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.
<ul><li> 1. WOODBlOCX Manufacturers of a modular wooden building system used to create any garden structure you can think of </li></ul>
<p> 2. What made you want to start a business in your specific field? We have a family sawmill in the Highlands of Scotland and were looking for a product which we could manufacture, promote and sell directly to the public. We didnt really go into it with a specific target audience in mind. There are so many gardens in the UK and so many passionate about their gardens that we hoped in creating a quality product we could find our own place in the market. 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? We were lucky that the sawmill we are part of is already a well-established business so we were able to fund the start-up ourselves and share costs such as labour with the sawmill. Did you make use of start-up funding? Were you aware of the options? We were aware of grants through our local enterprise company but none of the revenue streams suited what we were doing at the time so we were on our own really. How important was researching your competitors before launching? We knew when we started that there was not an obvious competitor in the market. The closest thing to WoodBlocX is using railway sleepers which can be dirty, heavy, difficult to cut and expensive to be delivered. 4. HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON THE BEST PLATFORM FOR YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE? We wanted to sell directly so we control our customers experience. So I built a website with lots of ideas and information on and customers can find out nearly everything they need on there and other than that we are available on the phone through normal working hours. 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 is not optimised for mobiles yet but its getting more and more important. Through looking at the statistics of visitors to the site the grown in mobile and tablets has been 45% in the last 2 years. So we obviously want to make the process as simple as possible for customers to find what they are looking for. Is there enough support for new and growing SMEs? Where we are in the Highlands there does not seem to be too much networking or sharing of ideas and resources. A forum or meeting group would go a long way to helping meet other business and learning from their experiences. 5. Whats been your biggest mistake, regret, lesson or struggle? The thing that has been the biggest struggle has been trying to keep on top of all the opportunities that are coming through and making sure that we maximise the marketing potential of each one of these to help build up our brand and get us more into the public domain. Make sure you work hard but also keep your motivation high and stay fresh by making sure you look after your health and wellbeing outside of work by staying active. Whats the best piecE of business advice youve been given? 6. How has being based in a relatively rural area of the UK affected your business? Do you think being part of a local community is important for a start up? We sell all over the UK and many people find it hard to believe that we can ship our BlocX all over the country on a next day service. Being part of a local community has kept our levels of customer service really high. Living in such a relatively small community helps you realise how important word of mouth is for a company or product and we always hope to offer a really high level of customer satisfaction at the end of the day. Do you work with any other local businesses to be able to provide your customers with their final product? We work with a delivery company called Caledonian Logistics specifically their Inverness depot and without their help and amazing service we would struggle to give our customers the level of service that we are able to offer. 7. How did you find being a part of the BBCs Dragons Den and working with Peter Jones, and what one thing will you take away from the experience? Being on the Dragons Den was an amazing experience. Seeing how they put the show together was brilliant in itself. Being under the studio lights for 2-3 hours was also quite an exhilarating experience. Coming away from it at the end with a Dragon on board was a superb result and the exposure and credibility that the appearance has given to WoodBlocX has made an immeasurable difference to our company. 8. www.insight.bt.com </p>