Firstly congratulations, you’ve won Scottish EDGE!
As winners of Scottish EDGE in round 5, December 2014, we know how much work and effort you must have put in to win. We won £100,000 for our innovative patent-pending shellfish storage and transport system called Lobster Pod. With applications, videos, pitch practice, business planning and learning your numbers we know it will have been a stressful few months. Hindsight, as they say, is a wonderful thing so we thought we’d write this for you, our fellow alumni, as our advice now that you are an EDGE winner.
- Celebrate! This is probably the only chance you’ll get to really let your hair down and celebrate. As soon as the funding hits the bank you are going to be very busy putting all of those plans and dreams into action so for now let your hair down, have fun, and give yourself a pat on the back.
- Thank everyone who has helped you so far. Chances are all of those supporters will be part of the future journey so let them know how much they matter to you. Next, build a small team of mentors to help you in the next steps. We have had the support from lots of individuals and organisations but for the next stage of growth you are about to proceed on a smaller number of specialists will be better. You will just not have time to make the most of a large number of mentors and you will begin to get confused with so many opinions. Choose mentors you trust and like but not necessarily agree with you. At this stage I want to thank Alasdair, Brian, Paul and Tricia who have been great mentors throughout our journey.
- Catch up with family and friends. No doubt, like us, you have neglected the people close to you and relied on them to do everything you needed to drop in order to be a winner. All of the kids pick ups, dinners made, missed date nights etc. I would love to tell you things will change but the reality of running a start up is that this is your new normal. To succeed you need to be all in, always on and that is going to require an understanding family.
- Look after yourself. You cannot afford sick days. You need to eat well and build exercise into your new routine. I would love to say I have cracked this but although I eat very healthily I do not exercise enough (okay, at all).
- Be mindful. Growing a start-up is stressful. You need to have techniques to deal with this. Be self-aware and seek help if you need it. Many people underestimate the importance of being mentally fit. I think relaxation is key to my success. I enjoy meditation, visualising and ‘me time’ regularly to ensure the stresses of work do not affect either me or my family.
- You need to have self-belief, be confident and have influence. These are all very different qualities. If you struggle with this, seek help. By winning Edge I am going to assume you are a confident, excellent pitcher. Now work on that self-belief which is not a quality us Scots are blessed with.
- Be pitchtastic. My good friend, Mel Sherwood at Grow Your Potential, helped me with my Edge pitch. She helped me to craft a wonderful pitch which I believe was not only full of lots of factual information relating to our business but was authentic and entertaining. Life is a pitch. Every time we introduce ourselves, seek funding, recruit new employees and especially when selling we are pitching. make sure you are always pitchtastic.
- Work on your values. Our values are to improve the quality of seafood and the efficiency and profitability of our customers’ business as part of a sustainable supply chain whilst working smart and playing nice. Simple. Having clear values which all of your team can follow help you to make decisions. And you are going to have to make lots of decisions and quickly. We cannot believe how fast our business progressed once we won Edge. Now if we need to make a quick decision we consider if it fit with our values and help us achieve our aims (which are based on these values).
- Beware the wolf in sheeps clothing. I do not think there is any downside to winning Edge however please be aware that you will now have a raised profile and are about to have a large sum of cash in the bank. Some people are not a nice as they seem and there are people who will try to take advantage of you. Be smart and seek advice from known mentors or trusted referrals.
- Pay it forward. Make sure to help the next batch of Edge applicants to learn from your success. Pay forward all of the kindness, support and help to the entrepreneurs coming after you.
You will notice that none of the above is actually about your business. None of our businesses are the same. We are all innovative. You know best how to make your business succeed. I wish you all #BestFishes for the next stage and I hope it is everything you wished for. We’ll hopefully meet you at the next Edge alumni event.
Sea-E-O and Founder