Mobility Buy: Shane Bratby
The founder of Mobilitybuy.com on why starting a business gave him a new lease of life
Company name: Mobility Buy Website: www.mobilitybuy.com Founders: Shane Bratby Age: 25 Based: Doncaster Staff Numbers: 4 Date started: 15/07/2008
Tell us what your business does: I have three elements to my business which complement each other. Firstly, a website and brands “Mobilitybuy.com” which also incorporates “shoppin4u.uk.com”. This is an information and shopping website providing a portal to the other disability and elderly consumer services and a high street mobility shop.
Currently, the services are primarily marketed to and focused on the local area, although with the internet, certain services such as shopping are not geographically bound. Mobilitybuy.com supplies products to customers worldwide.
What appealed most about being your own boss? For a time after college, whilst struggling to look for a job, I ended up suffering from depression. Effectively, I was told that I would earn more from staying on disability benefits and was encouraged to resign myself to this. I could not accept this and was determined to prove to myself, and others that I could succeed. This prompted me to consider starting a business, which was adapted around me. I enjoy selling and recognised that I had the advantage of knowing about the challenges disabled people face. I wanted to help people in a similar situation to myself and above all, I wanted to provide for my family's future.
What planning did you do before you started up?I did a lot of research in my area which confirmed my thoughts about opening a mobility shop in my town. I also went on a business start up course with Doncaster Chamber to learn the basics.
How did you raise the money? I got rejected a couple of times by the bank. My friends helped me out and I did a little saving up.
What has your growth been like? Our turnover is £15,000 per year, and £1000 profit per year, after all the bills. I expect our profit to rise to £5000 in year 20010/2011.
What's the impact on your home life been like? Very good, the business keeps my mind occupied so I don't worry about my ongoing disability.
What would you say the greatest difficulty has been in starting up? Getting funding, definitely.
What was your first big breakthrough? Finding a shop two minutes from my home with a ground floor toilet which I can access in my wheelchair. It was a sign!
What would you do differently? Don't stick with just one supplier. Always look for others.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs? Screw it, just do it.
Where do you want to be in five years' time? I would like to franchise my business to people who are disabled.