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UPSTART May 2012 jomec.co.uk/upstart
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on the cover
UpStart awards Get rewarded for your hard work by becoming an UpStart award winner It’s a family affair Kissing Gate Video’s Kate and Ben are starting the family business young Be-spoke business From unemployement to the ideal job: The Bicycle Doctor will see you now HTML illiterate? Website building for dummies
Slideways thinking: Google offices, page 32
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10 11 21
News The latest developments affecting you and your business Events The pick of May’s business building occasions Buzzwords Banish business speak with our jargon buster
On the up Young entrepreneur Amy Brooks is looking to make a mark on visual education Tantrums and tiaras Ashley Smith of Ella Dror PR on how to keep a thick skin in fashion PR Print lives Free magazines bringing profit into a dying idustry
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32 32 33 33
Email exposure Mo Mostafa shows you how to turn the spotlight on your business Business nitty gritty Prince’s Trust mentor Teresa McTeague shows you why it pays to keep an eye on the details Business cards Fonts have never been so important
Google playground Where work is all fun and games Call to arms Scott Goodson’s book will change the way you think about marketing Screen time The Apprentice: the real face of UK business? App happy The best apps to provide a welcome distraction
Subscribe now and pay only £1.80 an issue Call 0844 770 0404 and quote US104 Pick me! The Apprentice is back, page 33
We asked issue three’s create team...
What gets you up in the morning?
JO PRICE “Racing to the shower before the hot water runs out.”
“Only vast amounts of coffee and a cold shower can pull me out of my morning comatose state.”
FROM THE TEAM
Balancing work and home life is not easy, and it can be even harder to separate if you are working with family members. However, if you can pull it off, having a family business can be extremely satisfying. Similarly, running your own company can give you the flexibility you need to spend more quality time with loved ones. This month, our cover story features a young couple who have set up a wedding cinematography company alongside starting a family. UpStart’s Chris Smith chats to them about the rewards, challenges and opportunities running a family business can create. They also offer their tips for making your startup a success. Check it out on page 14. On page 20, Jo Price talks to young father and entrepreneur Jamie Rowland who, helped by money awarded to him by the Prince’s Trust, has turned his passion for bikes into a business by setting up a bicycle shop and an extreme sportswear brand. Jamie explains exactly how he proved everyone who doubted he could start a business wrong.
“Five alarms, three Weetabix Over on UpStart TV, you can watch our latest behind and a cup of the scenes footage on how Upstart is made, as well as tea.”
DARREN WEE “My mum””
videos and interviews with entrepreneurs, this month including Plastik Magazine founder Marc Thomas. Find it all at jomec.co.uk/upstart. You can also follow our production blog on our website and join our newly created Facebook group by typing UpStart magazine into Facebook.
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UpStart is also online! Packed with news, great articles, videos and links
The UpStart team Issue Three EDITORIAL TEAM James Gill Amy Hall Charlotte Kelloway Carys King Emma Powell DESIGN TEAM Emily Bater Michael Brown Carys Cross Aneira Davies Lucy Douglas Cover image: Frankie Griffiths
4 | UpStart
Watch our interview with Plastik Magazine founder Marc Thomas after he popped in for a chat with Upstart TV.
Is your business a cut above the rest? Become an UPSTART award winner Are you innovative and dedicated with a promising future? Is your startup more creative, green or tech savvy than any others you know? Do you have a great business idea that nobody else has thought of? If the answer’s yes, we want to hear from you. Join us for the UpStart Awards 2012 at City Hall, Cardiff on 30 September 2012
• Best Creative Startup
• Startup Website of the Year
• Best Green Startup
• Best Marketing Campaign
• Best Tech Startup
• Young Entrepreneur of the Year
• Freelancer of the Year
• Startup Woman of the Year
UpStart Startup of the Year Businesses can enter themselves or be nominated by their clients. Application forms are available at jomec.co.uk/upstart. Entries close 14 July 2012
£10,000 to be won
of businesses have boosted sales with social media
in brief startups could face £190 billion shortfall
Photo: Green Viking
Britain hopes to moo-ve ahead by supporting rural entrepreneurs
In the country: Grants for rural entrepreneurs Initiative aims to unlock the potential of rural businesses
he government has launched a £60 million grant scheme for rural businesses of all sizes. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is offering Rural Economy Grants of between £25000 and £1 million. The scheme aims to stimulate growth in the various business areas of farming, including micro-enterprise. The initiative could provide financial support for rural businesses worth as much as 40% of the cost of their projects. DEFRA hopes this will strengthen farming enterprise and encourage businesses to expand. The scheme will prioritise support for
small businesses in Rural Growth Networks. These areas are included in the government’s pilot project aimed at helping rural districts overcome barriers to growth, such as poor infrastructure. Environment secretary Caroline Spelman said, “Our £60 million investment will give farmers and rural entrepreneurs life-changing opportunities to transform their business prospects for the long term. It’s part of a £165 million package of initiatives to unlock the economic potential of our rural areas, which have been overlooked for too long.” Interested in applying? Find out more at rdpenetwork.defra.gov.uk
Small businesses will have to bridge a funding gap of £191 billion in five years if alternative finances are not found, according to a new government report. The report found that there will be a shortfall of between £84 and £191 billion over the next five years if banks continue to refuse loans to small businesses.
UK economy to grow faster than forecast The UK economy will grow faster this year than previously estimated, according to an independent body. The Office for Budget Responsibility predicts growth of 0.8%, marginally more than its previous estimate of 0.7%. It also forecasts growth of 2% in 2013. Britain’s economy shrank 0.2% in the fourth quarter of last year.
UpStart’s pick of this month’s top business events from around the UK Organising an event? Tell us about it on email@example.com
Getting ready to export, £10 Sat 19 May 6pm - 9pm Bagenal’s Castle, Lakeview Road, Craigavon, NI www.banbridge.com
Business Startup 2012, Free Thurs - Fri, 17 - 18 May Excel Centre, London www.bstartup.com Digital Shoreditch 2012, price tba Two-week event Mon - Sat, 21 May - 1 June Shoreditch area, London digitalshoreditch.com
Social Marketing & User Generated Content, Free Thurs 3 May O2 Workshop, 229 Tottenham Court Road, London www.eggheaddesign.co.uk/events/social-marketing Free Modern Life Skills Event, Free Tues 1 May Cotswold Conference Centre, Farncombe Estate, Broadway cotswoldconferencecentre.com/event/modern-life-skills
6 | UpStart
items are shared per day by Facebook users
of people on social networks follow a particular brand. Shouldn’t one be yours?
Confidence up among small businesses Things are on the up for startup businesses
But why does it matter? It’s encouraging to hear that there is an improvement in the outlook for small businesses against a backdrop of challenges in these difficult financial times. The overall picture is in positive territory and has drawn attention to the obstacles that small businesses face to remain profitable. It comes as no surprise that the heavy levy on fuel costs is the biggest strain on small businesses, perhaps making the prospect of going green even more appealing. For green tips that will slash your business expenditure visit jomec.co.uk/upstart. 2012 is the year small businesses regain confidence, according to the FSB
ducks in a row – noun
Meaning to organise things well and ensure all of the small details of a task are accounted for. What happens if the ducks aren’t happy to sit in a row; a duck may fancy a quick swim, a dive for algae. Ducks aren’t comfortable with the regimented structure of a row, they hang out in pairs. When was the last time you saw a pair of ducks in a row?
cascading – verb
The word usually evokes images of a waterfall deep in a forest, water cascading down the face of a cliff. In the business world, the word is slightly less romantic; it means the passing of information, usually downwards.
360° thinking – verb Photo: IlinguaManchester
mall business owners are feeling more confident, according to a new report. The Federation of Small Businesses’s (FSB) recent report Voice of Small Businesses found confidence is up among small businesses despite rising overheads and difficulty accessing loans. The FSB surveyed 3000 small business owners and one third said they were looking to increase their capital investment plans. Two thirds of respondents said the current economic climate was their main cause for concern, while 60% named rising fuel prices and 41% said they had been refused loans. National chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses John Walker said, “It is a testament to the hard work and determination of the UK’s small businesses that, in the face of rising costs and falling demand, they are still more confident about the year ahead. “The government must bolster this confidence by doing everything in its power to remove the barriers to growth which our members have highlighted. That means taking action against rising energy and regulatory costs. It means looking at the proposals the FSB has put forward to give small businesses realistic alternatives to bank finance.”
that you love to hate
You spin me right round baby right round. Unfortunately this kind of thought doesn’t involve spinning around on your office chair until you’re struck with inspiration or nausea (whichever comes first). 360° degree thinking is a circular form of thought, through which you approach your problems from every angle possible. Still confused? So are we. We’ll continue pondering over this one while spinning around on our chair.
Small businesses waste £7 billion in unnecessary taxes
Could your business save £1600 in taxes this year?
Tax is complicated at the best of times, but for busy business owners it can be a nightmare
Small businesses risk wasting £7 billion in unnecessary taxes this year, according to a new report. The personal finance website Unbiased found small businesses risk wasting £7 billion in unnecessary taxes in 2012 because they do not understand the tax system. That’s about £1600 each. Sole traders and partnerships that do not incorporate their business (make them limited companies) risk wasting £4.2 billion. Around 1.3 million small businesses could save money by changing their legal status. Sole traders and partnerships pay income tax of up to 50% on profits, whereas incorporated companies pay corporation tax, usually 20% for small businesses. Small businesses could save another
£2 billion on hiring self-employed contractors because they do not need to pay national insurance contributions or holiday or sick pay, and another £400 million on research and development tax relief. However, only 12% of eligible businesses claim it. Chief executive of unbiased.co.uk Karen Barrett said, “The majority of this waste is down to businesses failing to understand what George Osborne calls the ‘spaghetti bowl’ of the UK tax relief system. “Tax is a vast and complex subject and business owners often simply do not have the time to manage their tax affairs or understand the allowances available to them whilst also running their business day to day.” Find out how you could save thousands in tax at unbiased.co.uk
more pages indexed by Google in 2011 from businesses that blogged
of customers expect businesses to be active on social media
Will the CBD make Cardiff a better home for business?
