A welcome to the world of start-ups

All aboard the crazy train.

This is an introduction into the harsh reality of being a recent start up. Your world is full of madness. Ups and downs, random curve balls thrown into the mix, and riding the crazy train to success… hopefully? It is also an insight into my life trying to support them on their quest – all aboard!

Starting the job I was under the impression there would be fairly consistent levels of work supporting the clients of the centre. Not an unreasonable expectation, but perhaps one that lacked some insight into the start-up realm. Since then I have learnt an awful lot! Start-ups can fall into the understandable trap that your focus becomes mainly on the here and now, and often your relatively small team can miss key opportunities to juggle multiple balls at once. What we offer at Catalyst is to take one of those balls off you, so you can keep focus on your main priorities whilst someone else is putting focus on other important elements of the business. The importance of this is that all aspects of your business are growing simultaneously, so that when you have your big break, all your ducks are in a row.

The Catalyst Team 2016/17

As an outsider, of course this may seem a reasonable approach. However, for the entrepreneurs operating the start-up, this may be tricky to realise and can seem like another burden on their long lists of things to do. Unfortunately, this appeared to be the case for several of the clients assigned to myself. Whilst the start-up train was locked in the station, it seemed a perfect time to conduct some valuable research on behalf of all our members surrounding a new CRM system – Hubspot.

I say a CRM system, but it is much more than that. It’s your all in one solution to everything marketing, sales and customer relationship management related. Magic. And indeed it is, there is nothing quite like it out there which does everything in one place. Some would argue that is the ‘Jack of all trades, but master of none’, but I reckon for start-up companies, it’s not a bad little solution to help streamline your processes and lift your company off. It comes with a fairly hefty price tag, but being a member of SINC you get 90% off – awesome, right?

After a few weeks, the start-up train started pulling out the station (stick with the analogy…). A new project landed on my desk with a company creating software and hardware technologies to read and interpret human expression and emotion. Fascinating, game changing technology that will revolutionise the way in which we understand human emotion, with limitless applications. This group of tech wizards are hot and fresh, ready to lift off. At the same time, I was introduced to two other new projects, both with socially conscious businesses (right up my street!). One, an inspirational leader named Craig Goldblatt looking to improve the wellbeing of peoples everyday lives, and the other, a kooky, passionate lady (Jenny) looking to embark on a journey into the circular economy with her SuperNatural Collective brand of baby clothing.

And away we go, the wheels were in motion – what followed were fully booked weeks supporting some fascinating innovative new companies, using a variety of skills to support each company’s needs. The work for each has been vastly different, which is what I have grown to love about this job. With EMTEQ, I have been using my connections in Brighton and the University to recruit research participants for their emotion experiments. This has evolved into being a crucial member of their marketing and communications team, helping build their website and write compelling content for their blogs. Craig has been running inspirational seminars, and wanted other leaders in the London area to come along. I’ve spent time connecting him with those in London who were suitable, and the event went ahead with plenty of bums on seats. With SuperNatural Collective, the amazing Jenny has a mind bursting with wonderful ideas, but needs support with the whole business side of the operation, which is where I step in – Choo Choo!

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