Grant Thornton chief executive shares his top ten tips for small business and entrepreneurs

Yorkshire businessman and chief executive of Grant Thornton, Scott Barnes, gives his top 10 tips for small businesses and entrepreneurs to get ahead…

Scott Barnes. CEO Grant Thornton. United Kingdom.
Scott Barnes, CEO, Grant Thornton


  1. It may sound obvious, but enjoy what you do – as a business owner, you’re likely to be putting in long hours, so you need to really love what you’re doing to keep yourself motivated.
  2. Identify your unique selling proposition (USP) – what makes your business different?  Carve out a niche for yourself and provide a unique offer to your clients.
  3. Don’t try to run before you can walk – planning is everything and it pays dividends to put in the ground work at the beginning to ensure you’ve got a solid base to build upon.
  4. Seeking good advice is crucial throughout your working life; as a sole trader it can be difficult to know where to turn, so use resources such as Business in You ( for business support – those who seek advice are far more likely to succeed.
  5. Networking is also key to business development.  Your local Chamber of Commerce, as well as other local business networking and entrepreneur groups, such as the York Association of Business Angels, are great places to get advice and ideas for your business.
  6. When you’re leading a company, don’t forget you’re part of a team as well as responsible for them, so remember to listen to colleagues as they’re a great source of advice which really understands your business.
  7. Develop and maintain an honest and transparent relationship with your funding partners. This will help put you in a better position if you hit a rough patch, particularly in the early stages.
  8. Be prepared to take a risk in business, but make sure it’s a calculated risk, to ensure the end rewards are worth it.
  9. Learn how to say no!  It’s easy to say yes to everything, but make sure what you’re agreeing to do can be fulfilled and ask yourself whether it will benefit your business.
  10. And finally, don’t forget to make time for yourself – not only to relax, but also to take a step back and consider the bigger picture.

Grant Thornton is a champion of the Government’s ’Business In You’ campaign, a partnership between private enterprise and Government to support start-ups and growing businesses by offering practical business help, advice, and resources, and inspiring them by showcasing successful British businesses. Find out more at:

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