Welcome to my introductory post on thestartupfactory.tech blog; something I’ll now be making a regular contribution to, bringing you never-shared-before content based on our new podcast, ‘from the factory floor’. Through these conversational articles written for tech product entrepreneurs, myself and my thestartupfactory.tech (tsf.tech) colleagues will be discussing all things startup and tech.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with tsf.tech’s story, as is often the way with a lot of good, entrepreneurial ideas, it was something that our co-founders, Ian Brookes and Guy Remond, stumbled across a little by accident back in 2017. They came across two startups within three or four months of each other, both based on really interesting ideas, and could see how those companies could solve a problem and how they could serve a particular market.
They also liked the people behind them. They were genuine experts in what they did, they came across well, and they felt they had all the attributes needed to become successful entrepreneurs. Like a lot of startups, these entrepreneurs had raised money from friends and family, but again like a lot of startups, they just didn’t have enough capital to do what they needed to do.
What Guy and Ian didn’t want to do was to not be involved with these two companies; they liked the ideas and they liked the people. They wanted to make it work. So they decided to take part-cash payment for the work they’d do upfront such as building the tech products, which wasn’t the entrepreneurs’ specialist area, and take a small stake in the companies to make up for the shortfall in costs incurred by delivering this particular project.
Overall, it worked really well; like anything, there were ups and downs, but ultimately, they built some really leading edge products. And they felt that the model they’d developed for these projects had legs for others.
In looking at things differently, Ian and Guy created something they could offer the tech startup founder with a great idea, but without the tech know-how or the cash to bring that idea to life. They branded this solution tsf.tech, formed a team with myself and our now-colleagues, “stole” the Factory Records logo (with full permissions, of course) and the rest is history.
For us, Factory Records and its part in our branding has cultural significance for tsf.tech; we’re all Manchester born and bred and find it this really vibrant place with such a positive, entrepreneurial spirit. There are some incredible names to have come out of Manchester; Turing, Lowry, Rutherford, 16 Nobel Prize winners…not to mention world-famous bands and nightlife.
So, in creating tsf.tech, we’ve taken the Mancunian attitude, the creativity and the flair and, together with the lessons we all brought with us from our previous tech projects together, applied that knowledge to helping viable, fast-growth tech startups work. If you’re ever in Manchester and can pop into The Manchester Tech Centre, you’ll see these cultural influences all around our offices and in the work we produce.
Promoters of creativity and doing things differently
We’ve always believed in doing things differently. I’ve worked with Ian and Guy on a variety of tech projects over several years now and we’ve never had to rely on a conventional sales team to generate clients. Instead, we’ve always looked at how we can push ourselves and our technical and business knowledge out there organically, through the content we produce.
It is just one of the many things that set us apart from everyone else. We demonstrate our expertise through our outputs and it meant that when we were in front of a client, particularly one who’d contacted us, we didn’t have to spend that time with them convincing them we were capable enough, because we had already sufficiently demonstrated it through our content. So that time with clients was spent instead sitting down and discussing their proposition and understanding them. And if we got the commercials sorted and we got the project scheduled in then we could just go ahead with it.
So that’s a big reason why I’m writing these blogs for you, why Ian and Guy both write their regular blogs, and why the tsf.tech team collectively decided to start our podcast, ‘From the Factory Floor’. It’s a natural extension of the tsf.tech culture, and helping us focus on what we’re good at, helping our clients.
For the rest of this year, my colleagues and I will be contributing to the blog and podcast show. From next year, we’ll be bringing in guests from our extended network to share their perspectives as well, so really interesting people who have helped us and the companies we work with along the way. It’ll be an incredibly useful resource for tech entrepreneurs. If Peter Crouch can do it, I’m sure we can, too!
This blog and the podcast are also a prelude to a book later this year, aimed at furthering that cause and helping entrepreneurs, especially in the tech sector. Whilst this blog and our other content is aimed mostly at startup founders in the tech world, a lot of what we discuss is people and culture, amongst other things, and those snapshots can be applied to any organisation. So there’ll be a huge amount of useful stuff that comes out from our expertise – and the mistakes we’ve made along the way – that everyone in business can benefit from.
We’re looking forward to sharing our experience, our learning points, our methodologies and how we build our startups. At the end of the day, part and parcel of being a startup is making mistakes, learning from them and going again and we’ve all been there and gained a lot of medals and scars along the way, so we’re more than happy to talk to anyone who needs to have that kind of conversation. If it’s a tech conversation, we can help you, if it’s not tech, we can still help and share our experiences wherever we can. Either way, give it a go. Now is a great time to start a business; there are some huge opportunities in the tech world in particular as result of some of the changes that have been forced on us throughout 2020.
Be curious, keep asking questions, and use resources like this one to help you in the coming weeks and months ahead. If you can do this, combined with hard work, then you have every chance of being a success.
More next week.
P.S If you have any comments on tech startups or technology, in general, we’d love to hear from you; drop a comment in the box below, contact me through the site HERE or reach me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.