New development hopes to help Wales out yes of recession Ian Price, Assistant Director, CBI Wales
Startup World hope to discover the next Steve Jobs
If plans for the Central Business District are realised, businesses small and large across Wales could benefit
hen plans for the Central Business District (CBD) were announced in March last year, many hoped the new development would be the first step in turning Cardiff into a future financial powerhouse. But the development was recently dealt a major blow when one of the investors, Legal & General, pulled out. Legal & General’s 230,000 sqft office block was to be the anchor for the development. A new tenant is yet to be secured, but speculation has pointed to investment from a property developer. The plan is for the CBD to attract more blue chip companies to the city; to deliver around four million square feet of office space, to build an International Conference and Convention Centre which will boost the economy by £46m each year; and create a new gateway to the city.
Cardiff Council Leader Rodney Berman said, “These are exciting times for the city. In the current economic climate our ambitious plans for a Central Business District for Cardiff are needed more than ever, and will firmly establish us as an economic driver for the city region and a powerhouse for the Welsh economy.” The jury is still out on whether the development will ever be realised; the plan is ambitious, and many argue that the infrastructure to support it isn’t in place. But why does it matter? The CBD could bring new major investment to Cardiff, making the city a more attractive prospect for small and large businesses alike. Wales relies heavily on Cardiff to provide business revenue, and the CBD could help Wales prosper and bring it out of the recession.
Women on top
“In principle the development is wonderful. There’s no denying that Cardiff and the Valleys have the people to provide the skilled individuals that will be needed, but it’s not just about people - it’s about the whole package; the proposition, the support Welsh Government will give, the environment, the infrastructure. It’s so important for the city and for the city region, because if the CBD is a success it’s not just Cardiff that will benefit. It’s key to getting Wales out of the recession.”
Russell Goodway, Labour finance spokesman “The CBD is pie in the sky - I don’t know any informed commentator who believes that you can bring it on stream at this time. There is speculative development going on by people who have shown confidence in Cardiff, and this project could undermine that. One thing I would like to see happen in coming years is the creation of a business network, which includes every business in Cardiff looking at their business models in terms of public sector contracts. Are we doing enough with businesses in Cardiff to ensure those opportunities are there?”
Women boardroom members are on the up
Percentage of females in the boardroom is on the rise
8 | UpStart
But why does it matter? As more women than ever before are launching their own business it’s reassuring to know that this issue is being taken seriously, and that the national and European community is supporting the bid for representation in the boardroom. It doesn’t matter whether it is a FTSE 100 company or a small startup, the figures show that the EU is heading in the right direction. Visit jomec.co.uk/upstart to read more about successful women and their startups.
he number of women on the main board of the UK’s 100 largest listed companies has risen over the past year to a record 15.6%. This compares with 12.5% last March, according to the Cranfield School of Management. This remains short of the government target of 25% female directors in FTSE 100 companies by 2015. If companies fail to met this they may face government intervention. The European Union has also threatened to legislate on the issue.
techformation Wireless internet in London Underground
Yahoo! launches small business portal
irigin Media has won the contract to provide wireless internet on the London Underground. Passengers will be able to access the internet on wireless devices in tube stations from July. It will be free until the Olympic and Paralympic games end, when it will become pay-as-you-go. The service will be available at ticket offices and on escalators and platforms. Virgin Media mobile and broadband customers will be offered continued internet access in their subscription packages, and even non-payers will be able to access a basic travel information site. “Every Wi-Fi station you pass through is going to give you the chance to stay connected, by quickly updating Facebook, Twitter or email,” Virgin Media’s director of wireless, Kevin Baughan, told the BBC. You won’t miss your connection with Wi-Fi on the Internet access will be available in 80 London Underground stations by the summer and in 120 by 2013.
ahoo! has launched a web portal for small business owners with personalised news, advice and tools. The US-based website launched last week and features famous entrepreneurs, including celebrity chef Ming Tsai.
“How do you weigh an elephant without any scales?” A question asked at a Google job interview. William Poundstone examines the tech giant’s notoriously tricky job interviews in his new book, Are you smart enough to work at Google?
Apple releases third generation iPad
pple has released the third edition of its iPad. Priced between £399 and £659, the new tablet computer has a faster processor and sharper screen, as well as an improved camera. Apple has sold over 55 million iPads since 2010 and has a 60% share of the tablet market.
UK cities compete for ultra-fast broadband
en UK cities will compete for a share of a new £100 million “super connected cities” subsidy. The fund was outlined by Chancellor George Osbourne as part of the new budget. It aims to ensure universal access to 100 Megabit per second internet links in areas private internet providers are unlikely to invest in.
UpStart checks out the competition
in focus: card readers PayPal launches credit card reader
Google Wallet Launched in September, Google Wallet is a mobile app that stores credit card information and uses near field technology to make secure payments fast and convenient by simply tapping the phone on any PayPassenabled terminal at checkout. A UK release is planned this summer.
ayPal is to launch its first mobile credit card reader in the UK. PayPal Here is a mobile credit card reader that lets you accept card payments on a smartphone. The technology is available in the US, and was the first to launch outside America. It is also available in Hong Kong, Australia and Canada, and will be launched in the UK in the coming months. The new device is a small app-controlled reader that plugs into an iPhone’s audio jack. It accepts all major debit and credit cards and has an inbuilt scanner which uses the smartphone’s camera to process cheque payments. It charges 2.7% on transactions, undercutting competitor Square’s 2.75%. “It’s designed to help merchants make more sales and grow their business with confidence,” PayPal said in a blog post. A version compatible with Android technology will be launched next month.
The app is free and it can be used instore or online. Only allows you to pay and currently only available for Samsung Nexus S.
Pay Pal offer a new way to pay
Credit card readers are perfect for small businesses that do not have expensive till systems, such as market stalls that only accept cash
Square Launched in 2010 by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, Square was the first mobile card reader. It works in much the same way as PayPal Here. Square charges 2.75% for transactions. Unfortunately no UK release is planned as yet. It’s had two years experience and it sends you an electronic receipt. More expensive than PayPal and it’s not available in the UK.
spotlight On the UP
Every month, UpStart will be profiling the brightest up-and-coming names in the world of business to keep an eye on
University of Kent student Amy Brooks, co-founder of Spark.Ed, was ranked one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs by the 100Up initiative. She hopes to provide other university students with creative learning opportunities on a digital platform. Amy launched Spark.Ed in February of this year along with her boyfriend and co-founder, Greg Mackelden.
How did you get the idea for Spark.Ed? I have bad dyslexia and really struggle with reading. I had a particularly difficult deadline due and I didn’t understand the course material well, so I turned to my boyfriend Greg and told him I wished someone would make a video or a game that was really interesting as an alternative. Then, I thought, ‘Well, I can draw illustrations and he can program’ and it would just make sense for us to do it. Who is Spark.Ed aimed at? We wanted to create something that was affordable for students. The app, which is a gateway to downloadable chapters, will be free, and then chapters for different course series are paid for depending on the amount of information in there. I’d like Spark.Ed to be available for all students; the more people that can benefit from it, the better.
“There’s panicking, lots of caffeine and a bit of crying. I guess that’s the formula!” What stage are you at with your startup? We need demand from students to be able to secure more interest from investors, so we’re at that promotional stage. We’re also doing research and the initial prototype design. Currently, we don’t have any funding, but that’s a decision we’ve made. The two of us can actually create the prototype without any finance, but we do have some small concerns over the Apple side as they charge a lot for their app development. With a part-time job and a full-time degree, how do you manage your time? It’s finding something I’ve got to do and then just throwing myself into it 120%. There is also panicking, lots of caffeine and a bit of crying. I guess that’s the formula. There’s a lot of crying actually! But it does get done, so somehow I manage.
10 | UpStart
Do your grades suffer as a result? I just work it around university deadlines. I’m a typical entrepreneur in that I get up in the morning and run ahead with stuff and jump off cliffs without even thinking about it! That’s a bit what I’m like with my studies too, but my mum will kill me if I graduate with anything below a 2:1, so this just slots in around studying when I can find the time.
Work-life balance tipping the scales? Try these tips to up your productivity and leave you with time to unwind
How do you switch off? I’m lucky in that my friends and the people I work with all really enjoy what we do. To me, this is like a hobby, it doesn’t feel like work at all. I’ve managed to find something really cool to do and people are actually saying to me, ‘that’s a good idea, do it!’ That’s a really nice feeling. Hopefully I can make some money out of it and then it will be absolutely perfect. As for welcome distractions, I watched Take Me Out this afternoon when I was eating my dinner, that’s my guilty pleasure!
Looking at a list of tasks, it’s easy to do the less important work first if it appears more fun. Prioritise jobs and get the most important things out of the way, even if they’re the least fun.
