our headline speaker, Steve Bartlett (Founder of the Social Chain), inspired audiences with an interactive video. The video demonstrated a trick involving an artist and ants placed on a piece of paper. The artist drew a line on the paper using a marker. In the eyes of ants, however, this line could not physically be crossed. Only when the ants eventually realised the line could be crossed, did they walk around freely. This was a great example of how the limits we have are the limits we choose to believe.
#9 Is what you’re doing now making future you happy? – Nouveau Group
We all know that we need to set goals in order to work toward something. Our ninth speaker, Bethany Ainsley (Founder of Nouveau Group) recommended we work toward a goal that makes us happy. She suggested we ask ourselves the question where we see ourselves in 5 or 10 years – and reflect on how that makes us feel. Does it make us happy? If not, change it!
#10 Love your message – Andrew and Pete
Our final daytime speakers, Andrew and Pete, reminded us to love our marketing. Sending out messages that you do not believe in, through channels you would rather really not use, will not come across as passionately as messages that are close to your heart. Develop a marketing campaign that you think is fun, and which still resonates with your target audiences and solves their pain.
#11 Be More Pirate – Sam Conniff
And that wraps up an amazing Day 1! Thank you for all delegates attending. Keep an eye on our blog for a recap of the other days!