Technology: Where imagination is the biggest border businesses must cross

Much has been said about the blurring of borders in the turmoil of Brexit Britain. What’s been unleashed might be described, at best, as inter-racial unrest. But for business, the uncertainty, angst and anger overlooks a world where borders matter much less, which could be a fertile hunting ground for start up businesses. Solo Expenses founder Sunita Nigam offers her personal view in this blog…

When life gives you lemons, they say, you should make lemonade. Or a gin and tonic. Or, if you really want to push the boat out, a tarté au citron. It doesn’t matter what, but you should make something, or the lemons will shrivel and be good for nothing but the bin.
And so it is with opportunities, in life or in business. In early June I was asked to comment on which part of Europe was the best place to launch a startup business. At the time I said Poland, as you can read here, where I explain what was behind my decision.

And then the UK said ‘no’ to the EU on June 23rd. (It was something of an echo of what Charles de Gaulle famously said when the UK wanted to join in the first place, but that’s another story). The ‘no’ vote cast a shadow of uncertainty over what I’d said earlier in the month, and that made me ask myself if my answer was still valid.

The waiting game
To be honest, it may well still be, but we won’t know that until there’s a clearer picture of the relationship between the UK and the EU, which is some way down the line, because the Prime Minister Mrs May says it’s unlikely we’ll start the exit process this year.

But can anyone wishing to start a business sit around waiting for politicians to unravel such a legislative tangle? Of course not. Time’s money, and is not to be squandered, which is why you should embrace 21st-century information technology as your friend.

All of which assumes that you’re actually in the UK, but because this is the Internet there’s no reason why you should be. But that serves merely to underline my point. It doesn’t matter where you are, or you have the right kind of business, technology can take it wherever you want it to go.

Solo Expenses: The perfect example
My money management app Solo Expenses is the perfect example. We have customers in 90 countries, and the only border we now have to content with is in potential client’s minds, and involves convincing them that a simple smartphone app can help them make the best use of the personal and business money, no matter where they live; nor if they’re a private individual, an SME or a corporate employing thousands. We have a solution for them all. Our company network has people in the UK, India, America, Canada and Singapore. We interact virtually, crossing space and time. It’s easy, if you can believe it to be possible.

A closed door is an opening
So my message is this: Every closed door has the potential to be another opening, if you’ll let it. Our regular blogger Stuart Pearcey told me the story of the delayed train making a young man late for an exam, success in which would let him join the Royal Air Force. As a result he turned his back on a career in the forces, and went on to become a much-loved and effective teacher, a profession in which he excelled for much f his working life. A few minutes’ delay created a crossroads in his lifetime that made his lifetime different.

I’d urge anyone standing at their own personal crossroads today, thinking of launching a business, to control what can be controlled, and devise a business in which technology is your servant. That way, the best place in Europe to create a startup is where you’re sitting right now, no matter where it is, so long as you have a robust Internet connection, a sound business idea and heaps of determination. Every skill your enterprise needs can be reached through your keyboard; every obstacle can be overcome, if you believe it can. What’s your big idea for the handful of lemons you’ve been given by the UK’s ‘no’ vote? Do you believe in it enough to make it happen?

Zuckerberg believed when he created Facebook; Omidyar believed when he created eBay; Kalanick and Camp believed it to create Uber, and I believed it to create Solo Expenses. Now it’s your turn.