The number of new businesses across the UK have increased by 60% in the last 2 decades and new research shows that this trend isn’t stopping there – the number of new businesses launched in the UK at the start of 2022 have increased by 20% since the pandemic.
There’s no doubt that a global pandemic has sparked entrepreneurial spirit across the UK. Over the last 12 months, online searches for business start-ups have surged across the country:
However, starting a business is never easy – especially during a pandemic. In July 2021, brothers, Chris and Will Donnelly founded Lottie – a care home marketplace – aimed to transform the later life sector. Now valued at £45million and exactly one year on, the brothers have shared the powerful business lessons they learned during their time as a start-up.
“Over the last year, Lottie has gone from strength to strength: growing and dominating the later life sector, challenging the status quo of the long-standing care industry and helping thousands of families across England,” shares Co-Founder Will Donnelly.
“The care sector was heavily impacted by the pandemic, which made our mission to drive positive change that bit harder. One year on, Lottie is already driving positive change in the elderly care sector, but it wasn’t without a struggle. That’s why I’m keen to share the key lessons we’ve learned with entrepreneurs and the business community, so others can learn from our mistakes.”
Co-Founder Chris Donnelly also agrees: “Our achievements with Lottie haven’t come without challenges. From breaking through fierce competition in a saturated market to making Lottie a trusted and respected brand name, we’ve learnt a lot on the way. Lottie is fast becoming an industry leader and driver of change, and we’re fortunate to have stayed true to our mission to elevate later life”.
Here are 5 lessons to learn from a start-up during lockdown, according to Lottie’s Co-Founders Chris and Will Donnelly:
1. Start early and start with a purpose
When starting your own business, it’s important to begin early and to always have a purpose behind every decision you make – this has helped grow our success over the last year.
Lottie was born from our own personal struggles to find suitable care for our own family members, which drove our mission to transform the elderly care sector. Combined with Will’s expertise in later life, this purpose and insight has helped us to make the best business decisions for Lottie’s growth.
For instance, when hiring new team members or deciding how to scale up our business, we’ve been able to go back to the main reason we decided to start Lottie and evaluate how these decisions fit our business purpose and visions.
2. Think big
Whilst it’s important to set realistic goals, always try to challenge your expectations – this will help to drive growth.
In just under a year, Lottie grew from a team of 2 to 30, from a business idea to now having a portfolio of products in the elderly care sector and working with partners across the country.
Always believe in yourself and your business will follow.
3. Learn to adapt quickly
Business and markets are constantly changing, so it’s crucial to stay on top of industry trends and adapt to meet the changing needs of customers.
If you’re struggling to achieve a goal or experience a knock back – don’t see this as a failure. There’s no business that’s got everything perfect the first-time round. Learn from your experience and evaluate what you can do differently or what may need to change within your business. Being quick to adapt will help your startup to thrive.
4. Build a team of people that believe in your vision
Hiring people that believe in your purpose and goals is key to long term success. From strengthening your company culture to driving business growth, it’s important to build a team that can contribute towards your goals.
At Lottie, our team are at the heart of everything we do. Our aim is to connect families and their loved ones to the best care homes and at a fair price. Building a team of people that also share this vision has helped Lottie grow from strength to strength over the last year.
5. Never stop learning
There’s a new lesson to learn each day when running a business – no matter how established it may be. Take the time out of your day to reflect on your achievements, ambitions and any new experiences or challenges you can learn from.
Reflecting on the day-to-day operations of your business, not only allows you to track your progress and achievement but to identify any areas of growth. Learning from your business encourages originality and new ideas – helping to create new ways of thinking and drive market change with your business in the lead.
There’s no one way to start a business – this will be unique to you, your business idea, and the market. However, if there was one key piece of advice, I would share with someone looking to start a business, it would be to start now.
Run with your idea, explore opportunities, and take risks. Start to share your business content now – over time your support will grow, and you’ll attract people that think the same way you do. It’s absolutely worth the time and effort.