This post is part of our “Crowdsourcing: Wisdom from the Community” feature which contains guest bloggers from the local Edinburgh startup community. This post is from Chris Muktar, owner and Director of WikiJob, a wiki-style employment site that allows users to swap insight about careers, interviews and assessment days at major London employers.
Although Chris now lives in London, he’s an ex-Edinburgher who still keeps an eye trained on northern affairs.
My business, WikiJob, is a successful company that helps graduates get jobs. This year it will turn over around half a million. I’ve learnt a few things along the way, and I’d like to share them with you: work how much you want to make, invest small amounts of money, and don’t quit.
1. Work out how much money you want to make, then make a plan to get it.
Having a goal for how much money you want to have in your bank, and when, is the first step to planning how you get there.
Be realistic with your plan—it’s much easier to have and execute a £1m or £10m idea than it is to have a £100m or £1b idea. Tech businesses are not a good idea—the vast majority fail—and if you are serious, you need to make damn sure you’re going to succeed.
The amount you decide will dictate the kind of plan you draw up. If you want to make £1m or £10m, most ‘normal’ ideas will be just fine. If you want to make £1b, you probably want to start an oil company instead. [Editor’s note: He’s right.]
2. Invest small amounts of money, lose small amounts of money.
Everybody loses money. Not every decision works out the way we planned. And yet, people are usually hell bent on raising money to begin with. If you can’t make money from where you’re standing, you are unlikely to do any better after you’ve spent £100k. You’ll generally find you think much better when you are restricted. For those looking for investment, have you considered what you would do if you couldn’t raise the money? How would you then make it work? It’s this kind of thinking that helps you build a lean, powerful business.
3. There are no quitters at my dinners.
We all make tons of mistakes as we go. The difference between those who succeed and those who do not depends on whether they see ‘failure’ as failure, or a temporary setback.
At WikiJob there are no failures, there are no fallen-through sales, there are no closed doors. When something doesn’t go our way, it’s a temporary setback. It only becomes a failure when you’ve decided that. Some of our deals have taken years of meetings and many rejections. But they’ll all be signed—I’ll make sure of it. In other words, a temporary setback only becomes a failure when you’ve decided it.
I could write a dozen more thoughts and lessons, but I would say these three are amongst the most useful to those starting out. Hopefully you’ll learn to work out what you want, not to waste money and not to give up. It’s these tools that have got me where I am [Editor: literally, an office in Covent Garden], and I am certain they will work for anyone who cares to observe them.
Chris Muktar, WikiJob