How to get your business started - by the founders of Morphsuits
Since it was founded in 2009 by Ali Smeaton, his brother Fraser and friend Gregor Lawson, Morphsuits has grown to a £12 million turnover business. In the summer 2014, the company re-branded changing their name to MorphCostumes to allow them to enter the wider fancy dress costume market. The company now employs 30 people in their offices in Edinburgh, London, Valencia and California.
Their advice to budding entrepreneurs is as follows:
"Do test your idea quickly and cheaply:
Morphsuits was our third idea. Despite our research, planning and passion for the previous ideas we just couldn't get them off the ground. However, because we had launched them for little money it meant that all we lost was our time and in return we got a lot of learning that proved very useful with our following ideas.
Too many people think that their idea is so special that if they tell anyone it will be copied. Don't believe it. The chances of your idea being stolen are tiny and you will miss out on loads of valuable feedback and introductions."
Do continue to keep your job until your concept is proven:
We kept our jobs for 18 months after launching Morphsuits and while it was very hard work it meant that we could reinvest all our profits in growth because we could live off our salaries. Just make sure your new venture isn't competing with your day job!
This does two brilliant things for a start-up: 1. It means you can keep your costs variable so you can scale up and down with demand; 2. You can bring in experts in all areas of the business. At Morphsuits we outsource absolutely everything other than actually running the business.
Don't keep it secret:
Too many people think that their idea is so special that if they tell anyone it will be copied. Don't believe it. The chances of your idea being stolen are tiny and you will miss out on loads of valuable feedback and introductions. At Morphsuits we talk to as many people as possible and through that we have found our manufacturers, our logistics firm and many more innovations. Start a little black book.
Don't wait until everything is 100% perfect before getting going:
If you wait until everything is perfect you will never launch because nothing is ever perfect. When you launch, your customers will forgive a few imperfections and you will have started learning and earning money.
Don't start something you don't know how to monetise:
We all hear about Twitter and Facebook who drive huge valuations before generating any revenue. Don't be misled; this only works for a few Silicon Valley venture capital backed businesses. Having a business that generates revenues from day one keeps you motivated and provides capital to finance growth."