Are you planning to go full time with Spark.Ed after you graduate this summer? My co-founder Greg is a computer science graduate, and he has two full time jobs as well as doing this, so he’s quite stretched! In theory I would love to focus all my attention on Spark.Ed, however, having an office is a very expensive luxury. What will most likely happen is I’ll go full time in the position I’ve currently got, working in the marketing industry for a startup, and then use that to fund this project. At the moment, the wonderful thing about Spark.Ed is we can do it from our bedrooms, so we don’t have to be anywhere or clock in and clock out. After I graduate, it will have to be my free time I invest into this. The Spark.Ed app will be available for download on the App Store and Android Market soon. For more information, head to spark-education.com
Write a list, use a diary and keep a calendar. Trying to remember everything you have to do is work in itself; a simple to do list allows you to focus on the task at hand.
Entrepreneurs often fall foul of multi-tasking, which can slow you down. Learn to work sequentially on one task at a time.You’ll get each thing done quicker and to a higher standard. What’s on your plate that you can get rid of? Multi-talented entrepreneurs often want to have complete control, but learn to delegate tasks to other people. Change your environment. Getting away from your work area can change your perspective. If you can keep a healthy work-life balance then creativity and innovation will shoot up as a result.
Remember to enter the
Young Entrepreneur of the Year category Could it be you? jomec.co.uk/upstart
“You need a
THick skin to gain respect
for what you do”
PR agency founder Ashley Smith tells Darren Wee how he keeps his head above water in the sink-or-swim fashion industry
ashion is an industry worth £21 billion in the UK alone, but behind the glitz and the glamour, it’s manbags at dawn. No one knows this better than 25-year-old Ashley Smith, PR director and co-founder of fashion PR startup, Ella Dror PR. Ashley founded the business with his partner and its namesake Ella Dror last year, just in time for London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2011. London is the world capital of street fashion and its colleges produce hundreds of new designers every year. Ella Dror PR discovers and nurtures this young talent and transforms their ideas into viable businesses. Neither one from business backgrounds, it was their passion for fashion that brought Ashley and Ella into the industry. Ashley studied Japanese at the School of Oriental and African Studies and completed a diploma in Advanced Japanese and Media and Advertising at Waseda University in Tokyo, and Ella graduated from the London College of Fashion. Ashley was the PA to the communications director of Warner Brothers Japan and then worked as an account manager at Blow PR before becoming PR executive at Machine-A, a high-end boutique which showcases young London designers. It was there he met Ella, and when the boutique unexpectedly closed in December 2010, they
decided to use the contacts they had made to start their own PR agency. “We had made some plans to start working more closely with some of the designers involved in the boutique and we’d already made commitments to a number of designers to handle their London Fashion Week activity,” Ashley says. “Seeing a genuine niche for some really fantastic Londonbased creatives who didn’t necessarily fit the industry standard, and having professional commitments which we wanted to fulfill all came together, and starting an agency seemed the only sensible and right thing to do.” Two weeks before their first Fashion Week, they had six clients but no office or email account and were working from Starbucks. Their first press day at the St Martins Lane Hotel suitably impressed Grazia, which commended the duo on its website, saying “The powerhouse team behind this dazzling display are two young people who are making their mark on the fashion world in their own unique way.”
Early successes Ella Dror PR now represents individual designers as well as brands and, “technologically advanced future-fashion studios making everything from dresses of
smoke, textiles that react to the body and sound-activated, light-responsive pieces.” One of their first clients was Craig Lawrence, an upcoming designer from Ipswich, whose avant-garde luxury knitwear has received impressive reviews and huge support from his peers in the industry. “What he does is incredibly expensive though, so it’s very niche,” says Ashley. His clothes have recently been stocked in London’s Dover Street Market, a key international boutique for the agency. They discovered another of their clients, Kitty Joseph, while she was still studying for an MA in Textiles at the Royal College of Art. In her first season, Kitty’s pieces were featured in Vogue, and Lady Gaga even sported a pair of her purple hexagonal sunglasses. Ashley found funding from the UK Fashion and Textile Association for Kitty to show in Paris where nine stockists bought her pieces from her collection. It’s successes like this that Ashley says makes all the hard work pay off. “Seeing any client’s work hanging on a rail is always the ultimate goal,” he says. “Press is nice to have but it’s only a springboard to making money. “When buyers are believing in the brands you work with enough to part with their cash and offer it to their customers, it’s an amazing feeling.”
A dynamic duo
Fashion is a fiercely competitive industry, especially for two young people. Ashley says they are learning as they go and finding accountants, advisors and lawyers was daunting at first, but they had to pick up everything quickly. “Another aspect to consider when starting
“People know more about your business than you could ever imagine” a business as a young person is that you’re entering into a playing field with some very heavy-hitting competitors and numerous other parties who have a vested interest in what you’re doing,” Ashley says. “You need a thick skin to persevere with this and to gain respect for what you do.” Ashley and Ella formed a business partnership from their friendship, and many of their clients are also personal friends. They
work together in all aspects of the business but they each have individual strengths which compliment each other. Ashley says, “My professional and educational background is more academic and specifically marketing and public relations-based, whereas Ella comes from a strictly fashion and creative background. The most important element of our relationship is based on mutual respect and trust.”
Catfights and spotlights
Ashley says fashion sometimes lives up to its bad image, and at times it’s a small circle and gossip travels fast. “Whatever’s been happening throughout the season or any difficulties or problems you might be facing, you still have to walk into Fashion Week head held high and look everyone in the eye, even though it’s very clear that people know more about your professional business than you could ever imagine”. In PR, clients come and go, and when they come they have usually left another agency, which Ashley says has created tension in the past. “Our clients have to come from somewhere; we never approach anyone or
In just over a year, Ella Dror PR has made its mark on the fashion industry
12 | UpStart
From top left: Void of Course S/S 2012 collection at an Ella Dror PR Press Day, Astrid Andersen A/W catwalk finale, Lady Gaga wearing one of Kitty Joseph’s creations. Previous page: Designs by Ashley’s client Craig Lawrence
intend for this to happen, but that’s a decision our clients made,” he says. “It’s just the nature of the public relations industry and fashion in general – change is good, it shakes things up.” Change comes fast in fashion too. In the space of a year, the business has moved its HQ to trendy Soho and had its third fashion week last month. From its offices, Ashley runs a business that is now truly international, with clients travelling to LA, Brazil and Hong Kong for work. A personal highlight for Ashley was a fashion show he held “for some high society types” in Moscow, and he regularly travels to Paris and New York with clients for meetings. “It’s always really surprising when you go overseas with a client and see just how far the work you do here in London travels,” he says. “They turn up and get treated like celebrities.”
As far as the rest of 2012 is concerned, Ashley says the business has, “a really huge international collaboration happening at the end of this year but I can’t say any more than that at the moment.” Despite the promise of big things, he remains realistic about Ella Dror PR’s future. “We’re still a very young business,” he explains. “We’ve never believed in forcing new business and aggressively trying to expand, so we’ll just continue to do the job we do and let the results speak for themselves.” So, can he share his secrets for global success? “You have to be passionate about the brands you work on behalf of and committed to doing what’s right for them,” he says. “If you really care about your clients then you’ll go above and beyond the call of duty to do whatever you have to to make sure they establish real businesses with longevity. Watching a brand go from nowhere to everywhere gives you an unbelievable sense of achievement, pride and confidence. “Don’t compromise and never forget the reasons why you were drawn to the industry – there are a lot of people depending on you to help continue their livelihoods and passions. This isn’t something to be taken lightly.”
Looking the part: Ashley cuts a striking figure in his black coat and gloves
Ashley Smith, 25 CURRENT ROLE PR director at Ella Dror PR CLIENTS Alex Mattsson, Alex Noble, Aqua, Aqua Men, Astrid Andersen, Bernhard Willhelm, Bernhard Willhelm Men, Bethan Laura Wood, Craig Lawrence, Fred Butler, Kitty Joseph, Lucy Bridge, Piers Atkinson, Sorcha Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Raghallaigh, Void Of Course PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT Account manager at Blow PR PR executive at Machine-A Junior account executive at ABI Marketing PR Advertising sales assistant at Advance International Media EDUCATION BA Japanese, School of Oriental and African Studies Diploma in Advanced Japanese and Media and Advertising, Waseda University, Tokyo
Keeping it in the family Chris Smith meets Ben Marlow and Kate Addison, the couple behind wedding cinematography company Kissing Gate Video - living proof you really can combine home and work life
14 | UpStart
family life, but university too. Kate Addison, 22, and Ben Marlow, 31, own Kissing Gate Video, a wedding cinematography company that they run from their home in Cardiff. If you thought working together as a couple was hard enough, think again. They also have to juggle bringing up their son, one year old Addison, while Kate also completes the final year of her degree in Biochemistry. I meet the couple at their flat to talk about the company, balancing family life and working as a team.
Image: Frankie Griffiths
alancing your personal life with your professional life is a skill that many of us wish we could acquire effortlessly. It can be all too easy to subconsciously put more effort in to one than the other, leaving the latter to suffer because of it. This problem can be all the more amplified when you own your own business or are in the midst of launching your own startup. One couple, however, seem to have this balance down to a fine art, balancing not only work with
Kate and Ben have already started teaching Addison the tricks of the trade Kate and Ben have already started teaching Addison the tricks of the trade
Before the couple met, Ben established Kissing Gate Video in 2007, out of a desire to leave behind the constraints of his day job as a personal trainer. “I’d had enough of the job,” Ben says. “I got into editing about 10 years ago and I’ve always done bits and bobs since I left college and it gradually got to the point in 2007 where I was like, yeah, I need to be doing this professionally.” Like most owners with startups in their infancy, Ben couldn’t simply leave his job and instantly start making money. He soon found himself working all hours he could to get the company under way. “I would get up at six in the morning, go and do a gym shift until three, then work from three in the afternoon until midnight trying to set it up and get it all going. So, every hour that I was awake, I was pretty much working. It was hard work.” Ben’s first client did, however, come from his connection at the gym after hearing about a regular member who was getting married. Keen to make a start and provide future potential clients with a show reel of his work, Ben offered his services at a cut price. “I basically said look, I’ll do it for 300 quid, which is like 10 per cent of what we charge now, it was peanuts, and she said yeah OK.” The job was a success and since then, Kissing Gate Video has snowballed. “After that we started charging proper money and it has just
increased ever since!” A year on from setting up the business, Ben was able to quit his job as a personal trainer and work full time on the company.
