What Makes a Really Great Startup?
The journey of a startup can be a long one, from the initial idea to the blossoming of the whole venture. There are so many steps from start to finish and many routes to get there, so where do you begin and where can you go wrong?
We’re a growing startup so we know how difficult this journey can be. However, with the fundamental qualities in place, the journey can be made that much smoother. We’re into the New Year, so as a way of taking stock ourselves and helping any other eager startups out there, we’re taking a look at the important points that can help a startup reach the point of success.
So, what must a successful startup comprise of to reach the desired success status?
A focused and passionate founder
The driving force behind a startup is the founder, this person can set the tone for the whole startup, journey and employees. A passionate driving force such as Andrew Seymour, founder of Letproof.com, will ensure all doors are opened and all avenues are explored in the effort to find success for their startup. So founders, keep the passion alive and keep focused!
The power to disrupt their market
Does the concept have the power to disrupt the market? Is it something different enough to instil change in the market? This isn’t essential of course, but if a startup has the possibility to make a real change to the way that that market works and the passion behind it to create new norms, that can be a powerful quality, especially when looking for investment.
Building an engaging community organically
Having the support of a community, shows that you have the trust of this community, and is a great way for your startup to grow from the very beginning; with a tight-knit community gradually building and engaging with your startup, you can learn from their needs and can change as you grow in the early stages.
Encourage and Respond to feedback
Leading smoothly on from the above point, encouraging feedback from all around can be scary but is such a positive experience overall. Whether this be via social media, via your website, in person, from peers or industry experts, all feedback should be welcomed and most importantly responded to. This way, with outside views, your startup can grow and develop the way your customers and the industry requires it to
An interest in social change
Is the startup going to benefit, bring about or support social change in any way? Showing an interest in making a difference, for obvious reasons is an excellent idea. This may attract customers who would not have noticed you otherwise and speaks well for your brand as a whole. An interest in aiding something bigger than yourselves is an attractive quality to show to customers, peers and investors.
Filling a gap in the market
Finally, possibly one of the most important, does the startup fill a gap in the market? Letproof.com for example fills the gap that has appeared as landlords and tenants have become tired, frustrated and complain about the lengthy process and high costs of letting agents. This is likely how you began your startup, by identifying this gap, but keep this clear and constantly in mind as you grow.
Repairing our Housing Crisis in the UK
The housing crisis in the UK isn’t going anywhere. And who’s affected? Most of us, by rising house prices and rising rents; renters are unable to afford rising rents and letting agent fees, which are yet to be banned, and homelessness is rising at an alarming rate, with one in every 200 people homeless. (Shelter)
We have a broken housing system, we can agree; what we don’t seem to be able to do is find a solution that really works. Migration and fewer bodies per household are huge contributing factors to this, household size has almost halved over the past century (Financial Times)
This Autumn the Government has put forward £25 million to invest in the building of ‘needed’ housing in the UK, for trades to be learned and buildings to be developed; but how far will this go and does more need to be done?
A change in the whole process, experience and approach needs to be implemented.
What is being demanded of the rental sector? Foremost, transparency, from tenants and landlords, the Government have even called for ‘more transparency’ in the rental sector themselves by announcing the tenant fees ban, Letproof.com strongly believe that transparency is an essential step to aiding the housing crisis.
What else is being done to make renting more accessible in the UK? Build to let properties are underway in many cities already. With a great number, around 4.3 million, now renting in the UK, these properties will play their part in the lack of affordable housing.
Longer Term Tenancies were obviously a welcome announcement for tenants, offering more security when renting, however, the Guardian reports that the Government WhitePaper is ‘limiting longer tenancies to new, purpose-built private rented homes’ and that unfortunately ‘the government has offered renters the bare minimum’ here.
We raise the question again, ‘is this enough or should there be more done for tenants?’. We’re moving in the right direction; no fees for tenants and more rental homes being provided with some, however, restricted, longer-term tenancies offered, signifies slightly better times ahead for tenants.
Theresa May is moving away from a focus on home ownership, in line with the rising numbers of those now, for many reasons, renting in the UK.
Overall, it's clear that more needs to be done to make renting an affordable and available option for those who cannot or do not want to get on the property ladder; renters need to be provided with an accessible route to their rental properties, knowing they won’t be exploited by their letting agents. Even post ban, tenants may still feel the repercussions of agent fees, passed on through their landlords, if their fees then increase as a result.
It is a change to the process of renting as a whole that Letproof.com are working towards - join us or learn more here.
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One of the big changes coming for the private rental sector in the imminent future is the banning of letting agent fees. Andrew Turner, chief executive at Commercial Trust Limited, examines some of the implications this might have for landlords.
In the Autumn Statement, in November 2016, the Government first suggested the concept of a ban on letting agent fees, in a bid to provide a fairer, more transparent process for tenants, which would make renting more affordable.
