What’s up with start-ups? We hear from The Business Startup Show

We chat with The Business Startup Show’s Tom Borthen on how entrepreneurships have changed, the recession’s effect on new businesses and what no startup should live without.


What’s the number-one tool every start-up should have in their arsenal?

Contacts. There are always people who can open doors for you and others that can complement what you do. The more you have and are able to use the more successful you’re likely to be. That’s why our event dedicates a lot to helping people make new contacts, whether clients service providers or business partners.


What changes has The Business Startup Show seen with small and medium-sized businesses over the last 10 years?

In some ways, visitors are exactly the same in terms of their desire to build their businesses, but the real changes have come in the way they can make that happen.

The ability to reach a global audience has opened up opportunities like never before. Every year there is a new way to find customers, especially online where things like new social media channels and video have rapidly altered the marketing mix.


How many entrepreneurs start a new business each year?

On average around 330,000 in the UK each, but we’ve seen that figure rise to almost 400,000 in the recession years. The other major change is that there have been a lot more incentives for young people to start businesses. The number of 18 to 30s entrepreneurs in the UK doubled in 2013.


Which industries are you seeing develop the most?

We’ve seen a big rise in e-commerce businesses generally, because you need very little to start trading. It can be done from home and your shop window is open to the entire world. However, more traditional businesses like coffee shops are working well too.


What would be your number-one tip for start-ups?

Come to the show! In all seriousness it will arm you with vital advice from the very best in business that might just be the difference to your success. And it’s free to attend!

How important is being online to start-ups?

It depends on the business, but most use it as a key tool and there aren’t too many businesses that would be better off without it. Not only does it open up your business to people all across the world, it’s a very cost effective way of marketing your business, and cutting straight through to the people who might want your product or service.


Is starting a business expensive?

Again, it completely depends on what you do, but it doesn’t have to be. You can start lots of businesses which can have serious turnover with little more than a website, a laptop and a phone.


Is there an ‘average’ entrepreneur?

Absolutely not, Anybody can do it if they really want to. Throughout the years of seeing thousands of people come through the doors of the show, many different types of people have started many different types of businesses to suit their strengths, regardless of personality, background, skillset or age.

The Business Startup Show takes place over 15-16 May at Excel London and includes 250 seminars, 350 exhibitors and talks from the founders of Just Eats and King of Shaves plus a session with a former star of ‘Dragon’s Den’. To order your free ticket, visit the website.

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