When Ben met Kate
In 2009, the couple met. Not long later the two became an item, leading to Kate becoming part of Kissing Gate soon after. “I started getting involved straight away! We went up north to Clitheroe and Ben shoved a camera in my hand and said, ‘This is on, this is record, this is focus’ - it was the first time I’d used a camera but thankfully it was alright!” Kate had always had an interest in photography but admits that it wasn’t until she moved in with Ben that she began to pick up the necessary skills for the job. “We lived together really early on and living with Ben is like 24 hour training, so I picked it up so much faster than anyone else learning the trade. I was seeing the editing all the time and seeing the footage.” Ben, however, sees Kate’s fast progression of skills a little differently. “It was quite annoying that it took me 10 years forging a style of my own and learning how to get good then Kate came along and picked it up instantly! I was quite pissed off but then she gave it the whole you’re a good teacher bit which softened the blow!” Over the year, the couple continued to develop the company, booking more weddings.
Then there were three
Shooting from the hip Shooting from the hip
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In 2010, Kate became pregnant with Addison and, following his birth in January of last year, the difficulty of raising a newborn, running a business and Kate continuing with her studies became apparent. Kate’s parents kindly helped out the young family, offering up their home. The three of them accepted and moved into Kate’s family home in Maidenhead. “Anyone who has had a baby knows the more help you have, the better,”
says Kate. “I remember I was revising for my finals and I was breast feeding him whilst revising and falling asleep. That was a tough time.” During the first few months after Addison was born, Kate’s participation in the company became significantly reduced. “I didn’t really get to help out too much with the video side of things but that was in the winter so it wasn’t peak wedding time.” However, as the summer season approached, Kate once again became more active in the company. Working from Kate’s parents loft conversion, the couple found a way to combine parenting with their growing workload. “Ben worked at one desk and I worked at the other while Addison spent most of his time in between us on the floor; it’s not that you make time for work then you make time for the baby, you don’t separate your life, we just merged everything into one.”
Moving to Cardiff
In September of last year, Kate had to return to Cardiff to complete her final year of her degree. Thanks to the nature of the company, moving to Wales wasn’t a major problem for Kate and Ben; however, they still needed to enlist the help of both of their families simply to move their belongings.
“You don’t separate your life, we just merged everything into one” “Basically, if we didn’t have two sets of amazing parents, then we would have found it really tough. Ben’s parents and my Dad helped, we had four cars moving us to Cardiff and even that wasn’t enough, we needed about 10!” The only real impact that the move had on the company was the added time of commuting to jobs. “Considering how close to London we were, some of the stuff that I do is corporate, so if I need to go to London I could just jump on a train and be there in 20 minutes; now it’s two-and-a-half hours which is a pain,” explains Ben. Meeting potential wedding clients when in Wales has also proved to be another difficulty and commuting has now become a natural factor in the business for Ben. “We’ve been here five months and I’ve probably done the commute 15 times.” But does working and living together bring a strain on their relationship? The answer is no it would seem. “It’s cool, it’s fun, I like it. Not
Kissing Gate Video captures every moment
for me, but for Kate,” Ben jokes. “It certainly beats going out on your own and working.” “It’s good banter, except when we start forgetting who’s used what and who’s left what where and the logistics become a bit of a mess,” adds Kate. Kate also sees working with each other as having a positive effect on their relationship. “If you’re in the same business, you never have conversation to run out of, especially in a industry that develops as fast as this; it’s just relentless. Sharing an interest that takes over your life so much, I think it’s actually healthy.”
Mixing it up
Working together from home also brings a plethora of benefits; Kate and Ben need not worry about renting out office space or childcare, but it’s the flexibility that comes with owning their own company that is the real bonus. “You can work when you want. To be honest, I’ve done nothing today, but on a normal day, if Kate wants to go to town, we
can do that and make up for lost time later.” Like most things in life, nothing is ever straightforward and Kate and Ben’s life is no exception. Ben and Addison spent the past week visiting family, allowing Kate to concentrate on her dissertation. “Working from home is fun but, at the moment, we are trying to juggle everything, Kate’s doing her uni work which means I’m looking after Addison so all of the work for the company is put on hold.” These complications however don’t seem to faze the two by adopting a relaxed outlook on balancing family life and working life. “We just mix it up! We let it all flow into each other,” explains Ben. “You should never think too much” adds Kate. “As soon as you start thinking you worry you’re doing everything wrong but if you take everything as it comes, deal with it the best you can, everything often works out.”
So what does the future hold for Kissing Gate Video? “We’re now five years on, and it’s quite a recognised name when it comes to planning weddings,” Ben states. Kissing Gate may be an established brand, but Kate and Ben had been missing out on a trick for years by not setting up a blog, much to the amusement of fellow wedding cinematographers. “Other people in the industry were laughing at us actually laughing in our faces, says Kate. “So since setting it up we’ve been getting loads more inquiries, which hopefully means we
won’t have to rely on any advertising which means no outgoings.” As for expanding the company, Ben is confident that the workload will continue to rise. “Eventually its going to happen because every year has got busier, we’re not ever going to be in position to take someone on full-time but we do have freelancers that we use and will continue to do so. It’s growing and I’m not going to stop it.” And as for baby Addison, will he be following in his Mum and Dad’s footprints? “I reckon so,” admits Kate. “It’s kind of hard to not take an interest when you’re surrounded by it, I wouldn’t mind if he didn’t, but it would be nice free labour!” Ben smiles, “He’s got a film directors name I think - Addison Marlow!”
Names: Ben Marlow and Kate Addison Ages: 31 and 22 Business: Kissing Gate Video Awards: Highly commended for Best Corporate Video 2011 at the Institute of Videography Awards
Ben and Kate’s top tips for startup success Always be Professional Kate: “You can’t stress how important it is the treat clients well because you never know what kind of work they could possibly get you.” Pick and choose the right jobs Ben: “When you’re young and hungry and building your business you’re going to take money wherever it comes from but I’ve made mistakes where I’ve known that I shouldn’t have taken jobs I’ve done because I just want the money.” You’re only as good as your last job Kate: “You can’t ever get away with doing a shoddy job, it starts catching up with you if you do.” Constantly up your game Ben: “If you strive to get better all the time then you can charge more money, the more money that you charge the better job you have to do.”
Mixing BUSINESS and PLEASURE
Ignoring the doubters: Jamie Rowland has built his dream into a reality
Jamie Rowland continues to create business success By Jo Price from his passion for bikes
amie Rowland, owner of The Bicycle Doctor in Porth, South Wales, is no stranger to hard work. Twelve years on from launching his very own bicycle store startup, selling and repairing bikes, he has recently opened another business premises, The Moto Bar. The new retail store is a brand extension of The Bicycle Doctor and will trade in extreme fashion clothing - Jamie has high hopes it will survive the current tough economy and here is why.
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Jamie left school at the age of 17 to work fulltime in a factory with little qualifications. At the age of 21, he found himself unemployed. Faced with no job prospects, this was the point that he decided to go it alone. He says, “I was told and told to stop dreaming, it will never happen. The more I was told, the more I wanted to prove people wrong.” Prove them wrong he certainly did, and a year later he was stood in St. James’s Palace in front of Prince Charles being
presented with a £4000 cheque. Jamie’s business was chosen out of 1000 businesses in the UK to win the Prince’s Trust UK Business of the Year Award. He described the moment as amazing when he found out he had beaten all the odds. In the same year, he was also presented with the Prince’s Trust Welsh Business of the Year Award. “I was on billboards!” he recalls. The publicity for The Bicycle Doctor was beyond anything he could have imagined.
the The Moto Bar ready for launch. Jamie usually makes time to step away from the business for a while as it gives him inspiration. “The best ideas come for the business when I go away, reflect on the next step to take the business forward,” he admitted.
Key to success Keeping it in the family: Jamie’s Dad, Jeff, now runs The Bicycle Doctor Family matters: Jamie’s Dad Jeff now oversees the Bicycle Doctor business
Jamie’s business vision was realised when the Prince’s Trust awarded him a loan of £3000 and a grant of £500. He says, “It gave me a head start when, at the age of 21, I would have been unable to get a bank loan.” The stringent application process involved Jamie having to present a detailed business plan to a panel of judges, including a bank manager, accountant and marketing representatives. He was assigned a mentor that also proved invaluable in his first year of getting the shop up and running. The 33-year-old’s dream of starting his own business arose from the passion he had for riding. “I raced Motocross from the age of eight and learnt a lot about the industry,” he said. His hobby gave him the opportunity to meet suppliers and develop his knowledge of the sport. At 16-years-old, he took up mountain biking, “Anything to do with two wheels - I used to love it.”
