At the tender age of 20 I started my digital agency Optix Solutions. 18 years on we are still going and employ almost 20 staff. Here are 5 useful tips if you're thinking of starting your own business.

At 38 and as a relative old timer of the industry, I thought it would be useful to tell my story. Hopefully I can inspire the next generation because although the internet might have changed dramatically in the time I've been going, good old common sense business fundamentals haven't.

When I started my agency back in 1999 Google and Ebay were both in a garage somewhere. Many companies didn't have websites so my job was to persuade them this Internet thing was worth investing in! 18 years on and its a little different! In that time we went through the dot com bubble bursting, the birth of ecommerce,…

Developing your startup pitch

The perfect startup pitch helps entrepreneurs separate their companies from a growing amount of competition. Startup activity in the United States increased in 2016, continuing an upward trend that began in 2015, according to the Kauffman Foundation. All of this comes after startup activity reached its lowest point in the last 20 years in 2014. A more competitive market reinforces the notion that startups need more than a good business idea to become successful — entrepreneurs must convince others to invest in their business. Making that case persuasively is as much science as it is art. The following sections offer some guidelines and examples for developing the perfect startup pitch.

How to Make a Startup Pitch


Make sure you research and double-check every detail of your presentation. You should have an understanding of your product or service, the market and how these two areas interact. “What is your competitive advantage?”…

The 11 step launch marketing plan

The success of a startup will often depend on its approach to marketing. Unfortunately the vast majority of startup founders have little to no experience or marketing or managing a marketing budget. How do you deal with this dangerous contradiction? Well it's in the planning! Make sure that you’ve got your marketing strategy in line by applying this product launch framework. There are a million articles out there on brand development, launch marketing, PR, viral videos and more. Reading them all would be a start – or you can check our tried and tested approach below! The framework described below is typically rolled out step by step over 18 months. We hope it helps. 'In this world of intangibles and endless competition branding is everything.'

Phase 1 - Strategic Positioning, Brand and Web Presence

1. Strategic positioning (ad Early Adopter target market definition) The first step in a successful brand/product…

Lessons to learn from Start-up failure

This week we are releasing our new growth hacking guide and have a bit of a growth hacking and start-up theme across the blog. Although we focus on the marketing side of start-ups pretty exclusively, it interesting to look at why start-ups fail, and see how this fits in with marketing issues. A study by Quartz looked at 87 bootstrapped (that's Californian for growing without venture capital funding) start-ups which failed, to find out what caused their eventual downfall. Only 2 explicitly blamed poor marketing, which isn't a huge amount, although is above pricing issues, legal challenges or burn out, which are no small matter. If you're running a start-up or work for one it's a great chart to spur thinking and maybe even do a bit of soul-searching to think about where your weaknesses are and how you can avoid the most common traps. …

Review your approach to marketing with limited budget

How to build - Start-up Marketing 101

Recently, we attended Denver Startup week, which inspired us to create a short 'How To' Guide that digs into issues related to getting a start-up off the ground – building on the 'How to build requirements for an MVP' and our white paper on 'Tips every first-time entrepreneur should know.' This article mamepecifically focuses on how to develop a marketing strategy as a start-up, with lessons learned from experts, as well as advice on tools of the trade and how to measure and analyze your progress.

15 Marketing tips for start-ups

Tip #1 The key advice that you always have to keep at the top of everything you do is: Get your product out the door – with emphasis on speed over perfection. Your product doesn’t…

7 low or no-cost marketing techniques for startups without funding

Whilst many big name startups do receive funding, they're the exception. The startup I co-founded has never raised a penny in external funding, so in this post I share some of the low or no-cost marketing techniques we used when launching and We completely "bootstrapped" our comparison business, but using some of the methods I describe here we’re now helping over 120,000 visitors per month find a fairer and cheaper deal on foreign exchange. Yes, it was exhausting in the early years. Yes, the pace of growth was infuriating at times. But would Stevan (my co-founder) and I have done it any other way? Absolutely not! In this article, we’ll share some of our startup ‘war stories’ and show you how you can also market your startup on a shoestring.

1. Build…