Get ambitious, think international…and work hard

Diane Roberts of Xcell Partners shares her best advice for startups in Northern Ireland.

Diane Roberts

Diane Roberts

I’ve been working with startups for almost 15 years and unfortunately there is one piece of bad news for anyone looking at starting a new business: it isn’t easy! It’s probably one of the most difficult things you can do.

Whilst you need passion and drive, you also have to combine that with patience and tenacity.  The world isn’t waiting for you and your new product or service to come along; you have to get it out there, either in person or online.

The Northern Ireland economy is small – very small. Tidy and successful businesses can be built serving a local market, but to build something sustainable with investment and government support, you’re going to have to think international from day one. Don’t park that task for ‘year two’ – it has to be in the DNA of your business plan from the offset.

Selling outside the region for the first time can be daunting – don’t let it be.  The rest of the UK and Ireland are close, immediately accessible markets for us, with most key cities accessible by flight within an hour. The east coast of the USA is as near as 7 hours away, with numerous flights from Belfast and Dublin.

Here are the core pieces of advice I give startup companies we work with at Xcell Partners – and remember: building a small business takes as much effort as building a big one… READ THE FULL ARTICLE ON NIBUSINESSNOW HERE.

 Xcell Partners works with agencies to deliver economic development programmes aimed at the startup community. Since its foundation in 2007, Xcell has gone on to deliver the Invest Northern Ireland Propel Programme and the Enterprise Start programme for Enterprise Ireland.