To state the obvious, it’s been a tempestuous multitude of months since the surprising EU referendum result was revealed, as we enter post-Brexit UK.
As well as highlighting the extreme division within the UK, the verdict has cast a looming shadow of uncertainty over the UK’s technology companies. On top of this, the effects of Brexit are already palpable, as evidenced by a dip in VC investment by as much as a third since last June’s Brexit decision.
Arguably, this is a fresh opportunity to harness home-grown talent – generating a positive outcome from what could be a challenging situation. On top of this, the language of technology is universal, and so its power must be harnessed.
For this purpose, once Article 50 is actually triggered, tech entrepreneurs from all over Europe must be granted access to straightforward visa applications. After all, it would be a travesty for London – arguably the greatest city in the world – to lose out on the next Forbes 30 Under 30.
Nonetheless, would-be founders cannot ignore the statistics that reveal at least a heightened sense of caution from investors for fear post-Brexit. A digital product can be built anywhere, thanks to the pervasiveness of remote working – which, of course, is key to the future of businesses.
As such, entrepreneurial Londoners (whether born and bred or new arrivals) must capitalise on all the city has to offer, and make the most of the capital’s resources in order to become experts in their industry before seeking funding – from seed to Series A and beyond.
From bankers-turned-startup founders to club promoters-turned-nightlife CEOs, London has the optimal resources for any would-be entrepreneur. Post-Brexit, from a funding perspective, it’s never been more important to be an expert in your industry, in order to minimise risk and strengthen the investment, as well as foster a true sense of sector-specific community.
For all budding entrepreneurs, it’s fundamental to become completely immersed in your industry. Staying up to date and knowledgeable is wholly necessary for creating and sustaining a successful business.
Unfortunately, all too often entrepreneurs out there forget about the need to educate themselves in all aspects of their business. Over time, of course, it’s very possible for founders to outsource some of their work. Crucially, however, entrepreneurs will never be excused from truly comprehending and being articulate about their industry – and rightly so.
It inevitably follows that, if a company’s goal is to be presented to outsiders – from direct customers to investors to media – then of course it’s paramount to demonstrate expertise in the appropriate sector.
Founders will of course be expected to explain the general state of their industry and the nature of their business, especially if the plan is destined for beyond the company and into the hands of banks or investors. At the same time, even if a business plan is for an entrepreneur’s own management purposes, it is still vital – whether proven to others or not – to exhibit extensive market knowledge.
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that everything that happens in a company’s industry will affect the internal bottom line. The more an organisation is aware of their industry, the more advantage and protection they will enjoy.
This may sound fairly obvious, but there are countless startup founders who have no specific industry experience. Undoubtedly, overall business experience and prowess is ideal, but – in the face of post-Brexit and the skills shortage that entails – it’s never been more important for entrepreneurs to truly understand their industry. Evidently, in any business world – let alone the imminently unstable one – the less knowledge that can be outsourced, the better.
Whether it’s joining a relevant trade body or common interest group to subscribing to a relevant sector’s most popular journals and other publications –perhaps even volunteering in the field – there’s no shortage of opportunities for founders to make the most of to become familiar with their chosen industry.
Ultimately, in order to soften the blow of post-Brexit as much as possible, all UK-based entrepreneurs would do well to choose industry erudition alongside general corporate capabilities.
Anna Frankowska is CEO of Nightset (previously Party Hype)