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Don’t get caught up with Shoreditch’s sexy tech scene

Shoreditch: home of fixie bikes, people wearing thick-rimmed black glasses and London’s ‘hottest’ startups.

For many it is the place to be and to be seen. There is an air of glamour about it.

But my fear is that some are being swept away with the Shoreditch tech ‘scene’ and are losing sight of what they originally set out to do: build a successful business.

Always prioritise your product

Networking events are a fantastic way to meet like-minded people.

This startup game is hard work and can be lonely at times. Sharing stories and ideas over a beer can be a good way to release the stress.

Meeting like-minded people is the primary purpose for these events. People should not attend them in the hope that they will meet that one person that will propel their business forward.

This is an old school way of thinking and places far too much emphasis on a random encounter to boost business.

These days you are only as good as the product you produce. If you focus on building that then the rest will naturally follow.

Focus on making money from day one

One of the biggest reasons that start-ups fail is that they run out of money. Call me old fashioned but the purpose of most commercial businesses is to make money.

This means you have to charge from day one.

It sounds obvious but it is a point that often gets sidelined in favour of building some sexy app or technology that will ‘surely make money someday’.

Our first product failed, which means we learned this lesson the hard way. Now we focus on building a product that solves a problem to the extent that customers will pay for it.

You have to make your product commercially viable before embarking on anything else.

Remember there is life beyond Shoreditch

There are some great co-working spaces for start-ups but as soon as you get to the point where you need to create a company culture and have an office of your own then the space can get expensive.

Other parts of London are offering some great deals on offices so make sure you look around. Don’t just follow the crowd. Hassle started off in Shoreditch but is now based in Vauxhall because the space and business rates are more affordable.

It is also good to remember that achieving success in the UK constitutes a lot more than getting people in Shoreditch to use your product or service.

Major cities in the UK such as Manchester, Edinburgh and Cardiff often get neglected but offer great opportunity for startups.

So the moral of the story: focus 100% on building something of value. If you get this right, the customers, reputation and attention you want and deserve will come. People will remember you for what you’ve achieved not where you are, what you say and what glasses you wear.

Alex Depledge is founder of Hassle and one of the Tech City News Elevator Pitchers.

Image Credit: danisabella, Flickr