No sleep. No money. No life.

Running a business is a bit like having a newborn baby, says Mike Austin, Co-Founder of Triggered Messaging. 

It can’t be all that bad or Science Park tenant Mike Austin wouldn’t be on his third business! We asked Mike about the potential pitfalls of running a business and for his top tips for success.  

Mike started his first business in the 80’s designing and developing video games at the age of 16. Since then, he started and sold a successful software business and now runs Triggered Messaging which specialises in real-time behavioural marketing. Now over two years into his latest venture, he and his business partner and brother, Pete Austin, thought up and researched over 100 ideas before deciding on Triggered Messaging.

So Mike is no stranger to the challenges of being a start-up. Here’s why he thinks that starting your own business is not dissimilar to having a new born baby: “First off, you’ll get no sleep. Your clients and general business concerns will regularly keep you awake all night. Then, you’ll have no money. In my experience, you receive no significant profit in the first two years – I know other people have, but I haven’t managed it yet! And last, you’ll have no life. Starting and running a business is all-consuming. Your whole life consists of work and this only gets worse when you bring in clients!” he said. 

So, what would be Mike’s advice for entrepreneurs looking to start out in the business world? He has seven top tips which he believes are the key to success and these are:  

1.       Focus on your primary goals. What is the least you can do to produce a product that people will pay for?

2.       Reduce, reuse, recycle. Minimise costs when you’re starting out. Use free trials and try to keep them going for as long as possible! 

3.       Start selling early. If you’re not skilled in the dark art of sales, hire someone to do it for you. Better now than four or five years down the line.

4.       Manage cash carefully. Manage your cashflow well and find out what your baseline income is.  This will make your business more valuable. 

5.       Get the right team. Complement your skillset and ensure all the key areas are covered. 

6.       Consider finance and exit strategy. Fools, friends and family: bootstrapping can be distracting from the main project but it might be a necessary evil – indeed essential. 

7.       Always ask for advice! Nobody knows it all! 

So, forget about the lack of life, money and sleep – it’s only temporary and the rewards are there to be had for the committed! An honest interpretation from a hardened entrepreneur, thanks Mike!