With Peer-2-Peer lending growing in popularity, Norman Akram realised that there was an opportunity for a company whose business model protects lenders against bad debt (most Peer-2-Peer loans are unsecured).
A well tried model already existed in the form of pawnbroking and Norman set about developing a website platform for lenders and borrowers to interact with one another, allowing loans to be secured by suitably valued goods.
Although Norman had the concept, he required partners with complimentary skills such as finance, management and marketing.
Having tried other places he turned to Company Partners and joined as a member to look for either a business partner or an Investor for his start-up.
That’s where Richard Luxmore came in. Richard had joined Company Partners as an Investor and had a background in accountancy and management, but was looking for a new and interesting challenge.
After finding each other on the site, they progressed through emails and then Norman and Richard agreed to meet up and look at how they could work together.
How did that meeting go? Well the proof is in the launch now of one of the most innovative and fast growing businesses I’ve seen for awhile; Fundingsecure.com .
There are some lessons to be had from this success.
- Do your research upfront. Norman had already gathered accurate statistics and information on competition and the market. When he met Richard, he could present the facts, not just a hopeful idea.
- Have a vision of what you want to create. Then when inevitably you have to be flexible in altering aspects of the business you can refer back to that vision to ensure you make the right changes.
- Start with a partnership heads of agreement or get something down in writing of how you will work with your business partner, but be prepared to be flexible in changing it as you discover what works.
- Build a team of good people around you, be flexible (that word again) with your infrastructure in order to maximise each person’s contribution and to accommodate those good people.
- Don’t have high fixed costs, such as premises or cars and do as much as you can yourself. Preparing some external work like web site design before the programmers start and preparing legal documents that the lawyers could then review all help precious start-up funds go further.
- For those thinking of a web based business, be aware that offshore web development may seem cheaper, but in a start-up you need to be able to sit down and talk with your developers, Fundingsecure changed from an offshore developer to a local one to ensure communications worked.
If you want to find a business partner like Norman and Richard, have a look at what Company Partners does for its members.