“I was told to stop dreaming. The more I was told, the more I wanted to prove people wrong” Jamie continues to ride now whenever he gets the opportunity, including taking an annual trip to France. He even cycles with his customers, confirming it acts as an advantage to his business. “It sets us apart from a lot of other shops,” he said. The father of six-year-old Baile and sevenyear-old Dewi has to balance family life with his partner, Elese, and their children whilst running his own business. He said, “Family life is really important to me. I try and get most weekends off.” The last few weeks have been an exception for Jamie as he said he has been absolutely flat out getting
For Jamie, owning his own business isn’t about the money. He said, “It is about doing something that I love. I’ve had to learn a lot about business, accounting, marketing relating it to my hobby is a lot easier to learn.” He pins the key to his success on working hard, “It’s been a tough 12 years but I’ve enjoyed every minute. We thrived in the recession, business has increased because we are being focused on customer service and advice.” The Bicycle Doctor has continued to profit and grow because it does not keep still. Each year Jamie “steps it up” whether through staff training, newsletters to customers or developing the website. Each small thing he does continues to expand his business reach. He said, “Social media has been huge for us. Facebook is an easy way to interact with our customers.” From running the business entirely on his own, Jamie now pays 10 members of staff, even getting his own family involved in the business. Six years ago, his father Jeff left his job and now oversees The Bicycle Doctor, leaving Jamie to concentrate on his latest venture, The Moto Bar. Economy wise, Jamie admits it is not the best time to open a new business, but personally he feels it is the right time for him. He explains he has built up the skills he needs and has worked for two years planning every detail of this project to ensure its success.
merchandising.” He gives The Bicycle Doctor as an example of location. It may be based in Jamie’s hometown but he understands people are prepared to travel to support a business if it provides the service they require. He joked, “If it’s a specialist business, people will travel to us even if we are on top of a mountain!” The story is very different for The Moto Bar. Based in Pontypridd, where the rates are cheaper than Cardiff, Jamie explains that as a clothing store, it relies on foot traffic. He predicts the business will be a combination of shop and online retail as people want to be able to feel the clothes they are buying and try them on. Looking forward, he said The Moto Bar has a 10 year plan and he is determined to make the business work. In regards to The Bicycle Doctor, he wants to increase the business’s internet sales. “For the cycle shop, online is always going to be massive,” he said. Jamie described The Moto Bar launch as “the hardest and biggest step” he has taken in his career. A shop full of customers, family and friends on the night of the launch has certainly given him a promising start and is evidence that “mixing business and pleasure” in Jamie’s case, works.
“It’s about doing something I love. Relating business to my hobby is a lot easier to learn”
For more information about Jamie’s work, head on over to thebicycledoctor.com and themotobar.com.
Brave venture The Moto Bar fashion store will sell brands including Fox, Unit and Nixon. Jamie has built up positive relationships with these companies over the years and they are happy to support him with this new business. The brands are startups and family run businesses themselves, such as Unit, an Australian company started up on £500, now an international enterprise. For startups looking to expand their business, Jamie advises, “Research. Do as much research as you can and map out every detail of your business. Consider location, look and
Jamie’s awards prove he is more than ready for the challenges ahead
12 years old and still going strong: The Bicycle Doctor is a testament to Jamie’s commitment
How can you get involved with the Prince’s Trust? The facts: The Prince’s Trust was established in 1976. Around one in five young people in the UK are not in work, education or training. The Prince’s Trust gives practical and financial support to help young improve their career prospects and learning. What it offers? The Enterprise Programme - to help people startup in business (aged 18-30), Team Programme- a 12-week personal development course (aged 16-25), Get intos - short courses offering intensive training (aged 16-25), Development Awards - small grants (aged 14-25) and Community Cash Award grants (aged 14-25). How you can help the Trust? You could become a Prince’s Trust volunteer and help mentor upcoming young entrepreneurs. If you apply as a Prince’s Trust partner, they will work with you to develop activities to involve and motivate your staff and customers. Joining an Industry Leadership Group will give you the opportunity to network with other businesses in your field. Conquer the Himalayas or combat 140km of Sahara desert to fundraise for the Prince’s Trust in their Adventure Challenges. Visit princes-trust.org.uk
CV Jamie Rowland Businesses: The Bicycle Doctor The Moto Bar Awards: Prince’s Trust UK Business of the Year 2002 Prince’s Trust Welsh Business of the Year 2002 for The Bicycle Doctor Achievements: Founder and managing director of The Bicycle Doctor and The Moto Bar
THE BE T THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE
Three magazine startups with very different approaches are making Case study #1 money by giving their Plastik Magazine: product away for nothing The online startup Words by Emma Vince and Chris Smith
imes are hard for businesses in the print market and many are struggling to stay in the black. Over the last few years, sales figures have dropped with consumers seemingly reluctant to pay for magazines with so much free online content. This means advertisers are less willing to pay for print advertising and are looking to move to greener pastures. But there is hope. A string of startups are pioneering new models that are reaching the masses and injecting new life into an ailing industry. Previously, free print publications were advert heavy, little effort went into content and the reader was pretty much forgotten about. However, new titles are now offering quality content for free in a bid to attract a following of readers and ultimately, advertisers. We look at three companies that are turning an outdated business model on its head.
nspired by the change in Cardiff ’s cultural scene over the last 10 years, Plastik magazine was launched online in 2009. Founder Marc Thomas realised that Cardiff ’s culture scene had become a lot more independent. Spotting a gap in the market, Plastik was born. The initial idea for the magazine came from a very basic culture blog that used word counts that were deemed too long for the web, with posts running from 1000 to 2000 words as opposed to the traditional 500. As the blog adapted over time, it seemed readers really enjoyed the experience of reading articles that looked at culture in a much more in-depth way. The content has also evolved considerably since the site’s launch, covering the usual aspects of music and film to fields of a less cultural remit such as illustration, startups and even city planning. Plastik’s first major peak in hits came along by the off-chance after Thomas bumped into the lead singer of band Islet at a gig. Introducing himself, he managed to convince the band to do an interview for the magazine. Before then, the band had briefly appeared in NME and
was on the cusp of breaking into the industry. This attracted a lot of traffic so Marc continued with these music interviews and just like that, Plastik had a readership. The startup costs for the site were minimal, with Thomas only having to purchase the domain name for the site and paying for hosting. All the art used on the site is designed by Thomas and as it’s all done on his laptop, there are no costs for renting office space. Plastik started making money after Thomas launched Plastik Pass last year, a discount card on local businesses, this enterprise only lasted for six months, which was long enough to start gaining attention from sponsors. Plastik is now funded by page sponsors, with Cardiff Council currently sponsoring Plastik’s innovation section. Other companies such as Creative Cardiff have also sponsored Plastik in the past. Plastik has now gained an ever growing list of regular Plastik Fact File contributors, leaving Thomas, Launched: Oct 2009 who previously wrote all the Platform: Online content himself, to editing Page Impressions: 15,000 the articles and tending to the page views, 3000 unique business side of the magazine. users, 7000 per month As for the future of Plastik, Funding: Page Sponsors Thomas plans on taking a Founder: Marc Thomas back seat from the project in a few years time and employing
Case study #2
Crack magazine: The expanding startup
nitially a Bristol based startup, Crack magazine was launched by journalist Tom Frost and designer Jake Applebee in 2009 after they were both made redundant. The free magazine, whose name offers itself up to a multitude of puns, covers new music, culture and events, acting as a platform for all things under the mainstream radar. The magazine is a large A3 affair in news print style. The big pages allow for bold photography but also makes the content feel like a substantial read. The magazine prides itself on content not influenced by advertisers, a striking design and stunning visuals that readers want to keep. The magazine may be a freebie, but it’s trying hard to not be something tossed straight in the bin. The last year has been full of ups and downs for the business. In March 2011, the eleventh issue showed a company in chaos, calling for their readers to spread the word in an attempt to contact more advertisers. In keeping with the tone of the magazine, the editors sent out a tongue-in-cheek plea in the editorial: “Some people said we were fools to start a magazine in the middle of a recession – they were right. It’s clearly become obvious we didn’t get into this magazine business for
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someone to take care of the editorial side of the magazine. This would allow him to purely focus on of the business side of Plastik and develop other side projects. Visit Plastik online at www.plastik. me and check out our video interview with the man himself at www.jomec.co.uk/upstart
the money. We did it for the love.” Crack Magazine It was a passion for their startup and a loyal Fact File base of readers that Launched: August 2009 kept Crack going, and Platform: Print they bounced back with Distribution: Bristol, company growth. Later Cardiff and London in 2011 distribution Funding: Print advertising spread across the Welsh Founder: Thomas Frost and border into Cardiff, and Jacob Applebee in October an issue was launched in London for the first time. They have also secured a deal with fashion chain Urban Outfitters as a stockist. The increased distribution network came at the same time as the announcement that the magazine was becoming a monthly title. “The fact we are in the position to expand in this way is an encouraging reflection of the impression Crack has made in the last two years,” said co-editor Tom.
“We didn’t get into this magazine business for the money. We did it for the love.” Crack is fast becoming a music brand, something far more than just a print publication and this appeals to advertisers. Crack not only writes about bands and singers but host events and launch parties to celebrate new music and to engage with their readers. It’s a smart way to generate income from readers of a free product. Crack sell merchandise, quirky t-shirts that appeal to their hipster audience, and in February 2012 launched an online service for buying tickets for festivals and gigs. Despite the difficulties and expenses of creating a free print product, a strong brand and brand extensions have allowed them to expand from a tiny startup, giving them more money to invest in really making a name for themselves.
