Think Little Big: Kaz Driver and Anshal Patel
Think Little Big provides digital marketing services to accountants and financial advisors
Name of founders: Kaz Driver and Anshal Patel
Location: Yorkshire, UK and India
Date launched: January 2020
Number of employees: 1 in the UK and working with a team of 3 in India
Age of founders: Over 40!
Kaz Driver describes how a marketing background and time spent working in India, along with a chance conversation with former colleagues, led to the launch of Think Little Big.
Tell us what your business does:
We work with accountants and financial advisors to help them to ‘unleash the potential of their brand'. What this means is that we provide dedicated and targeted digital marketing assistance, which includes: website audits, SEO (local and wider), website design and development, content writing, social media, email and so on.
We work with our clients to understand the growth potential of their business and put a plan in place to help them to achieve it. We also help with the more traditional marketing support such as branding, exhibitions, leaflets etc.
We pride ourselves on helping companies which frequently have no internal marketing input to professionally present themselves to grow their business and their profitability.
Where did the idea of your business come from?
I had headed up a marketing team in an outsourcing company in India which provided services to accountants and therefore had a clear understanding of the sector.
Part of my rather skilled marketing team in India had gone on to set up their own marketing services business and a chance conversation about opportunities of working together again just developed. We met up at a marketing event in London late last year and the plans started there.
How did you know there was a market for it?
Having worked for a short time with another Indian outsourcing company who wanted to provide digital marketing services to accountants, I had looked in earnest at the situation that many accountants and financial advisors find themselves in: they are professionals operating in their sphere of expertise. And whilst they may be in a position to advise other companies on growth and what they need to do, they are pretty poor at taking this advice on themselves and marketing their own business.
We have positioned ourselves as a company there to help our clients. Why? There are a number of companies out there providing rather poor website services; syndicated content and social media which does absolutely nothing for the accountant's business i.e. it drives no traffic to their websites.
I feel it is a bit like me going into a garage with a problem with my car's engine and being told it has been fixed and I need to spend X thousand pounds on it. I do not know what they have done nor whether it was worth the amount they are charging me. There are companies like that in digital marketing and particularly SEO – it is all ‘under the bonnet', so to speak. It makes people quite distrustful of the industry.
There are definitely accountants and financial advisors who welcome the opportunity to work with a company that has an interest in helping them and their business in a clear and upfront way and at an affordable investment.
What were you doing before starting up?
I have worked in marketing for ever, heading up teams in a number of companies and sectors and working across digital and traditional marketing. I have always worked on the client side and taking that step into agency/consultancy seemed the obvious next move.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
No, to be honest, I have always liked the security of a regular payslip. But it is easy to get stale working for the same business, focusing on the same products and services: it loses its challenge.
So this is an exciting but slightly scary move and is certainly motivating me to turn on my business development skills.
How did you raise the money?
I haven't. The initial overheads are being kept very low, using free services where available. I put in a small amount of my own money for initial costs such as paying the accountant etc. But I have picked up clients early on and so far I haven't needed to call in additional cash.
Describe your business model and how you make money.
Delivering digital services to clients in the main requires an investment of mine and the team's time, not physical resources. We are all based at home so have minimal overheads. Where third party services are required, we invoice upfront so don't have to carry these costs. So our profitability comes from the mark-up on our time – and this covers a planned growing investment in software etc.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Developing a business development role. I have always been in marketing, working closely and supporting my business development colleagues. But now, the only way we are going to grow the business is to attract clients – cue, business development person.
To be honest, it isn't as bad as I expected and in fact I think people respond to my ‘I am not a salesperson' positioning. I take time to explain how we work, understand their issues, and work through solutions with them. I follow up but don't pester because I remember how that would turn me off of a supplier. So, so far, so good.
What was your first big breakthrough?
We were so lucky that someone I worked with was in the process of setting up their own outsourcing company. So we have taken the whole account – new website, social media, SEO, regular blogs – and working with him as his company grows. He got some very special pricing but it has allowed us to develop the company with him. It also means we can immediately show what we can do.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Definitely start in a sector or area of business you know and know well. Starting your own business means you need to learn so many different skills – if you are working in a safe area, at least that is something you don't have to add to the list.
Where do you want to be in five years' time?
I would like to have a good core of regular clients whereby I can see the growth and profitability the company has delivered and use that as a testament to other companies wanting to use us.
I would like to see the team in India grow and widen the range of services we provide. I would like to have employed someone in the UK to support me and someone in a business development role so I can focus on account management. I would like the company to be financially secure.
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