Starting a business in the UK recession

As part of our drive to blog more about Bytewire (our company) and what its entailed so far, we’ve decided to write a series of articles (blogs) about how we started our business during a recession in the UK.

When Elliot and I graduated from university just over 3 years ago now, we made a difficult decision to start our own business. We decided against jumping straight into scowering the jobs market and give shaping our own future a shot. Three years later we’re still here doing the things we wanted to be doing when we first started and doing them with passion and satisfaction. All be it alot differently from the ways we had envisioned when we first set out, but none the less were still here.

When we started our business we never would have imagined that only a few months later our country would be hit by the biggest recession in 50 years. If we had known perhaps we might have choose against starting a business? Or would we? Some of you might be thinking right now, well if you had known then you wouldn’t have started up. Wrong. A recession for a new start up is an opportunity, at least it is in my opinion. I strongly believe a recession drives innovation and innovation drives business and human advancement.

So what persuaded us that we could make it despite the recession? Simple really, we’re 100% confident that we can offer an excellent service at an excellent price. Be it through serving the direct needs of our client base or through the innovative and fun applications and games we build, we will always aim to make sure our end product is of the highest quality. And simply we firmly believe that we offer an invaluable service to any business that is expanding onto the web or consolidating there existing presence or image.

But, what would an article about starting up during the recession be without us revealing a bit more about the process of starting up business. So here it goes;

We’re just going to run through a few key things we feel are of particular importance from our own personal experience of starting a business.

Company Name

One thing you will most likely need to consider is your business name. For us this took quite sometime, until it was my own mother which suggested something which led us down the line of ‘Byte’ referring to the computer measurement of size known as a byte, or more commonly to most people ‘gigabyte’ or ‘megabyte’ which is of course a measurement for many bytes. We felt this referenced our techy savvy in a great way. Then came the ‘wire’ which we derived from the method of delivering the media we create, through the ‘wire’. Put together finally forming ‘Bytewire’ our beloved new company name. A good name is important, but its only as important as you wish to make it, names don’t necessarily need to mean anything like ours, but whatever you choose in the end make sure its something your proud of and have given some considerable thought too. Make sure in the very end that whatever the name, you want to make it work and your proud to work under it.

Decide on services (make sure you stay focused here)

Firstly decide what it is your going to offer, this might seem silly since at the point of starting your business, your most likely going to know what it is your going to want to set up and do. But I think from personal experience deciding on EXACTLY what it is your going to offer your clients from the offset and how that compliments your skillset or niche is very important.

Strategy for winning business

Now this is something we generally consider as a weakness of most businesses, including sometimes our own, especially in the line of work that we are in and given that we and most others in our position are still only a relatively small company. One thing we all tend to forget whilst we are hard at work making our super cool new applications or serving our existing customer base, IS, how can we raise our profile, gain more customers or win new business? And i’ll be the first to admit this is not easy to do, but again one bit of advise that we can pass onto other business owners or new start ups, is that its a must. Don’t forget that you might be making the best thing in the world, but if no one knows about it then its as good as nothing.

How? Why? Where? Who?

I always think its great to ask yourself the basic questions, i.e. how am I going to complete the tasks given to me by clients, or how am I going to win new clients etc. I also think its so important for you to be able to ask yourself WHY? All of the best entrepreneurs out there will be driven by more than just making a quick buck, so you need to have something close to your heart that you believe in that will help drive you forward and separate your service from the rest out there. Perhaps this might be that you have a talent and a passion for web design and development of applications, perhaps you love creativity. Whatever it may be, try to identify it before you jump into any of the nitty gritty, I promise it will help you remain focused as the weeks/months/years go on. Where and Who? These two pointers tend to tie quite well into one another and this is always interesting as its quite hard to scope this in the right way, however to answer this I think you need to be thinking, where is my target audience? Is it global? Is it the UK? Is it people aged 18+ in the UK? Perhaps its far more targeted than that? Perhaps its web app developers in Essex. Whatever it may be, its always great to target and segment your target audience / audiences.

USP (Unique Selling Point)

The above paragraph leads me onto USP in such a great way, I think this of all things is of the utmost of importance to any new business owner to consider with real thought before starting up business. What is it that you are going to offer? And how is that better than what someone else can offer? Or how is your service superior to others. It only takes one glance around the mobile phone industry to realise that all of the shops invariably sell phones, with similar plans and packages. But what makes some of them more successful than the others? Service. Quite simply some people would even be willing to pay a premium for a slightly enhanced service, and the same can be applied to most industries. So whats your unique selling point?

Capital

As the last thing i’m going to cover in this article is Capital and how it can often be given more importance by someone wanting to start there own business than it needs to be. Alot of people moving to start there own business will be switching from another job and taking the leap to have a go at being there own boss. Maybe you’ve managed to save a few months wages as backup, if you have then excellent. But from experience, you don’t necessarily need huge investment nor do you need a huge bank loan to get going. Scrounge around friends and family for useful bits and pieces, grow your dream from the roots upwards, it will be far more rewarding and probably less stressful. We started our business with nothing but one project we had started before we decided to make a big leap. Its been hard work, but thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding at the same time.

Time

The last thing I think is important is the time aspect of setting up a business and getting everything in place, it can take a while. But I recommend not rushing it, and to have your whole business plan in drawn out before you rush into anything. Even if its just for you to reference back to at a later date. Give your business time to grow, if you still like the business idea a month after you scribble it down and you’ve not made any drastic changes to it in that month then i’d say it sounds like a concrete idea.  I also recommend giving your business the time to grow in your first year, don’t rush anything, just reflect alot on what your experiences lead to and how that could be improved. Nothing comes totally perfect overnight, give your business time to grow and don’t take on too much of a burden too early.

I recommend you do all these things before you start your own business, some of the points also point to periods during early start up but generally this article covers areas to consider before starting your own business. Hopefully it will be of use to other like minded people. This is the first in a series of articles we are going to write which are likely to get increasingly more technical. We’re also going to add to the articles to build them into a more comprehensive guide as time goes by. If you have any suggestions, drop us a comment below.


Blog written by Dave

I am one of the Directors of Bytewire and I like to blog about lots of different and interesting stuff surrounding the website design and development world.


2 comments so far

  1. Yetta Biddiscombe
    January 4, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    I was just thinking about that, hmm interesting hmm. Well thanks for the post really handy, to me anyway.

  2. Paul Maunders
    January 12, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    You should also consider attending some networking events where you can meet other local entrepreneurs, as this will help you build contacts that may then lead to new business.


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