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5 Things I Wish I Had Known: James Averdieck of Gu

Tessa Stuart

Fru-raspberry-and-blackcurrant-mini-pot

I am currently addicted to Fru's blackcurrant and raspberry mini pot, a delicious tiny fruity mousse-y confection, with the same calories as a yogurt. It cheers up my lunchtimes no end.

My thanks to James Averdieck, the founder of Gu and Fru. Here are the five things he says he wished he'd known when he started the business:

1. The importance of equity when considering funding/incentivisation. Equity is precious - don't give it away easily just because your business is worth nothing at the start. One day, if your business is successful, 1% of the business could be worth £300,000 - which puts a lot into perspective.

2. Keep a small company mentality for as long as possible. Small companies should focus on their strengths - being small, dynamic and flexible. You don't need lots of fancy expensive marketing or lots of people, and it's tempting because "experienced people" advise you to scale the business. Do as much yourself as possible for as long as possible as long as you don't get too stressed!

3. Spend a lot of time on innovation. Look out for clues in other product areas the whole time, and make links. Trust your gut instinct over research, but remember to sleep on the big decisions!

4. Leave time to have fun and relax. Remember the reasons you wanted to have your own business in the first place. I bet you it was all about freedom and independence, and not about money. So make sure you enjoy the freedom.

5. Don't waste time worrying about your exit. If someone wants to buy your business they'll approach you. Then, if you are interested, the best thing to do is to hire an agent and get an auction going.