In the first of our StartUp Studio Insight blogs, John Barrow of Azure provides guidance for early-stage startups around communications, strategy, culture, and developing a sound financial strategy.


There are many reasons why you’d want to start your own business. The sense of control and defining your destiny are clearly key parts of it. However, it’s easy to get lost and feel overwhelmed by the sudden responsibility and new expectations thrust upon you.

The enduring problem is not only the need to be multi-skilled but also to manage your time. No single person can be the best at HR, Legal, Finance, Marketing etc…

That’s why it’s imperative to map out your ambitions from the start. A business owner’s key skills are good communication and good leadership. Being able to promote a culture of passion which attracts high quality talent aligned with your own core values, goals and vision, who can also provide the required expertise in each discipline.

At the same time, you need to deliver a product or service that is different to your competitors, useful to customers and targeted at your specific market. Leaders of tech companies are often very focused on refining their product or service offering, but priority needs to be given to establishing good financial practice and developing a financial strategy. Businesses that do not consider these fundamentals at their inception, fall away from their original purpose and therefore fail.

A business plan is essential to grow a business. Success is defined differently by each person and at different stages. Understanding the challenges and opportunities presented to you need to be addressed from the beginning. Only then can you develop a clear roadmap around each ‘department’ within your business to give you the best chance of success.

It’s much easier to setup systems and create a business plan early on but it’s never too late to get back on track. At Azure, we help business owners articulate their vision into achievable steps. We provide the necessary financial support and help guide and encourage. We have recently expanded to the South West and are delighted to be partnering with Tech South West in their start-up studio programme; advising 10 companies over several weeks.

Click here to learn more about Azure and how they can help your startup thrive.