With Oxford Innovation's Andrew Finley
What's the top piece of sales and marketing advice you would give to someone starting a new business?
Seek a point of difference. Many new businesses believe they can succeed by offering something that others do by being cheaper, but that's rarely true.
How important are sales and marketing when you are setting up and building a new business?
Essential – without sales you have no business.
Which is more important, a great idea or great marketing to take it forward?
In my opinion both are equally as important; without one, the other will struggle. That said, brilliant marketing won't make up for the poor product or idea. The history of advertising is littered with brilliant campaigns that failed because the product wasn't right.
What must someone absolutely have to have to start a new business?
There are many important attributes but, for me, dogged determination is the most important – the ability to believe in yourself and your idea no matter how many setbacks you receive. I'm not normally a great fan of inspirational quotes, but US President Calvin Coolidge summed it up when he said:
"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."
What question do you get asked most frequently and how do you answer them?
"Do you think this will work?"
My answer is how badly do you want it to work and what are you willing to give up to make it work?