FinderMonkey: Ryan Shaw and John Arko
Ryan Shaw and John Arko on how they started their trace investigation company.
Company name: FinderMonkey.co.uk Website:www.findermonkey.co.uk Founders: Ryan Shaw and John Arko Age: Both 30 Based: Leeds Staff Number: 2 Date started: 01/04/08 Tell us what your business does.
We trace debtors for other businesses and locate lost friends and relatives for the general public. We can also locate owners of unregistered land and buildings and find out company information.
Where did the idea come from?
We both have experience in this sector – John spent many years working in Zurich for Credit Suisse and Ryan worked for Citi Financial in a similar field and for various trace agencies.
How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?
We felt there was a gap in the market for a trace company with a twist – we ask potential business clients to send us the cases their current trace company or internal department can’t find – so in effect, we’re asking for the cases no one else can solve. We’re comfortable with that, though, because we have state of the art databases and expertise.
We also offer a bespoke service, so if clients don’t see what they want on the site, they can send us an email and we should be able to help.
What planning did you do before you started up?
Once we decided to set this company up, we went into a period of serious planning – we promised ourselves we wouldn’t rush the process.
The initial business plan was written over two years ago, and since then we have amended it several times. We have sought advice from a number of sources including an accountant, a solicitor, Yorkshire bank business account manager and, of course, family and friends
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
My advice is to be patient: once you have your idea, you need to refine it and find out if it’s worth doing – can you see yourself working on your new idea constantly? Findermonkey has been two years in the making – two years of constant reviewing and setbacks.
Even though we’re great friends, John and I are very different people – but our skills complement each other so well, so we make important decisions together and I know that the company would be half what it is without him. In the past I have been in a business partnership with someone who was very similar to myself and although we were good friends, it didn’t work out – so don’t pick a business partner because you like them. You need to complement each other’s skill sets.