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LS Legal News Bulletin

Want to launch your own start-up in the UK one day?

Want to launch your own start-up in the UK one day?

Friday 15th July 2022
Liliya Scott & Ivan Zhiznevsky

We recently hosted a discussion between 2 very successful immigrant entrepreneurs, one of which is our Managing partner at LS Legal Solicitors, Liliya Scott. The other was Ivan Zhiznevsky, Founder and CEO at 3S Money and Female Leadership Advocate, who started from one hot desk with Barclays Fintech Accelerator and grew to 80 employees and international offices in just three years. 3s.money is a bank challenger that enables corporates to accept and manage bank transfers in foreign markets.

They discuss a variety of topics such as what motivated them to start their business, what their company culture is like and much more. You can watch the full episode here. In this blog post, we share their thoughts, experiences and top pieces of advice.

  • What are the driving forces in you becoming such successful entrepreneurs?
  • What NOT to do when starting your entrepreneurial journey in the UK.
  • The importance of PIVOTING within the business to meet your clients' needs
  • To hire locally... to not hire locally

What are the driving forces in you becoming such successful entrepreneurs?

Liliya's story:

I first moved to the UK from Ukraine in 1999. I was a student at the time, and I saw the number of opportunities available in the UK. Obviously being young and driven I decided to finish my education in the UK and qualify as a solicitor. In 2007 I qualified and since then I have been working in the legal field.

Solving problems was one of the other reasons why I became a solicitor and why I became a lawyer because I also saw the opportunity to help others with something I have dealt with - visa applications and registrations.

"We work with people & companies who have already grown and achieved something back home, however they see the opportunity here in the UK"

At the same time, I absolutely loved being a student and I love entrepreneurs' bright minds. And when I established my law practice just over nine years ago in the UK, that's exactly what I've done. We work with young people, and we work with companies that have already grown and achieved something back home, however, they see the opportunity in the UK and they want to move here.

Ivan's story:

Well, in my previous life, I used to be a journalist for BBC world service. And I decided to completely change my career during the financial crisis of 2008. Isn't it a great time for a fresh start?

And one of the problems I ran into was setting up a business in a new country. When I first came to Amsterdam, I walked into a bank branch and because I had an American passport, they could not help me open a bank account as they only service locals. That was how I understood that there was a massive banking problem for everyone who wishes to expand their business internationally. And that was the key driver for me to start solving this problem. And that's what we do at 3s money.

What NOT to do when starting your entrepreneurial journey in the UK.

Liliya's view:

I think for me, the most common mistake is that new entrepreneurs do not dream big enough. Do not think that because you are in a new jurisdiction, in the new country, you cannot reach certain goals.

"You WILL need to make some room for adjustments"

You also need to have a clear picture of what your business needs are and where you are going with them at the same time. I think it is very important to prepare yourself that you will need to make some room for adjustment. Take the opportunity to speak to someone or get legal advice regarding the structure of the business plan, and sometimes it will need to change a bit, and there is nothing wrong with that! Do not be scared.

"It is like a divorce if something goes wrong"

Lastly, what I have noticed among entrepreneurs is that the biggest mistake they make is establishing a business with a partner without a clear set of rules and structure in the form of an agreement. It is like a divorce if something goes wrong. You have got to be prepared because, at the end of the day, personal relationships and business relationships need to be separated. However, if you put everything in writing and legally you secure the contract for both parties, then everything will be absolutely fine.

Ivan's view:

I think the most common mistake is trying to be a chief cook and a bottle washer at the same time and trying to resolve everything by yourself. Sometimes you really need someone to hold your hand, especially when you are starting off in a new country you should have someone by your side that can appreciate local habits, local culture and more importantly, local legislation. Because it is very important to set everything up properly at the beginning, because otherwise when the business is successful, you just start running into problems that you do not expect.

"The most common mistake is trying to be a chief cook and a bottle washer."

I came across interesting stats the other day that shows that 35% of all SMEs based in the European Union and in the UK are thinking of expanding into a new market next year. However, 75% of them say that they see so many difficulties in doing that. Because there is different legislation, different language, and banking relationships also. These are the key obstacles that they have.


I must say when I start a meeting with a new client or new business, apart from trying to find out what their final goal is what we usually try to do is plan before you come to the UK.

The importance of PIVOTING within the business to meet your client's needs

When I created my own business, I started with just a Legal Practice. However, it was not enough because I wanted to support my clients fully. This is why we have opened a second company, which deals with their accounts and submits all the reports and keeps all the taxes in order. The third business that we have created is a business concierge service, which means that we will look at the client and we will assist them safely coming to the UK.

Sometimes it can come down to terminology, just the basic things because sometimes people find it hard to find the information. Or to know how to pay the bill, how leasing of the building works, and what are liabilities what you are signing yourself into.

At LS Legal we do research, and we help make business plans for our clients. And I think once you have got that plan, then, it makes all things easier.

To hire locally... to not hire locally

Ivan's take on it:

Speaking of working culture, I think it is very important that if you set a foot in a new market, you hire locally, and do not ship your team overseas.

Because that is how you gain an understanding of local client needs because these people are people who understand local habits, they can help you to shape the product and the offering. Sometimes it can be challenging because the legislation can be different. And hiring people without a proper understanding of how the labour laws work in the country can be challenging.

Liliya's take on it:

"I think it has to be a combined approach"

Now, with employees, I would disagree with you that you need to recruit locally. I think it has to be a combined approach because it also depends on your idea, especially if you have worked through that idea, say in your country, and now you move into the UK. It is got to be a combination because the staff here you would need to train, which means you need to spend your time, which you do not have.

Watch the full conversation via the link and check our blog for the second part where Liliya and Ivan discuss workplace culture, business regrets and the power of networking.