Becoming your own boss is a key ambition for many aspiring office workers across the country. We caught up with successful entrepreneurs Max & Rikkert and asked them 10 quick questions about starting up a business as well as any other advice they could give to anyone looking to become their own boss.
What are your top three tips for someone wanting to set up in business?
- If you have an idea for a business don’t hang about because if you don’t do it soon, other people will do it sooner.
- Be the solution to the problem – think about the problems and frustrations your ideal customers have and base your value proposition on this.
- Don’t hire skill, hire good people. They’re the ones that will bring your business further.
Entrepreneurs often say owning the morning is key to their success – what’s the first thing you do when you get up?
Feed the kids, then take a shower and get dressed before heading off for a day at the office.
Business and family are difficult things to mix, so as brothers, what advice do you have for people wanting to go into business with someone they know?
Either have a solid relationship that can easily withstand difficult times or find someone with no personal attachment in case you decide to stop and part ways.
Organisation does not come naturally to everyone – what are your tips to keeping work on track?
We’ve standardised all our processes across the business and keep track of our deadlines and deliverables – both internal and external – using online project management tools.
Creating an open office space has also made it much easier for everybody to communicate with one another, so we’re all more aware of how projects are progressing.
Gadgets can help or hinder, but what are the key office essentials you couldn’t live without?
We’re traditionalists and use notebooks for taking down meeting notes, organising thoughts and ideas, or keeping to-do lists. Brightly coloured Post-Its or stickie notes are brilliant for brainstorm sessions with clients or our team. Oh, and we shouldn’t forget the humble printer – although we do so much of our work online, sometimes you just need to print things off.
Meetings are an important element of modern day work life, so how do you ensure yours are effective?
We set out an agenda, like a to-do list, which helps us keep things on track during the meeting and the various actions we or the client need to complete. It’s a simple but effective technique.
Creativity is a skill – how do you keep your ideas fresh?
We talk a lot about the new ideas we have and see if they’re interesting and viable. If any are, we then often brainstorm with other team members before making them concrete by assigning different tasks to everyone in order to investigate further possibilities.
Great communication is at the heart of every booming business, so what do you do to make sure what you said is heard clearly both internally and externally?
We have one person who is the main point of contact for a client. This way it’s clear for the client, and for us, who to talk to on the project in case there are any planning issues or questions.
Getting staff to work together can improve morale and the bottom line – how do you promote teamwork in the office?
Every day we all sit down to eat lunch together. It’s something we provide and really helps to get everyone talking and sharing. It improves relationships, the overall understanding of what other people do in the business, and can be a springboard for some great ideas and discussions.
Being a manager does not come naturally to everyone, what are your tips for successfully managing a team?
Be yourself, be honest and give people some room to get the job done themselves.