BT Business recently commissioned a number of case studies on successful start-ups from across the country, in order to give budding entrepreneurs a valuable insight into the world of business start-ups. For more case studies and further information on this topic check out www.insight.bt.com.
1. insert coin limited Produces and sells unique videogame-inspired clothing and accessories, all via their website.
2. What made you want to start a business in your specific field? Insert Coin started because we were disappointed with the uninspiring videogame merchandise available it was poor quality and little more than glorified advertising, rather than something that celebrated the gaming experience. We quickly identified that there was an untapped market available with gamers crying out for great videogame-inspired apparel to add to their wardrobes. Was your business influenced by identifying an untapped target audience or did you always have your specific field in mind? 3. How did you finance your start-up? The start up of Insert Coin was funded with our own money as we were confident that we would be able to start the ball rolling and quickly become self-sustaining. Did you make use of start-up funding? Were you aware of the options? Although we knew of funding options that were available, we wanted our business to be entirely self-funded under our own steam, so to speak. How important was researching your competitors before launching? It was the poor showing of other companies that inspired us initially and we continued to thoroughly research other companies - both within our niche and wider retail markets further hone and focus our offering. 4. HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON THE BEST PLATFORM FOR YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE? We always knew that we would be focused on online sales. Its the ideal place to tie in with the target market of gamers, who find out the latest news and discuss it with friends on forums and through social media. Do you have a website optimised for mobiles and/or tablets? How important do you think it is for businesses to have this? Our website isnt so much optimised for mobile devices, but simplified to work well on all systems. Were very much of the belief of keeping things nice and simple it makes life so much easier in the long run. Is there enough support for new and growing SMEs? Theres definitely good support in place for growing SMEs but there can always be more to help successful businesses to grow and thrive. 5. Whats been your biggest mistake, regret, lesson or struggle? The biggest challenge to any online business is to maintain momentum and keep people interested in what youre working on. Its a constant stream of information on the internet and we work tirelessly to make sure our messages are heard and reach the right people. By keeping abreast of the latest issues and maintaining a constant flow of information, we always aim to keep interacting with our community. The key thing for any business is know your audience. It is the single most important thing for success and can never be underestimated. Whats the best piecE of business advice youve been given? 6. How important do you feel that your partnerships with publishers/developers have been to your success? Its been so important to us to develop great working relationships with key people within the industry. It has helped us to build on our reputation and spread the word about our products even further. Our work with publishers in particular has helped to add gravity to our designs and reach the fanbase for the games we represent. Did you have a specific strategy to help grow your business when you first launched? If so, what did you feel worked and what didnt work? The main focus of our business model was to ensure that we had as much as possible in place before we launched. With a strong foundation in place, we then concentrated on pushing our messages out through all available channels, including social media, which we found to be especially useful in taking our products even further. 7. Do you feel that its important for a businesss strategy to react to their target audience, and if so, how does Insert Coin do this? Absolutely! Its the most important part of any small business to keep your audience in mind at all times. We listen to what games our community want to see on our products and then we can start working towards producing them as appropriate. We also keep an eye on wider trends to help shape and mould our ranges for the future. Where do you see the future of clothing/apparel retail in the next 5 years with the advancement of new technology? Technology is continually helping us to reach more and more people. In the future, we want to be able to spread our message even further, while giving people the opportunity to get an even better up close and personal look at our new products as soon as theyre revealed. 8. www.insight.bt.com