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Tim 04 Apr 2012

Business Gems: Elizabeth Varley, TechHub – The Importance of People

By Tim in Business

In a new monthly series, we find out from successful entrepreneurs and business leaders what they found the biggest hurdle to success was.

In this first interview we spoke to Elizabeth Varley, co-founder of Shoreditch-based TechHub a community, a workspace and inspiration helping incubate technology start-ups  in London and now further afield since the opening of the Riga, Latvia TechHub. This is her Business Gem:

What was the biggest hurdle you faced as a would be entrepreneur?

“I think finding the right people. That goes for hiring and for suppliers. Finding great suppliers is surprisingly difficult. Those that do what they say they will do, that are committed to getting things done is really hard to do. It is also really hard to find great people to be on your staff, particularly when you are a start-up and you can’t pay them the salaries they might be able to get elsewhere in a much bigger company.
The advantage is that when you find somebody who is great and wants to work with you as a start-up, they usually understand what that means and if they show they are committed in a start-up, then they will always been[that shows they're seriously] committed.”

“It’s always hard and there will always be ups and downs. We’ve had our problems and had to deal with staff who we’ve had to let go. That’s always so hard when you are part of a small team because you are very much like a family.  If somebody isn’t working out, it is really tough to tell them that, and you often give them longer than you should to turn it around. We have the advantage now of having a team full of superstars. As a start-up you can’t afford to be carrying somebody.

“Not being able to pay the salaries you’d like to, that’s harder than having no money yourself. You can always sort out what you can and can’t do on your own with limited resources but getting the right people to support and grow your business, especially on a limited salary budget, is a real challenge.”

Find out more about TechHub here.

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