Top Ten Takeaways from BITE2017

Our Business, Innovation, Technology and Efficiency event BITE 2017 saw some of Sussex’s brightest businesses come together at the Amex Stadium to learn how to better grow their bottom line. The event delved into the latest developments in innovation and technology and explored how these can be applied to create more efficient businesses.

With keynote speakers from some of the fastest growing companies in the area, special guest speaker, Marnus Broodryk from South Africa’s popular TV show Shark Tank, an Alternative Funding Panel and a room full of exhibitors looking to help your business, the day was packed full of useful tips for startups and small businesses.

We’ve compiled our top ten takeaways from BITE 2017:

1. Think like a sharkMarnus

Kicking off the day-long event, Marnus Broodryk inspired the audience to think like an entrepreneur – to be the shark. He gave the example of two businesses in the same industry. One business leader focuses on the negative external influences impacting his business growth, the other sees these challenges as opportunities and uses them as a springboard for innovation.

The first business is bankrupt within a year, while the other flourishes. The only difference between the two is a state of mind – the second business leader thinks like an entrepreneur. He remains positive and flexible. He embraces change. As Marnus said, “Old school ain’t cool”.

2. Attitude is more important than a good idea

Positivity, optimism and determination are the key attributes that binds all entrepreneurs, Marnus told us.

Having 20/20 foresight and being an early adopter allows you to identify and react to key trends ahead of the curve, which means you will be constantly innovating. This, rather than the initial idea, is the making of a successful business. Investors put their faith in people, not ideas. After all, ideas can’t execute themselves.

3. The nice guy DOES winBITE

The old adage that nice guys finish last is not true in business. In an age where we have information at our fingertips and reputations can be made or destroyed in one foul tweet, it’s more important than ever to wear your ethics on your sleeve and live by your convictions.

4. Focus on building a company culture

A key way to get across your company values is through the culture you create within your business. Create a company culture of transparency, integrity and flexibility.

It’s not all about policy and rigidly sticking to the rules, it’s about giving a great customer service. This is something that must be developed from the ground up. Furthermore, a focus on employee happiness is key. If you look after your employees, they’ll look after your customers.

5. Get up to speed on tax breaks

tax tipsHave you heard of EIS and SEIS? Are you aware of the tax breaks you could receive through your R&D program?

Our tax experts discussed top tax tips to help small businesses and investors get the tax breaks they deserve, yet often miss out on. Through EIS and SEIS, investors can claim up to 50% income tax relief on their investments, so it’s well worth looking into further.

6. Don’t fall foul of European tax laws

Many small businesses aren’t aware of the VAT thresholds in place in other European countries. If you’re trading within the EU, ensure you don’t fall foul of European tax laws and keep an eye on the amount you’re selling in specific countries.

You’ll need to register for VAT in each country once you’ve sold a certain amount. This amount changes depending on the country.

7. Understand how to capitalise on your debt

There are over 4000 finance products in the SME space and unpicking which is right for you can be a real challenge. During the breakout session, we heard from Paul Surtees at Capitalise about the different borrowing options available to startups and SMEs.

70% of small businesses agree that cashflow is their number one concern and is a key contributor to businesses failing within their first five years. By understanding your borrowing options and setting up systems that can help you in the case of any unexpected issues, you can go someway to safeguarding yourself against cashflow problems. Capitalise allows you to compare all available lending options and find the one most fitting to your business.

8. Tighten your proposition

When looking for funding, having a strong proposition that attracts investors to your purpose is key. As previously shown, investors invest in people as well as their businesses, and the value you can offer as an entrepreneur needs to be immediately obvious in the way you position yourself and your company.

9. Research your funding options

panelThere are many more funding options available than a simple overdraft, Andy Davis, author and former FT journalist, told us during the alternative funding panel. As the market has evolved, so too have ways to gain short-term funding. Examples include single invoice assets, revolving credit facilities, high cost, unsecured lending, takings from card machines and more. Do your research to find the best option for you. This could be crucial when cashflow is tight.

10. Don’t be a d*ck

The resounding lesson of the day comes back to one simple concept – don’t be a jerk. As Simon Sinek says, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” And that why always comes back to you.

Thank you to everyone who joined us at BITE 2017, and for making it such a fantastic day!

Looking for business and financial advice to take advantage of everything you learned? We can help. Get in touch today.