Propel Morning Briefing

Karen Jones offers best business startup tips

Karen Jones, co-founder of the Café Rouge chain and former chief executive of the Spirit pub group, has given her top business advice for startups.

Jones, who also chairs London cafe bar operator Food & Fuel, said: “The acid test I ask people and entrepreneurs I work with is, can you tell me what that business is in one sentence? You have to know what you are and if you are blurry there is no reason why your customers should understand it better than you.”

The former non-executive director at ASOS held up the online retailer – self-defined as a “global fashion destination for 20-somethings” – as a prime example.

Next up was understanding your company values, which Jones felt was especially important to millennial customers and employees.

“People want to work for companies that have great values and can say what their values are. Once you know what they are, everything becomes much simpler.”

Jones’ third tip was not to make profit the sole motivation. “Do not start a business for the money because it will fail,” she said.

“You have to love it and want to spend every waking hour on it, and you have to love your customers.” She also warned against becoming shackled to a “bad partner” in business, which she said was “worse than having no partner”, and emphasised the importance of continuing to learn through the process.

“The thing about owning your own business is you have to do everything, and it teaches you things you thought you would never have to know.”

 

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