Take a look at back issues and online content at www.crackmagazine.net
Case study #3
Shortlist Media: The small startup that hit the big time Shortlist Media Fact File
Launched: September 2007 (Shortlist) Platform: Print Distribution: 11 UK cities (including Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, Birmingham, Bristol and London) Funding: Print advertising Founder: Mike Soutar
hortlist Media have pioneered a new brand of publishing with their freemium magazines which are distributed by hand in cities across the UK. They have proved that, sometimes, giving away your product minus the price tag can be highly lucrative. In a market where traditional lads mags were no longer selling, there was space for a more upmarket men’s magazine which targeted the middle class ABC1 markets. After extensive research into this market, chief executive Mike Soutar (who worked previously on FHM) identified a new generation of people who had grown up with the internet and expected high quality content for free. The company secured a £4m seed round from a group of investors, including French Connection founder Stephen Marks, and launched Shortlist, a free, weekly men’s magazine distributed in 11 major UK cities every Thursday. In just under three years, they had clinched 30% of the market share and amassed a following of loyal readers, and more importantly, advertisers. In the current climate of declining print media, why was this startup a success? Shortlist Media’s strategic director Tim Ewington said, “Our whole model is different from a historic print business. If you start with an enormous structure like a newspaper group, losing £30 to £40 million every year, and try to fix that, it’s just too hard. Murdoch has certainly got a problem on his hands. We think free magazines are going to play a really important role in the future. We’ve built a business structured to work in tough times – and there will always be recessions.” And they certainly offered a compelling proposition for advertisers: a way to tap into the affluent male market who had abandoned the newsstand. The free aspect of the magazine has not only made it appealing for readers, but has given the magazine advertising options not available to consumer print titles competing in the shops. Covers for the magazine are free from cover-lines and aesthetically more poster like. Advertising
UpStart’s Top Tips Who knew giving away your product for free could be the foundation of a successful business? Each of these publishers began as businesses boldly going where no magazine had gone before, so what can we learn from their success?
Know your audience. As a hyperlocal website Plastik has amassed a strong loyal readership through engaging with what they are interested in, as opposed to what other publications dictate they should be interested in. Online businesses can track the most popular posts and then tailor future content to the models that work best.
Build a brand. To follow this model you don’t have to give away all of your products for free. While Crack magazine may be reliant on advertisers to finance production, as a brand Crack makes money from selling tickets, hosting events and brand extension products.
Identify the market. Shortlist and Stylist’s target markets have been brought up with the internet and, although they have a large disposable income, are reluctant to spend money on magazines. By targeting this audience with a free magazine which they can read while travelling, Shortlist Media has amassed an appreciative and engaged consumer base. can go beyond normal page spreads into advertorials, sampling, reader offers and also cover wraps, a concept that would not be practical for a consumer title, but for which Shortlist charges a whopping £98,050. The distribution network established Shortlist Media’s stronghold and allowed for the introduction of its sister magazine Stylist to play out smoothly. Although Stylist had been launched on a three year business plan, it started making money in its first year. Stylist Editor Lisa Smosarski, a supporter of the free media business model, told the Guardian, “Before Shortlist, people thought free meant rubbish. They had to prove that good quality journalism, great design and fantastic images could be done on a free title.” The hand distributed magazines have allowed both titles to achieve high circulation rates. Stylist’s most recent figures show a weekly distribution rate of 429,034, and with an estimated 2.1 readers per copy, this gives a total readership of just under 1 million. How can advertisers resist? “What we’ve done is turn the traditional publishing model on its head,” says founder Mike Soutar. “We’ve changed the way consumers look at magazines and the way advertisers get hold of a very hard-toreach audience.”
You can pick up a copy of Shortlist or Stylist at train stations in many UK cities, or visit the magazines online at www.shortlist.com and www.stylist.com
expert advice. straightforward solutions.
Internet marketer Mo Mastafa explains how email marketing can help you earn new customers
So you have decided to start your own business. I imagine you are running around like a headless chicken trying to get new customers, negotiate with suppliers, sort out business cards, add content to your website, manage cashflow... the list goes on. Whatever business you find yourself in,
there is one thing all business startups have in common: you need more customers. Because money is tight right now, using email to market your products or services can be a great free way to generate new sales and get new customers. All you need is a little bit of time and creativity.
Mo Mastafa is an online marketer from Cardiff, Wales. He helps small businesses and national brands get more traffic, sales and customers using the web. Mo has been involved in sales and marketing for over 15 years and now spends most of his time delivering online marketing training through his blog, newsletter, training products, workshops, coaching and consulting. For more info, visit momastafa.com
1 Build your email list First you will want to build up your email list, so you actually have a database of potential customers you can market your products or services to in the future. Your email list is basically a list of people who have agreed to find out more about what
you have to offer and want to know more. Just make sure people give you their permission to email them, so it’s not seen as spam. Offer people a clear way to unsubscribe from your marketing emails. It’s a good idea to seek legal advice when you are starting off,
to make sure you are playing by the rules. Now you can collect email addresses in a variety of ways, from people you meet when you are out and about marketing your business, to collecting them via a form you have set up on your website.
2 Know what you can offer your subscribers You will probably find saying, “Hey, give me your email address” will not be enough to get customers to hand over their contact details. A much better way to collect their email addresses is to incentivise them. Give them a reason to give you their address. One way to do this is to offer them something upfront. Offer a free sample; if you sell a physical
product or service, this can be a great way to get new customers. Vistaprint does this really well. They offer business owners free business cards, but then make their money by selling additional products on the back end. Try offering free training: this could be anything from a free educational video to a report. You could ask people to sign up via
3 Stay in touch, make offers, create a relationship Once you have got people on your list, you want to stay in touch. One of the best ways to do this is through a free email newsletter. The key to a great newsletter is to focus on providing high value information to your readers. Make it about them first and your business second.Try to focus on solving problems they may be facing. For instance, if you sell dog products, then offer your readers free advice on how to train their dog and follow up with an offer about
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your dog products in the future, ensure the reader will benefit from it. Avoid making your newsletter a glorified sales pitch. If all you do is send emails trying to sell your products or services, you’ll find people quickly unsubscribing from your list. Instead, try to mix it up a little: make them an offer to buy something on every third email. That way they get great free content the rest of the time and they will always remember your business.
your website and then email them a link to a video or report that you have created and saved as a PDF. People can find out more about their topic of interest, and you get the chance to show them you are an expert in your field. This way, if they ever want to hire someone in the future, you, or your business, will be the first thing that springs to mind.
UPSTART OFFER UpStart readers can download Mo’s ebooks Email Marketing and SEO Secrets for free. Visit http://bit.ly/momastafa
Got a problem you would like some advice on? If so, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Keeping you and your business safe Having a great idea for a business is an exciting prospect, but there are many things that need to be considered when starting up, or even revised if you are already well established. Teresa McTeague talks to Jo Price about how to identify potential pitfalls early on and create a secure enterprise.
Meet Teresa After spending 29 years working for John Lewis, Teresa left her job as general manager of distribution and started up Teresa Jayne Catering. She says, “I’ve always had ambition to have my own company and always enjoyed food and the service industry.” Teresa learned a lot from starting out on her own despite considerable experience in the retail industry. As a mentor for the Prince’s Trust, she believes the key to a successful business is all in the preparation and projections. She says, “Everything you are doing is geared up to protect yourself.”
health and safety We live in a health and safety conscious society with a growing suing culture. A business startup has full liability when it comes to issues of health and safety and therefore the best form of protection is diligence. This applies to whatever industry you are going into or are currently in. Keeping organised records and notes as you work, following rules and regulations, using the correct kit and the appropriate procedure in work acts as your defence.
business insurance Every business needs insurance and like most insurance, the way to get the best deal is to shop around and investigate each offering in depth. Always read the small print: people can get caught out on something that seems like a good deal at first but, after a while, changes in the insurance clauses could catch you out. Businesslink.gov.uk provides a really useful questionnaire to help you determine what types of business insurance are applicable to your enterprise; some will be mandatory, others recommended, but it is certainly a wise place to start.
It is not enough to just have a great concept for a business and identify a gap in the marketplace. A business requires a skill and often a certification of that skill is needed for you to be able to trade legitimately. This obviously varies depending on the industry you are in but is definitely something to consider on your checklist. The relevant government body connected to your industry can advise you on which qualifications are required for your chosen profession.
legalities of setting up The type of business you set up determines the tax you pay. From a legal point of view, owning your own business can leave you fully liable, if you are the sole trader, for any debts. If you launch your business as a partnership, both partners are liable. The status of your company and how you choose to set it up is a personal decision, but you can opt to separate your business from your private life by forming a private limited company. Although this involves meeting wider tax requirements, the company itself is responsible for any debts, not you personally.
Photo: Dragan Sutevski
It may be textbook advice but you cannot go wrong with efficient bookkeeping. The last thing you need when you’re trying to grow your business is to run into trouble with HM Revenue & Customs. A thorough filing system will allow you to keep records for tax purposes and avoids a lot of stress if you ever fall victim to an investigation. It’s worth considering what type of payment your company will primarily be taking. Once you have got this figured out, you can then assess what different banks have to offer and ensure you will not be charged for paying in.
qualifications and certificates
d i o v a s o l l t a f w t i o p H d r a c s s e n i s any bu n in o p a e w ur tant o r y o e p k m a i An al, m n e s end i r r f a t s g e n i t b new r marke u o y d car s s e n i s u b
n the age of blogs, emails and social networks, are business cards really important any more? You bet. The humble business card offers a substantial and useful takeaway from face-to-face encounters with prospective clients or suppliers. A business card may be a simple concept, but it’s one that can easily go wrong. A bad or forgettable business card equates to a bad or forgettable business. You only have one small rectangle of paper to reflect your entire business ethos, and we’re here to show you how.
