The best business tips from a year in the VOOM Podcast studio

The final episode of series two of the VOOM Podcast has been sent out across the airwaves, so what better time to reflect on all the golden nuggets of entrepreneurial insight we’ve learned from our esteemed (and very generous) guests over the past 12 months...

It's been quite a year in the VOOM Podcast studio. We've had advertising genius Rory Sutherland regale us with tales from the Mad Men era, heard rap tracks from Jimmy Cregan and watched Richard Branson grill Tyra Banks on the life of a fashion entrepreneur. You can check out the best of the action by either clicking play or having a read below.

If you'd like to subscribe to the podcast then you can do so by heading over to iTunes, with new episodes set to be released throughout 2017. Alternatively, why not listen back to previous shows from season one and two of the VOOM Podcast.

On making the jump

"I was working for a great company, but after years of doing same job I knew it wasn’t for me... I knew in my heart I wanted to start my own business. There was a recession just starting, and people told me I was crazy, but it just gnawed at me to the point where I was like I'm not going to be happy if I keep doing what I'm doing."

- Gem Misa, co-founder of Cauli Rice

"There’s no good or bad time to start a business. So any time is a great time. It’s always going to be challenging, and there are always going to be opportunities."

- Elizabeth Varley, co-founder and CEO of TechHub

"If you will never forgive yourself for not trying, do it. If you’re obsessed, that’s your competitive advantage."

- José Neves, CEO at

On finding funding

"If you’re crowdfunding, get as creative as possible with your rewards. You’ll stand out, and people will talk about you."

- Olly Bolton, founder of What-A-Melon (and winner of the VOOM Crowdfunder Award)

"You have to put your money where your mouth is. I thought my idea was such a good idea that I was willing to remortgage my house rather than get money through investors and equity. And I'm glad we did that because we were always in control."

- Paul Lindley, founder of Ella’s Kitchen and Paddy’s Bathroom

"The first thing to do is to get some proof of concept. I came up with stuff in my own kitchen, took them to buyers, and managed to get an idea of what people wanted. I’d urge everyone to start small and prove your concept works first."

- Gem Misa, co-founder of Cauli Rice

On pitching

"Get to the crux. That one sentence is key. If you can’t nail that one-line pitch, people will switch off."

- Russ Tannen, Head of Music at Dice

"Look at what you're going to be saying and ask if it’s relevant. You don’t have to do a 'journey' to get there, don’t waffle, don’t be afraid you're being judged… and be excited."

- Shaun Pulfrey, founder of Tangle Teezer

"Take a lot of meetings. I probably met over 100 investors in one month. It’s a bit of a marathon. But the more people you get, the easier it becomes to get more people."

- Hal Watts, CEO at Unmade Studio

On advertising, branding, and building your company

"If you want to build a brand, the first requirement isn't necessarily to be brilliant... it’s to not produce anything that’s shit."

- Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Group

"Surround yourself with talented people. All those first hires, partners, co-founders, all of them need to be people you think are going to be equally devoted to realising the dream."

- Chris Barton, founder of Shazam

"Trying to be involved in everything was just a road to ruin. Your only hope as a founder is to get some really brilliant people on board that share the vision, the mission, and then, frankly, get out of their way."

- Ben Pugh, founder of Farmdrop

On work-life balance

"I want to remove this context of work-life balance, because for me it’s about life and whether you’re enjoying it or not. In the last 11 years at my previous company (StudentBeans), I feel like I only 'worked' for six months... because those were the times I didn’t enjoy, and I was frustrated, and at each of those points I reflected and thought that I needed to evolve, and I needed someone else to do the bits I wasn’t enjoying. It shouldn’t feel like hard work."

- James Eder, founder of Causr

"You can’t build an empire if you don’t have your health. And you can’t purchase or outsource your health, so I'm really mindful of it and I often talk about the importance of eating well and getting some sleep. I am the first person who understands the challenges of building a business - sometimes it’s 24 hours a day and you can’t rest - but you also cant build a business if you're ill or not feeling good."

- Emma Sinclair MBE, co-founder of EnterpriseJungle

"I started being really aware of when I didn’t feel well, what was going on my life, doing more exercise, I ate better, I drank less and I started to be aware of the fact that you only have one body, one life, and you have to look after it. What that means, essentially, is putting yourself first. I think women find that hard - especially mothers - but it’s the airplane principle: you must secure your mask before anyone else’s. You have to do that because if you’re not well then you can’t look after anyone else or your business."

- Harriet Minter, Journalist and Broadcaster (and former Guardian Women in Leadership Editor)


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