SystemyzedFounder:?Lucy Hutchings Hunt
Employees: 7 + 5 outsourced consultants.
What made you want to start your business?“I started my digital marketing agency firstly as a sole trading business with just me alone. I started it because I had to. Initially because Ineededmoney and it fitted around being a mum of three (I could work flexibly from home).”
What challenges did you face when starting out?“The biggest challenge was dealing with naysayers and people close to me who made me feel like I was wasting my time and it would never go anywhere staying on the path when people who are close to you are trying to knock you off it is really tough. Luckily I managed to stay the course.”
Any advice for wannabe entrepreneurs?“My best advice would be to seek out varied advice from people who are experienced in business and have faced entrepreneurial challenges themselves (not from people who have only ever been employed in corporate roles or who are traditional professionals). “My experience is that people who arent running their own businesses just don’t get what it takes to be crazy enough to whether those entrepreneurial storms. “Also surround yourself with likeminded business peers. Try not to see people in your industry is competition but more as people you can collaborate with. There is enough business to go around for everyone!”
Baby Moo’sFounder: Anna-Lee Kewley
Company: Baby Moo’s
Turnover: 100k – 200k for the year
What made you want to start your business?“The business was started with just a tiny 230, which I scraped together from selling unneeded items on eBay. This was then used to import two very small batches of ready-made stock whilst I taught myself to build a website.”
What challenges did you face when starting out?
“As a single-motherof three years, I comeup against plenty of prejudice and assumptions. People are always surprised when I tell them I own my own business.”“I choose to keep my single-mother status under wraps when doing business, and as a result, found that I’ve come up against fewer obstacles in business than I in my day-to-day life. “For the first 18 months, business was slow, with not selling off my own designs but importing in others and selling them on, turning over approximately 500 – 600 a month. I realised that I needed to take the plunge into putting my designs onto paper and use my own creativity. Today, I’m looking at an expected turnover of 100 – 120k for the year.”
Founder: Richard Taylor
Company: Dusk Lighting
How did you start up your business?
“I set up my business on less than 500. When I started my online business selling domestic lighting products, it was from necessity rather than a planned business decision or career path.
“This is primarily due to a back injury which prevented me from continuing as a self-employed electrician.To begin with, I started with a computer and a few hundred pounds.
“Setting up the business from my bedroom, using freeware which was the only way that I could afford to develop the business. I had to ensure that I only used the resources I already had, to make the most out of them.”
“Making sales and cost money! It was tough in the beginning. My first order was for 70 and I had to find 200 to pay the minimum order. Also with finding a courier that would take infrequent and varying quantities.
“You must do your research and find the most economical route without compromising the customer experience and service, always evaluate and practice effective cost management.”
Advice for other wannabe founders on shoestring budget:
“Be very aware of potential threats to your business. Remember you are at your most vulnerable at this initial stage – be personable and helpful.
“Provide a great service to your customers and a positive relationship with your suppliers will pay dividends – they will remain loyal to you and will be the best ambassadors to your business.”
Lynn Ward ArtistFounder: Lynn Ward
Company: Lynn Ward Artist
What made you want to start your business?“I became self-employed in 1999 and worked on my own. I didnt need a huge investment because my main product was my time. “I worked from home, unless I was on site. I only bought materials as I needed them, to start with but soon found that the more work you do, the more you need to pay for materials in advance.”
What challenges did you face when starting out?“Being based at home was handy with no overheads, but not convenient. Lacking storage, and always had work around you. “The first few years the turnover was apx 19, 000. Once family arrived hours and income reduced, but my job allowed me to be flexible around the children which may not be ambitious but was very important to me. “More recently I have a studio that I rent so I now have regular bills to pay whether Im busy with customers or not, but also have a place customers can call in and somewhere that I can lock up and leave to go home. The drop in profit is worth having a separate special place to work. “So whilst managing without huge investment, if had a larger investment I may consider improving the studio or finding somewhere different or bigger.”
CEW CommunicationsFounder: Cathy White
Company: CEW Communications
Year founded: 2016
Employees: 4 (6 by close of 2018)
Turnover: 116, 000 (2017) – expected 240, 000+ turnover for 2018.