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We love the monthly Bristol Business Brainstorm! It offers a completely unique opportunity for early stage start-ups to share their business challenges with a room full of business owners. Collectively, Bristol’s business community tries to solve issues or contribute workable ideas that will eliminate road blocks to future business growth.

Each brainstorm follows the same winning format – three entrepreneurs are given a 20 minute slot to introduce their business and discuss a particular business challenge or area of their business they need help with. The assembled business owners then offer words of wisdom from their experiences and practical hints and top tips.

The business advice usually starts with a few hands tentatively raised and then, more often than not, there’s an ensuing full, heated debate with the entire room chipping in and ideas flying round here, there and everywhere.

There’s always a high turnout of new entrepreneurs at each event; however these meet-ups have almost a cosy, committee feeling about them, with everyone gathered to share exactly what it’s like being a business owner and offering their insight and ideas on how best to grow revenue and profits.

This month, Jason who heads up the network opted to take a slot and asked business owners what they wanted to see from Bristol Business Brainstorm as it moves into its 4th year. It’s safe to say there was no shortage of hands being raised, with plenty of interesting suggestions – from having themed business challenges to sharing business issues online for the rest of the community to tackle.

After a much needed drinks interval, the room re-grouped to hear about the second business challenge of the evening.

Grace Palmer from Novel Nights asked fellow business owners to contribute ideas and tips on ways her literary events could support novel writers through what can be a four year process from writing a novel to getting it published.

Novel Nights already has a great network of literary experts offering everything from masterclasses to reading nights for new authors to get feedback on their work.

The advice on how to expand her business varied. Some thought it should be more about packaging the expertise and selling it online in a whitepaper or book, others suggested adopting a more consumer-led approach in the form of a book club featuring only local authors.

Despite the differing advice and ideas, the business owners agreed wholeheartedly that if a business can help reduce the four-year process of getting a novel published, it’s a business worth having and supporting in Bristol.

The last entrepreneur to pitch for ideas and advice for the evening was Zaheer Ahmed, CEO of, an online feedback platform for companies looking for customer input on their products and services.

The feedback from the room was unanimous – Zaheer and his team were targeting too broad an audience and needed to hone it down to be more effective. In addition, it was pointed out that the website has no key messaging focusing on the types of people that would benefit from the product. The fact that the site’s pricing structure was listed in dollars was also something the business owners felt needed to be addressed as soon as possible.

With plenty of tips being circulated around the room on ways the product could be put in front of key groups to capture testimonials, Zaheer left the brainstorm with a sizeable list of opportunities to explore and changes to make.

Have you attended any of the Bristol Business Brainstorm events, do you have a business challenge that you want other fellow business owners to try help solve? Sign up to the members network here

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