Bringing this issue into law has at the time of writing, become a long process, with many considerations, not least of which is the implications for the landlord.
At the Conservative Party Conference in October, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid reinvigorated the discussion, announcing a number of proposed lettings regulations and stating that the proposed lettings fees ban legislation was imminent.
A month later, the Government released its draft bill, which the Department for Communities and Local Government said will help “millions” of renters.
A number of issues were raised, which are set to be debated in Parliament before passing into law.
These will potentially have an impact on buy-to-let landlords.
The key points of the proposals are as follows:
- Holding deposits will be capped at a maximum of one week’s rent;
- Security deposits will be capped at a maximum of six week’s rent;
- A protocol is to be put in place for the return of the holding deposit to a tenant;
- It will become a civil offence for any agent OR landlord to break the ban, with first-time offenders liable to incur a fine of up to £5,000;
- Any agent or landlord breaking the ban twice within a five-year timeframe will be committing a criminal offence and will be liable for a fine of up to £30,000 or criminal prosecution;
- Letting agents will not be permitted to double charge tenants and landlords for providing the same services;
- Trading Standards are set to enforce the proposed ban.
But the proposed changes go further.
In October, the Government also indicated that it intended to make it mandatory for all buy-to-let landlords to register with a redress scheme, something that already applies to all letting and estate agents.
The details remain unclear at the time of writing, but the Government objective is to create a clearer, smoother process for tenants to voice complaints about poorly managed properties, whilst also establishing a housing court where grievances can be heard and judged.
In his speech, Javid indicated that the proposals would also be aimed at improving the process and time it takes for a landlord to regain possession of a property.
The proposed letting agent fees ban could result in agents increasing the cost of their services, which it is widely felt will be passed on to landlords.
Landlords may face a quandary: Do they take a more hands-on approach to managing their properties – taking into account the extra time and potential costs this would incur, do they put up rents, or, do they swallow the bitter pill of more expenses?
Each landlord will have their own opinion, based on their individual circumstances. For those deciding to dispense with the services of letting agents, there are many things to consider:
- Sourcing tenants can be time-consuming and involves a lot of administrative work. This includes credit checking, referencing and ensuring that a prospective tenant has the legal right to rent in the UK and provides the correct documentation to evidence this. Failure to comply with the latter point can land a landlord in serious trouble.
- Checking rental payments, renewing tenancies, visiting the property and dealing with any maintenance problems or issues that may arise directly with the tenant, can all take up an enormous amount of time.
- Staying up to date with changes in the law and how these affect landlord responsibilities may take up a lot of time but will be critical to keeping the right side of the law.
Commercial Trust Limited will be monitoring what happens with great interest over the coming weeks and months as the private rental market adjusts.
Why should you be interested?
We’re revolutionising rental, we’re disrupting the outdated routes to rental and removing the letting agent altogether - less cost and less complication.
We’ve built our platform, now we’re building an app, to make it incredibly easy for landlords and tenants to come together, match, use our resources and experience a transparent, simple renting relationship.
Our next step is to make the whole simple process, even simpler for landlords and tenants on the go. Apps account for 89% of mobile media time, with the other 11% spent on websites. (Smart Insights).
We’re live on Kickstarter now and will be until the 12th of January. We’re excited to be taking the next step with Letproof.com, our user base is growing but we hope to be able to bring the game-changing Letproof.com concept to so many more via our app, first though, we need pledges.
Kickstarter has brought some real success stories, getting so many to get startups off the ground, we’re hoping we can count on support from our followers and for anyone who is being introduced to Letproof.com now, we hope you see the potential we have to really change rental for the better and want to help us reach our goal over the next month.
This is not another online agency looking to offer the same services as Rightmove, Zoopla or even Purple Bricks, we are a platform for landlords, conducting their own tenant search, and tenants, looking to find their own property and landlord, to match and communicate directly to form a rental relationship with more trust, transparency and simplicity.
If you’d like to make a pledge, small or large, we’d appreciate it very much, and the rewards available might tempt you on their own, however, if you’d just like to spread the word, tell people who you feel might love to hear about Letproof.com and our Kickstarter project, then that too would be appreciated.
Join the Future of Letting, get behind us. You can go straight to our Kickstarter page here - Kickstarter
Today saw the announcement of the 2017 budget - but what came of it for the UK’s housing crisis?
Theresa May had claimed to ‘personally’ take charge of the housing crisis, does the budget announced by her Government live up to this promise?
The housing headlines:
- Remove barriers to longer-term tenancies and encouraging landlords to offer this security for those who want it
- 28 million invested in ‘housing first’ pilots
- A Homelessness taskforce to halve homelessness by 2022 and end it by 2027
- Proposed 300, 000 new homes a year
- Stamp duty no longer to be paid by first time buyers on purchases up to £300,000 and between this and 500,000 will be charged for that over the threshold.