Aisling Teillard, Tandem HR Solutions
The Competitive Start Fund gave Tandem HR Solutions’ Aisling Teillard unrivalled access to the start-up eco-system and critical support to help her grow her business. Here, she describes why winning the Competitive Start Fund was crucial to Tandem HR’s next step.
Tandem HR Solutions provides an alternative way to manage performance in your organisations. Through feedback and coaching we support managers to become inspiring coaches that accelerate growth and development in their people.
The challenges of the first year in business
The key challenges were securing funding and attracting in early customers, however it was also more than that.
I wanted access to the start-up world, to benefit from the eco system it can offer. I was very conscious I had no experience of running a new business and I wanted to be surrounded by people who did have those knowledge and skills.
Winning the Competitive Start Fund and growth of Tandem HR Solutions
The funding was useful in helping us attend key trade shows and build sales collateral so that we could make those early sales. The real advantage was getting access to supportive people who gave good advice on how to grow the business and access further funding.
We didn’t get CSF the first time we applied but we did get very good advice on the things we needed to do, and we were encouraged to apply when we had further traction. We listened, and it was great advice that helped us move the business forward to achieve funding the second time we applied. For anyone considering applying, it sounds so simple but have your pitch well refined. While you understand why your product or business is key and fills a market gap, you need to be able to articulate that in a succinct way. Ensure you have some early proof points that your business will have commercial viability. We did an early feasibility study before we built the product and interviewed key potential customers, which helped us shape the product and provide proof that there was a market for it. Early customer wins are helpful too or at least a strong sales pipeline or route to market.
Applying in 2018
Don’t be disappointed by knock backs. If you don’t succeed the first time, it means there’s just a bit more to do before you can get it. There are a lot of knock backs in getting funded so work on your resilience, bounce back quick and believe you’ll nail it next time. When I look back at a lot of our failures, I’m so glad they happened because they invariably meant there was something much better, just around the corner.
Interested in applying for the Competitive Start Fund – All Sectors? Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply here