Top tips for starting a games company

Are you thinking about starting your own games company?

In this short video Steve Cartwright shares with you some of his top tips to help get your games company off the ground.

Covered in this video:

► Start with why
► Shareholders’ agreement
► Business model canvas
► Business development
► Negotiation
► Lean startup mindset


“Start with the Why. Why are you actually starting in business? Having the technical skills is great and being persistent is another skill that I think you need but you also need a clear vision as to why you’re going into business. It’s critical, to my mind, to be successful going forward.”

Shareholders’ Agreement

“I would recommend some form of Shareholders’ Agreement. Because there’s a project team of four doesn’t necessarily mean you all have to own 25% of the shares. Give a bit of thought to what you want the company’s structure to be like. There will be potentially falling outs, therefore a Shareholders’ Agreement can actually deal with what happens when somebody wants to leave the company or the team.”

Business Model Canvas

“Get familiar with the Business Model Canvas. At the core of the Business Model Canvas, is your value proposition, or we sometimes refer to it as your Sustainable Competitive Advantage, which is what differentiates your game or your company from all the other games companies in Dundee, Scotland, in fact, the rest of the world?”

Business Development

“One of the critical skills that we think companies need are business development skills. You need to get out there, find publishers or other people who are looking for your content. They will not find you. So, you have to get out to places such as the Games Developers Conference in San Francisco and other conferences. Somebody has to do that because the phone will not ring. You need to actually go and find potential customers for your products.”


“Okay, this tip follows on from the last one. What I would say is if you’re in discussions with potential publishers or people looking to acquire your content, be prepared to negotiate. Don’t get worried about the fact that you’re dealing with much, much larger businesses that are far more established. Be prepared to negotiate. Ask the question and you might get a better deal.”

Seek Out Support

“Seek support from the games community. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that the other games companies in your locale will be more than happy to give you tips and guidance. They’ve been through the learning curve and they will offer you that support but they will only offer you that support if you go and ask for it. So again, go and seek out some mentors. You will be pleasantly surprised at the level of support you will receive.”

Lean Startup Mindset

“I would recommend you adopt a lean startup mindset and get familiar with concepts such as minimum viable product and pivot. We all know that in games company startups, resources are extremely tight. So, you need to make sure that you’re spending these resources where they’re actually going to have the greatest value. So, the lean startup mindset, to my mind, is absolutely critical.”

Any questions about starting a games company?

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The information in this video is of a general nature and seeks to highlight some of the issues which could be affecting you and/or your business, including changes to financial regulation and legislation. Viewers should not rely on this information without seeking professional advice on its application in their circumstances.