Innovation and enterprise blog

The British Library Business & IP Centre can help you start, run and grow your business

3 posts from February 2014

21 February 2014

Review of How to Start a Creative Business by Doug Richard

Creative Business coverHow to Start a Creative Business  is a new book on business start-up by Doug Richard of School For Startups and School For Creative Startups, and formerly of Dragons Den.

To declare an interest, he has participated in a number of events here at the Business & IP Centre, and before the last election wrote a report for the Conservative Party on small business in which he highly praised us.

This book is aimed at creative businesses and shows signs of this including a distinctive landscape format and heavy hand-drawn-style of illustration. However, it will be useful for anybody starting a business.

Its structure is based around Ten Questions, which begin with basic things such as what your business proposition is, and who your customers are. It develops to more detailed information such as your channels to supply goods and services, your business’s emotional relationship with your customer, key partners and key competencies.

Apart from a short section on financial projections, its questions are mainly qualitative rather than quantitative, although still very thought-provoking and demanding. Richard is particularly keen, perhaps advisably for a creative audience, to make it clear that a business must make enough money for you to live your life, and if it fails to do so, then it has not achieved its most basic objective.

The book is very much about asking questions that are relevant to any kinds of business, and assumes that you already have a fair understanding of the business sector which you are entering. It is also not a place to look for information on legalities and procedures.

It does include useful information on subtleties such as the different forms of distributor which exist, and the types of deals that you may make with them, and common classifications of revenue models. It is aimed at people who do not have very large sums of money to invest, but at the same time are not struggling to find the minimum amount of start-up capital that their idea requires.

Each chapter ends with an interview with a successful entrepreneur on the issue it has dealt with. Subjects include those involved with names such as Tatty Divine and Folksy, as well as larger and longer established companies like Universal Music and Waitrose.

Overall, this book is highly recommended for any person who wants to start a business, no matter how creative they think of themselves or their concept.

Philip Eagle on behalf of Business & IP Centre

13 February 2014

The secret to survive and thrive

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, our business coach Rasheed Ogunlaru shares his top tips for keeping the passion alive in your business. 


Falling in love with your product, passions, purpose and people you serve and work with is the secret to surviving in the tough world business and challenging climate.

 Business is often seen as competitive and cut-throat – and it can be – but at heart it’s about creating products and services that we need and building and brand customers love. Knowing this is the secret to surviving the stresses and strains and winning customer loyalty.

Whether you’re starting out or looking to take your business to the next level of success, tapping into your passion and purpose will help you stay energised, inspired and will help you win the hearts, minds and loyalty of customers, suppliers, your team and everyone you meet along the way.

In a world where there are thousands of others who provide the same product and services with the same level of quality and skill – and where customers can change suppliers at the click of a button - it is your passion, heart and level of care that you put into your business that will make you stand out from the crowd.”

Rasheed’s Top Tips

  • Clear vision - use your passion, talents and values to forge a meaningful mission / path
  • Customer care - smile, delight and involve them - care about them not just their cash
  • Your Network - tap into your network, become a connector, share advice and information
  • Build relationships - be visible and valuable in your field: ‘serve don’t sell’: business will come
  • Be helpful - use your website, social media and interactions to share valuable information
  • From competitors to comrades - how can you team-up, cross-refer or collaborate & grow?
  • Team spirit - Got staff, associates or a team? Give thanks, feedback, praise and rewards
  • Romantic break - It’s not all about work put in time for loved ones, time out and hobbies too
  • Eat, sleep and rest well - take breaks or you and your business will suffer
  • Give back - Contribute and play your part. Support causes you care about.

 If you want to get the focus back for your business, come along to Rasheed's Soul Trader: your life, your business workshop at the Centre. Have a look at our calendar for the next date and book your place. 


10 February 2014

Are you the next Internet Icon?

‘Web in Feb’ is our Business & IP Centre series of events in February where we are helping you and your business make the most of the ever-expanding digital landscape. Access to the Internet using a mobile phone more than doubled between 2010 and 2013, from 24% to 53% in the United Kingdom stated this OFCOM report. Internet users are increasingly making online purchases either at home or roaming on their digital devices.

Tech city map

Photo Source – TechCity, East London Map

London may not have been the birthplace of Facebook, Apple, Google or Twitter but there is a growing tech community which is a friendly rival to Silicon Valley – with rapid growth in the number of technology based start-up businesses that are riding the wave in the capital. 

Some of these giant companies have set up houses in what is now known as Tech City UK in Shoreditch, East London. Supported by the UK Government, this is a technology cluster providing support to entrepreneurs to set up in Tech City by providing practical, online and face-to-face advice on everything from location to guidance on exports, introductions to investors, talents and other contacts.  Do have a look at their resources and success stories to share for inspiration. 

One of the reasons for the success is the ecosystem around of start-ups, support, location and possibility… timing of a community space. Seen as a hub for innovation - there are a few accelerators like well-known Seedcamp and co-working spaces where you can also network, pool knowledge, collaborate and forge business together.  If you are looking to get in, check organisations located there on this map and to find physical space see Trampery, TechHub, and this guide by Shoreditch Office Space. 

Not just focussed on London, it seems that tech hubs are also blossoming up and down the country such as in Croydon – with Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester looking to be the ‘Tech City of the North’.  


`           Photo Source - Shutl

In the Centre and with our partners Lucidica and Grow, we have our own success stories for supporting online and tech businesses. We can direct you to the relevant information, advice and experts. 

Shutl, one of our customers, received free advice as part of our Innovating for Growth programme to help their company to grow. During their time they received advice on their strategy for business growth, product development and market penetration.

Their business provides an integrated web service across a retailer’s various channels to offer shoppers immediate and convenient delivery.  This was the first and only delivery service of its kind in the UK, with major retailer Argos as one of the first and major customers. Just after they completed the programme, they were acquired by eBay Inc, with plans to expand to the US market.

Startup Flubit founders Bertie Stephens and Adel Louertatani launched a social-commerce website called Flubit in April 2011. Flubit breaks away from the traditional commission-based model by giving online shoppers unique and discounted offers on products they want to buy.  Find out how he applied what he learnt from the Centre’s intellectual property workshops and advice sessions with phone box millionaire, Stephen Fear on our video.

 These are just some ways we are happy to ride this wave and support you in your online or tech business ventures. 

Keep your eyes out for all the events we have planned for Web in Feb , including our next Inspiring Entrepreneurs ‘Internet Icons’ with Nick Robertson OBE of ASOS, Kathryn Parsons of Decoded and Nick Jenkins of

 Seema Rampersad on behalf of Business & IP Centre