George Elliott shares his wisdom at Startup Grind
On September 28th at CodeBase in Edinburgh, the UK’s largest tech incubator, we had the privilege of attending a fireside chat at Startup Grind Scotland with chairman and investor George Elliott.
George Elliot has a knack for profitably growing technology companies and bringing together a unique blend of commercial, financial and international expertise. He has succeeded in building and bringing to market successful companies that compete and win on the global stage. He has been non-exec chairman and director of over 18 companies, including Craneware plc (a leader in automated revenue integrity solutions that improve financial performance for healthcare organisations), Cooper Software Ltd (an enterprise resource planning systems integrator) and Par Equity Holdings Ltd (a venture capital company) just to name a few. You can read more about him here.
With a background of seven years at Grant Thornton and specialising in corporate finance, George had an interesting and diverse background of knowledge that he shared with us. Both entertaining and enthusiastic, listening to his story was a pleasure. It was easy to see that he has found a niche that he has excelled in.
Though the fireside concentrated on his achievements with helping companies succeed, George had a knack for parting with wisdom that everyone, entrepreneur or seasoned businessman, can learn from. Surrounding yourself with the right people, making sure you have the end in mind and start at the beginning and learning how important it is to do research, think your actions through and always ask questions.
He had many entertaining stories of himself and others thinking outside of the box to reach their goals. No matter how small the goal, he emphasised that you shouldn’t loose sight of what it is you are trying to do and be determined that you are going to get there.
You need a business plan
One of many pieces of advice that George parted with was that you need to concentrate on your market and you need a business plan. He explained that most people produce a business plan and they start with the beginning and the end and then march in a straight line.
“Actually following a business plan”, he said “is like a Saturday night. You’re staggering along, looking for the end that is off in the distance, and this is not necessarily where you are going to end up.”
Reversing into the future
To be successful, George believes that you need to look ahead two or three years and say “What is this company going to look like in two or three years if it successful?” and then work your way back. Too often we start from where we are and go forward. You need to get thinking of, not where the business is now, but where it is going to be in the future.
Hire the best people
He says “Hire the best people that you can get as early as you can get them.” George takes this a step further by explaining that you should not hire people that are like you, but people that compliment you. He had an excellent way of explaining it, stating that “The hero always get’s killed in films, but the team survives.” When you get a team working well, it powers through with or without you.
I’d like to leave you with his parting words of “If you really believe, then give it your best shot.”
Truly, words we can all live by.
Startup Grind is powered by Google for Entrepreneurs and is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. With monthly events all over the world, it aims to feature fireside chats with successful local founders, innovators, educators and investors. They share personal stories and lessons learned on the road to building great companies. Their values of; making friends, not contacts; giving, not taking; and helping others before helping yourself, speak to us as an organisation. We are pleased to be part of the Startup Grind community.
The next event in Edinburgh is being held on the 26th of October and will be at the Scott Moncrieff offices. The fireside chat will be with executive and entrepreneur Seonaidh MacDonald. Get your ticket and find out more about Seonaidh here.