Startup

What’s the best business advice you’ve been given?

Colin Richardson, Head of Marketing and Co-Founder at Cocoon smart home security, shares his best business advice for startup founders and entrepreneurs
Cocoon Labs

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever been given? We asked Colin Richardson, CMO and Co-Founder at Cocoon, to share his insight from a varied experience across startups and larger companies. He found it hard to choose highlights, having gleaned lots of wisdom over the years, but two things stood out. Be selfish with your time and trust your gut instinct.

Being an entrepreneur can be tough, but you don’t have to go it alone. Learn from other people’s stories, family, friends and mentors. Read books. Attend events and listen to the experiences and thoughts of those around you. Not all advice is good advice, but most advice can be learnt from and it’s up to you how you use it. Advice that’s adapted to suit your personal challenges can reassure decisions and guide actions.

Here are five pieces of advice based on Colin’s experience. We’d love to hear your best business advice, do share with us on Twitter.

1. Fail and move on.

Following business leaders won’t prevent you from making mistakes, and sometimes you will fail spectacularly. Accept this and don’t try to fight the tide, failure is good if it’s controlled and it will stop you believing the hype.

This is based on my own experience and from reading Richard Branson‘s books. He’s quite clear that everyone fails and you need to prepare for how you deal with that.

2. You don’t know everything.

Expert advice from a trusted and grounded source is pound for pound more valuable than the money you would be prepared to pay for it. Good advice = great decision-making = saving time and money.

This is something I’ve learnt from a bunch of different sources, but the one that stands out the most would be a talk we went to at TechCity UK’s Upscale program where Simon Calver (BGF Ventures/ former CEO of LoveFilm) gave a talk on investors.

3. Your customers matter most.

A great product needs exceptional customer support. Products break, updates fail, and sometimes despite your best efforts some folk just have edge-case complaints that need to be heard. Treat your customers as well as you would treat an employee and just like they are one of the team, they’ll have your back when you need it most.

I’ve learnt this from Tobias Lee (CMO @ Thompson Reuters)

4. Take care of your mental and physical health.

Just like computers, sometimes you need to turn off and back on again if there’s a problem you can’t fix. Humans are not machines and we need to rest and have fun to work properly.

I learnt this from Jerry Colonna & through some of my own experiences. This is why Cocoon will very soon be joining many other brilliant companies working with Sanctus on The Mental Health Pledge, and why we use Perkbox to offer employees benefits in health and wellbeing (as well as freebies and discounts).

5. Be selfish with your time.

I only have three hours a day when I’m even able to get in ‘the zone’. I own those three hours and I don’t let myself waste them. Adjust your diary so that you do the important stuff in the time when you’re productive, and move the ‘have to’ drone work (that we all have to do) to the time when you’re not.


If you’ve got any business advice or tips you’d like us to add or any thoughts on these, then we’d love to hear from you. Simply send @cocoon a tweet.