Web Design Blog : Toolkit Websites

Web Design Blog

Starting your business

The idea of starting your own business may sound daunting, but a lot of people have done it... and succeeded! We have our very own little success story:

"Marcus Green set up the business in 1999 whilst at Southampton University studying Computer Science. Within days of getting his first client, he quit his course and began working on the business full time.

The business, under the name of Green Design, first started building websites specifically for the marine industry. Soon we had a number of high profile clients such as the Volvo Ocean Race, Ellen Macarthur and the Louis Vuitton Cup.

With the bursting of the dot com bubble, and high profile sailing events being cut back, the business had a long hard look at how it wanted to position itself going forward. Marcus and the Team devised a five year plan to diversify the client base from solely marine based clients, to all sectors of service and manufacturing industries. This helped reduce the impact and influence any one client had on our company.

The decision was taken to heavily invest in our proprietary content management system, The Toolkit, an online system that allows clients to update their websites. It was initially developed to allow the website editors of the sailing events to update their websites with the latest news 24 hours a day. It also meant we didn't have to get up in the middle of the night to update the website when Ellen Macarthur was in the middle of the Southern Ocean!

The Toolkit has been adapted from the original brief to allow all our business customers to update all aspects of the website content. As well as having the control of the text and links, our clients can upload PDF's of their brochures, images and video.

An ambitious expansion plan has been adopted to expand our client base from a handful of marine centric clients in and around Southampton to over 2000 clients based all over the UK and Northern Ireland.  The business has now expanded from a home office, to a successful business located in a prestigious head office in Southampton's Carlton Crescent, employing over 10 local people.

The goal of the business is to be the market leader providing websites for Small Businesses. We typically build 5 to 20 page websites which are custom designed and built with our content management system that allows our clients to update their website 24/7 from any computer. Our constant focus on giving remarkable customer service is what separates us from other web designers."

When it comes to starting your own business, you can use the following tips:

1. You will need to settle on an idea that you feel will work and will be profitable. Growth hubs are local public/private sector partnerships led by the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). They join up national and local business support so it is easy for businesses to find the help they need. There is a network of 39 hubs. It might be worth taking a look at the support on offer before embarking on setting up a business of your own.

2. You will need to take a look at protecting your intellectual property. This protects the idea for your business or the product you have invented from it being copied or replicated.

3. You will need to research the market, develop and plan, find partners and suppliers, set up your business as well as the legal structure and register for tax and you then may need to get funding. 

The Direct Gov website has a host of information that you need when setting up and creating a new business.

Good luck!