How to start a business in 2023
The MeetUp panel with host Ben Keene

To kick off 2023, our host Ben Keene was joined by 4 early stage founders to lift the lid on what it’s really like to build a business and how you can start up this year.

“A supergroup of startups for a healthy and happy life”.  

The founders on stage represented a wide range of industries, from sexual health wellness, to healthy snacks and sentimental gifting. On the panel were:

  • Jagir Mankodi, co-founder of Superfoodio 
  • Anneka Wallington, co-founder of Recognised 
  • Sarah Welsh and Farah Kabir, co-founders of Hanx

Here's what we learnt about how to build a business in 2023:

Where to begin and how to grow

Inspiration comes from everywhere, and Anneka even confessed that the idea behind Recognised came to her in a dream. After literally bringing her visions to reality, she reminded founders that the process  “always takes longer than you think it's going to take."

Moving on to the topic of fundraising, Anneka discussed that even though you can take on opinions of more experienced entrepreneurs in the early stages of starting up, that ultimately you must remember that you're the one who has to drive your business forward.

 "As I’ve grown in confidence, I found out that you just have to trust yourself."

Remember: Only you can make things happen at the beginning - and once you'll do, you'll see how much impact you can have on your progress. 

Great tools for early stage founders

When you first start up, most of the time, budgets are tight. So, our founders told us their favourite platforms that they use to get things done affordably and on time. 

Jag suggested Fiverr to outsource the odd jobs or things you may not be an expert at yet, giving you the opportunity to  “tap into people who live and breathe that world”. There are experts with a range of skillsets on freelancer platforms, you've never had access to so much talent as and when you need it.

When it's just you, you have to take on every part of the business. If you're not a designer but need to do social media marketing, Anneka recommends Canva as one of her favourite and affordable tools for social media and content creation.

Beyond your product: Create value for your community

Sarah and Farahh explained that the “lack of education about sexual wellness” and other taboo areas drove Hanx to also  build “a real engine of content online”.

Their bank of resources give customers additional tools including a chat room, creating value beyond their range of products. 

Think beyond your product or service, and onto how you engage a community through content, resources and by creating safe spaces.

Give yourself credit

Progress takes time, but make sure you reflect on how far you have come. Jag said that reading DMs and emails reminds him about the real life impact he is making.

Recently a parent got in contact to thank Superfoodio for giving their child, who has Type 2 diabetes, a snack that they can enjoy whilst trusting it’s a healthier alternative to high sugar treats.

Co-founder support in tough times

Any founder will agree that some days are difficult. Building a business has its challenges, but you’re not alone.

Almost every person starting, running or scaling a business will have moments of doubt, but the Hanx duo, Farah and Sarah, said that the main thing to do is to “be kind to yourself”

“It's okay if you have a wobble - there's a lot of pressure," they say. "Don't beat yourself up." 

Being childhood friends and co-founders, the pair also reflected on how helpful it is to have a co-founder that lifts you up.

"We know each other inside out, it is like being a married couple and you do have to really trust each other."

The whole MeetUp will be available to watch on YouTube soon so you can access even more insights from this session. 

Subscribe so you know when the new MeetUp episode drops and have access to our already jam-packed library of free founder resources! 

Virgin Money are here to disrupt the status quo. They want everyone to have a much happier relationship with money. They provide a full range of banking products, services and digital solutions to help founders at every stage of their business journey. Find out more by visiting their website.

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