Tell us how #SBS has affected your business, nothing so far its early days, we were only picked as a winner 2 days ago so i will up date this at a further time.
I left school in 1986 and went on a YTS scheme to do joinery work, i left the YTS scheme after 1 year and then got a job with a guy in the next street who was a carpet fitter, brilliant no more bus fairs any more and an extra £10 per week to. I worked with a few carpet companies over the next couple of years until i started working for my self fitting carpets in 1989 aged 19 with a cheap van which cost £200 and of i went into the ups and downs world of business.
I built up the business supplying and fitting carpets and vinyls for many years until in 1998 i decided to sell blinds as well locally along with the carpets i was then supplying and fitting blinds as well, but wanted to break out doing something nationally, so i decided to place a small add in the back of the News of the World on a Sunday offering 3 vertical blinds for £99 and for the customers to call for samples and an order form so it was a mail order type service i was trying to set up, customers were calling but i felt after 3 weeks i could do with a website so the customers can view the products and fill in an online form, so i knew nothing about the internet at this time and reached out for a copy of the Yellow Pages in search of a local web developer.
Well i struck lucky by finding a really good one and while looking round on Google at different websites selling blinds, i noticed some of them had the option to get a price by the customer entering their measurements and being able to buy online and also order a free sample, well this is just what i need, but i was told for a web site like this it would be about £20,000 well out of my budget. To my luck the web developer i found said he could build me a site like this for £3,000 to start me off, and he did and he loaded all the products up to get us going.
When www.wilsonsblinds.co.uk went live it was then a case of how do i get traffic to the site, so i decided to try this Google Pay Per Click i had heard off, i put a budget of £10 per day in with no idea what i was doing just got stuck in and 2 days later an order come in for a wooden venetian blind along with a few sample requests from other customers to, well i was jumping up and down on the bed as we had a desk in the corner of our bedroom, complete with phone and computer, i shouted down to my partner Jennifer come and look at this yahooooooooo. People really do measure and fit their own blinds. We progressed with the business through tough times also bringing up 3 children as well, it was really busy times for us both.
Its been a brilliant experience and there is always lots to learn, since getting Wilsons Blinds going.
At the moment we are concentrating mainly on growing Wilsons Blinds as we see great potential for growth from 2015 with our projected 5 year plan.
My tips would be,
Don't be scared to make mistakes as you will learn off them.
Don't be afraid to fail as you will learn off failure.
Be honest with people to earn your trust.
Never give up, if things are not working out, have your cry at night, but wake up and be ready for a new day.
If you are having a website built make sure you agree with the web developer or company who is building your website that, you will own the Intellectual Property to all of the code and the design and that this will be installed on your own server, i use Rack Space and they are excellent, also make sure you own the domain name and apply to have your name Trademarked.
I made the mistake above of not securing the Intellectual Property to Wilsons Blinds and Keleeys Blinds websites and someone had control of my business and started to charge stupid prices, i then wanted to go else where but they would not release the code to me, Big Big Mistake they wanted £6,000 more to hand over my sites to me which i had already paid £10,000 for, so i told them to stick it as no one black mails me, i went and got the sites re built from another company for £13,000 better than handing over £6,000 to some con men don't you think. i was just starting out and had no idea about this and this is common and thats why i want to bring it to everyones attention in case anyone sees this and is thinking of having a website built. Don't fall into the above trap when starting out like i did.