Typography We read so much on a daily basis that type is something we often gloss over. But each font has a distinct personality and readers pick up on this without even realising it. To highlight the pitfalls, I present to you a case-study: Comic Sans. Poor Comic Sans was created as a friendly, readable font, but pops up in increasingly inappropriate places. On a child’s birthday invitation, Comic Sans is right at home, but a health leaflet or tombstone are just two of the places Comic Sans should never be seen. Simon Garfield’s book about fonts, Just My Type, highlights the importance of choosing the right type setting. “When designing a ‘do not enter’ sign, the use of a heavily stroked, attention commanding font such as Impact or Arial Black is appropriate,” he says.
“Typesetting such a message in Comic Sans would be ludicrous.” Consider what sort of message you want your business to convey first and then find a font with the same personality. Capital letters might seem a good option to get noticed, but they rarely are. EVEN WITH THE MOST INNOCENT OF INTENTIONS, YOU WILL APPEAR TO BE SHOUTING AT THE READER, and this can be off-putting. Try to stick with regular case letters. Even when you have found the perfect font, one that matches the tone of your business to a tee, it doesn’t count for anything if it’s illegible. The person holding your business card needs to be able to decipher your name and contact details with ease or the whole process of giving them the card has been wasted.
Using the wrong font can have disastrous consequences for your business
28 | UpStart
Content So you’ve chosen your font. It’s not Comic Sans (unless you are a child minder or a clown, in which case we will let you off). But what do you write? The basics should all be there: the company name, your name, and what you do. Contact details need to be present and prominent: it’s imperative you are easy to reach so include an email address, website and phone number. Unless absolutely necessary, think twice before including postal addresses and social media details to avoid a cluttered card. Lastly, your card should contain a unique selling point. Why should the person holding it contact you? Your business card should reflect what makes your company stand out.
Distribution Once you have spent some time deciding on each of these factors, you should have created a business card you are proud to call your own. And this leads us nicely to the final point: distribution. There’s no point having a beautiful, functional business card if nobody ever sees it. Keep a few on hand in your wallet, as you never know when you might need them. And remember, even though you want to show them off like a proud parent, the pizza delivery man doesn’t need or want one. Make sure they are distributed thoughtfully to people who will help your business.
Feel The feel of a business card is often just as important as what is on it. If it feels flimsy like paper, it’s not wallet friendly and could easily be scrunched up and tossed in a bin. A business card should be just that: card. Not only is it harder to scrunch up and dispose of, but a card with a high quality finish feels professional, which in turn will make your company appear professional. Homemade cards may save you money in the short run, but dodgy printing and wonky edges will give the impression that your business is just as slapdash.
Visuals Visuals are a great way to make a business card eye-catching and memorable. A logo is always a good addition and should explain in a visual way what your business does. A splash of colour is also a surefire way to get your business card noticed; bright colours will always stand out in comparison to a plain white business card, but keep it simple. The readability of your card should be at the forefront of your design. A coloured background or font can look great but these need to contrast with each other to be readable; for example, avoid white writing on a grey background.
For more business card dos and don’ts, point your cursor towards jomec.co.uk/upstart
Studies have shown that the colour red stands out the most. Even just a flash of red on your card will get you noticed.
For designers, artists or marketers, pushing the boundaries of the traditional business card is a great way to reflect your creativity. Thinking outside the four corners of a regular card is something to consider in the creative industry, but otherwise keep it clean and simple.
A photo of yourself can add a memorable, personal touch if you are a small company QR codes or freelancer. Make sure it’s of professional Printing a QR code can be a great idea quality though. for tech-based startups. A quick scan and customers will be taken online to information about your company. It’s probably wise to have all the relevant information elsewhere on the card though, as not everyone is on board with QR technology. Leave these to Myspace
Looking the business:
HTML giving you a headache? Fear not, as UpStart looks at the best web development services for coding novices
he internet has changed the world as we know it, and in doing so has redesigned the face of business. Since its creation, information has been made readily available to users at the click of a button, making it a key tool for startups and established companies alike. In today’s tech-savvy world, it’s necessary for businesses to have a website, providing potential customers with information about products or services. On a more basic level, it’s also a key tool in making yourself visible and available to the online community. Without a website, your company may well be losing out on potential clients, which is bad news for business. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford an all-singing, all-dancing website; web development is expensive and even if you wanted to build it yourself, learning HTML coding can bring back unwanted flashbacks of having to learn GCSE French all over again. Luckily, help is at hand. Web hosting sites now make it easy for you to build your company website in just a few clicks. UpStart looks at three of the leading services on the net to see what they can do for you and your business.
With the help of these sites, your business could flourish
30 | UpStart
Web development services
Since launching in 2000, Moonfruit has become the UK’s number one web hosting site. When it first started out, the site was funded by advertising alone but, like many successful startups Moonfruit managed to build itself a wealth of customers and a great reputation to boot. As a result, it now has 3.5m subscribed users to fund the site. In September last year, the London-based company turned over an impressive £3.82m. Pretty inspiring stuff for a one-time startup.
Moonfruit uses SiteMaker, a website construction tool that enables users with no technical experience in web design to build their
own website to a high and personalised standard. With no need for prior knowledge of HTML coding, Moonfruit provides an easy to navigate service, allowing you to customise the style and layout of your site in a way that will accurately reflect your brand. As a helpful bonus, your site is not only optimised for the web, but for your mobile too, making your website accessible for people at home and on the go. Moonfruit offers a completely free service with the option to upgrade the package. Pricing starts from just £5.10 per month giving you 20Mb of bandwidth. The top end prices rise to a still reasonable £15.94 per month for the max package which has unlimited bandwidth and advanced features.
and refine accordingly. From here, you can expand your site using professional features, including adding an eshop, online videos and a newsletter service. 1&1 also designs its websites to be smartphone and tablet friendly, much like Moonfruit. Another great feature 1&1 provides is its industry news service. Without needing to update anything yourself, the industry news service will provide users of your site with regular news on topics that will interest them including market reports, reviews and issues, all dependent on their needs. Prices are a little steeper, starting at £50 per month, all the way up to a staggering £3000. Nearing the top end of the fees, 1&1 will also provide a search engine marketing service that will make your site more searchable and prominent on the internet.
1&1 The oldest and highest grossing web hosting site on the list, 1&1 was founded in 1988 by German internet company, United Internet. In 2010 the company’s revenue was reported to be a staggering £1.275bn and has over 10m contracts with customers using the service. The company is also well regarded within the industry, winning Best Service Provider by Start Your Business magazine last year, so you know you’re in safe hands.
Unlike the other providers on the list, 1&1 provides a designated business website hosting service, giving you specific tools to enhance your company. You can choose a template from more than 120 business sector specific designs and set up your basic website in less than five minutes, then go on to edit
Founded in 2006 by Israeli entrepreneurs Avishai Abrahami, Nadav Abrahami and Giora Kaplan, Wix went live in 2008 and has gone from strength to strength. With over 14 million websites already created using the service it’s no wonder that the company now has head offices in New York, San Francisco and Dnepropetrovsk (Ukraine). Financially backed by investors, the site offers both free and premium paid packages and was reported to have turned over £25.5m in March 2011.
Using Wix Editor, a drag-and-drop style website construction software created by the company itself, users can simply and quickly build their own website. The software uses
A slick, easy-to-use service that should suit everyone’s budget. The only drawback is that although the service is free at first, their free options are limited. Ultimately you will probably want to sign up for the paid services. Despite this, the low monthly prices mean even Moonfruit’s premium services feel like good value.
As the most experienced company on the list, 1&1 really does deliver. With its inspired industry news service and search engine marketing service, all you need do is sit back and allow 1&1 to bring the recommends customers to you. However, services like this do come at a price, so if you are tempted, be sure you have the finances to back it up.
order.1and1.co.uk Flash and Flex meaning your website will look professional at the click of a button. You can choose from hundreds of customisable, professional templates to suit your brand. Embedding videos, maps and widgets is also available and a real plus. Wix hosts websites on its server for free but, if you choose to use the premium service, your site can benefit from extra storage, an online store and the removal of all Wix branding. You can also create templates for your company’s Facebook page, creating continuity between your page and website, allowing your brand to go that little bit further. Prices for the premium package start at £2.57 per month up to £10.19, dependent on your bandwidth and storage needs.
UpStart verdict This service does have its downsides, namely the abundance of Wix branding on the free package option. However, if you are willing to part with the small charge for the premium package, Wix offers a great deal of tools that will benefit your company in dividends.
switch off SLIDEWAYS THINKING Google transforms its workplace into a productive playground
Does this mean there’s no time for my elevator pitch?
Review: Uprising is a call to arms for marketers Uprising: How to build a brand and change the world by sparking cultural movements by Scott Goodson £18.99 (Mcgraw-Hill)
Movement marketing is a way for businesses to build their brand and perhaps even change the world. Author Scott Goodson is the founder and chairman of the world’s first cultural movement agency, Strawberry Frog, which now has offices in New York, Amsterdam and Sao Paulo. He shares his experience of working with brands such as SmartCar, Pampers, Jim Beam and India’s Mahindra Group.
32 | UpStart
Going beyond traditional advertising by letting the movement control the message, movement marketing usually connects with people through social media. In the book, Scott covers five key steps: how to hone in on the core objectives of your concept; aligning those values with what people are backing; “Light the spark” – creating a culture within your organisation that can embrace and drive a movement; and “Leverage your assets” – providing people with the tools to spread your gospel. A portion of the book sales will be donated to Nanhi Kali – Educate Girls, a charity which supports the education of underprivileged girls in India.
a mural in Buenos Aires to ski gondolas in Zurich, and provide bicycles or scooters for efficient travel between meetings. Google has done away with office cubicles and replaced them with communal workspaces, like sharing cubes, yurts and huddle rooms. Stress negatively affects productivity so Google provides employees with table football, volleyball courts, video games, pianos and gyms that offer yoga classes to de-stress. All Googlers eat healthy lunches at the office cafe and can choose from 19 coffee blends at the “coffee lab”. There are also grassroots employee groups that cater for all interests, including meditation, film, wine tasting and salsa dancing.
Image: Google Press
How many golf balls can you fit in a school bus? How many piano tuners are there in the entire world? Can you explain a database in three sentences to your eightyear-old nephew. If you can answer these interview questions you might have the chance to work in one of Google’s offices. Despite being a big multinational business, Google tries to maintain a small-company feel and has become just as famous for its corporate culture as for its search engine. Google’s HQ in San Francisco is called the Googleplex and its employees are known as Googlers. Google offices have a little local favour from each location, from
The Apprentice returns for its eighth series
Smooth operator: Richard Reed could have the recipe for your success
Sixteen new upstarts compete for Lord Sugar’s investment
and research director Katie Wright, who introduced herself as the “Blonde Assassin”, before promptly transforming into a wilting wall flower. Maria O’Conner, 20-year-old restaurateur who bears a striking resemblance to Stacey Solomon, and 33-year-old shiny suit-clad sales manager Steve Brady also show early promise to become series favourites. The axe of Week One’s episode fell firmly on Bulgarian risk analyst Bilyana Apostolova, who failed to convince Lord Sugar of her business potential despite impressive stories of her days as Head Girl during her teen years. Let us know your thoughts on this year’s bunch and vote for your favourites on the UpStart website.
Image: BBC Media Centre
he Apprentice returned to our screens this week, introducing a brand new set of Britain’s most belligerent business brains. The 16 contestants compete to impress Lord Sugar for the chance to win a £250,000 investment for their startup. As usual, this year’s bunch of hopefuls is packed with relentlessly obnoxious characters that you just love to hate. Highlights so far include 26-year-old Ricky Martin, a self styled business superstar (Apprentice slang for “middle management in recruitment”) who is, in his own words, “the reflection of perfection”. If that isn’t enough to set your gag reflex twitching, Ricky is also a wrestler in his spare time, who goes by the alias of Ricky Hype. He is joined by 26-year-old editorial
The lastest bunch of hopefuls competing for Lord Sugar’s dosh
Keeping up app-earances
UpStart’s pick of the latest app releases
Live Score Addict This is one for the footie fans. Live Score Addict gives in-depth coverage of the 300 most popular leagues and cups in the world and sends you customised push notifications of games as they happen. It also has video highlights and detailed information on goals, cards, substitutions and match statistics. Price: Free footballaddicts.com
Monocle For the discerning smartphone user, Monocle mag’s first mobile app gives you access to its 24-hour radio station, 25/25 city guides and the Monocolumn, a daily bulletin of news and opinion. Radio shows can be downloaded, and you can make your recommendations of places to go. Price: £4.99 monocle.com
Industria Magazine A former editor of Arena magazine has launched Industria, a new iPad-only publication. It covers movies, games, fashion and digital arts. The launch issue is free and features interviews with Paddy Considine and Cameron Crowe. Price: Free facebook.com/IndustriaMagazine
Draw Something Draw Something is the most popular social drawing app, and has been receving plenty of attention recently. It’s basically the mobile version of Pictionary: you draw something and your friends guess what it is. Simple but incredibly fun! Price: Free omgpop.com
Founder of Innocent Smoothies to host an Apprentice style show
e clearly can’t get enough startup TV. BBC3 has commissioned a new series entitled ‘Be Your Own Boss’. The show is fronted by Innocent Smoothies founder Richard Reed, who will be putting forward £1 million of his own money to invest in new businesses. Back in his early twenties, one investor took a chance on Richard and his friends to bring the concept of Innocent Smoothies to life. Now, he wants to invest in and nuture a new wave of young entrepreneurs. On the BBC blog, Richard said, “Twelve years ago my friends and I had an idea for a business but no-one thought it would work and everywhere we went for money we were met with a total dead end. Eventually one man believed in us and invested. Now our business is turning over hundreds of millions of pounds. “I want to do the same for you. I’ve got up to £1 million to invest in the next generation of business superstars. So, if you’re looking for help getting started or even growing what you’ve already got, I could be your man.” The show has been described as the ultimate search for startup stars of the future, for groups of friends with killer ideas, hungry for a shot at life changing investment. To apply, visit couldyoubeyourownboss. apply.twofour.co.uk
Can you tell what it is yet? Draw Something is the latest in time-wasting technology
Tidy office, tidy mind Storage may be essential, but it doesn’t have to be tedious. Get your business in order with our recommendations of the best and boldest units to liven up your office.
Micke, IKEA, £44.99 Micke is a worthwhile purchase if you have very limited office space at home. The drawers are non-locking but are ideal if you are working on something current as they enable you to keep organised with minimal effort.You can also buy the accompanying Micke desk for £59.99.
Personalised Filing Cabinet, Kiki and Bree (available from notonthehighstreet.com), £249
Bisley multidrawer, John Lewis, £150 The Bisley eight drawer cabinet has multi-compartment insert trays for storing small items. Fitted with castors, there is no problem moving this around to suit your space and avoid the tedious job of unloading if you ever needed to relocate it.
This quirky cabinet adds a personal touch and would fit perfectly into a rustic home office. The personalised design definitely livens up what can often be a boring piece of office furniture. A4 Drawer Filing cabinet, Staples, £50 Staples’ steel construction cabinet with two lockable drawers is sturdy, reliable and considerably cheaper than many of its competitors. There is less manoeuvrability with this one, but the drawers offer plenty of space for a flexible storage option, especially if you are just starting out.
24 Discover hoursthein... Scottish capital beyond its Fringe eat
play Underground tours 28 Blair Street, EH1 1QR When the working day comes to a close, why not spend your evening doing something a little daring? Explore the candlelit, underground vaults beneath the streets of Edinburgh. Mercat Tours provide a range of ghost and history tours that will introduce you to the city’s dark past in an eerie setting. mercattours.com
Greenmantle 44 West Crosscauseway, EH8 9JP A delightfully traditional pub, with a rustic interior, Greenmantle offers a wide selection of ales and a hearty menu. It’s renowned for its ‘Puddledub’ buffalo burgers, or its comforting homemade hotpot. Food is served until midnight so there is no chance of going hungry after a long day in the office. greenmantlepub.co.uk
Viva Mexico 41 Cockburn Street, EH1 1BS If it’s not traditional Scottish cuisine you’re after, then Viva Mexico is worth a trip. The restaurant prides itself on sourcing local produce to generate an authentic menu. The speedy service and cheap and cheerful lunch promotion will be sure to keep your day on schedule. They even offer to serve your starter with your main if you’re in a serious hurry. viva-mexico.co.uk
Walking the Royal Mile During your stay, you can’t miss out on walking the Royal Mile from the Scottish Parliament building to Edinburgh castle, situated atop the volcanic Castle Rock. Even if you don’t have the time to embark on a tour inside the castle grounds, you can still enjoy panoramic views of the city from the castle entrance. It’s certainly worth the climb. edinburghcastle.gov.uk Check out the Scotch Whisky Experience beneath the Castle, dedicated to the 300-year history of the tipple
23 Melville Street EH3 7PE 23 Melville Street offers serviced offices with a touch of class. A boutique business with a distinctive style. Situated in the heart of the West End, it’s close to the historic landmarks of Princes Street Gardens and Charlotte Square. Rooms and hot desks are available for hire, charged at an hourly rate. 23melvillestreet.co.uk Workshop space £45 per hour Meeting space £16 per hour The Melting Pot, 5 Rose Street, EH2 2PR The Melting Pot provides spaces and services enabling individuals and companies to connect, work and hold events. Located in the heart of Edinburgh, it offers half and full day passes for use of its facilities, including office space, Wi-Fi and plug-in for a laptop. For an extra fee you can rent workshop and meeting spaces at an hourly rate. themeltingpotedinburgh.org.uk
Hot desks £10 per hour £60 per day
Malmaison 1 Tower Place, EH6 7BZ A former seaman’s mission, Malmaison is a boutique hotel situated near the docks in Edinburgh. It’s easy to drive to and has great transport links into the city, a return bus ticket will cost you less than £2 and take you into the heart of the city. The hotel is approximately a 30 minute taxi ride from Edinburgh airport. Rooms Business package from £25 per night. includes standard malmaison.com double bedroom, continental breakfast, welcome drink, internet access and Piries Hotel newspaper delivery 4-8 Coates Garden, EH12 5LB This three-star hotel has a central location which will help save on pesky transport costs during your stay. Its Victorian architecture spans three, tastefully combined, townhouses and includes spacious rooms with modern décor. It’s located close to the main tourist attractions and plenty of restaurants. Double room available from £36 per night pirieshotel.com
Several Scottish banks issue their own bank notes. While you shouldn’t have trouble changing them in shops immediately south of the border, it may prove difficult further afield.