Miquando: Nigel Jones
Tell us what your business does:
MiQuando.com connects local businesses with local people. Our local online directory lets you list your business details for free with the added ability to offer online booking for your customers for just £1 per booking made online.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
After playing telephone tag for two days trying to arrange an appointment with a very busy physiotherapist, the thought occurred that there must be an easier way to arrange an appointment that is more convenient for the customer and the business.
How did you know there was a market for it?
Lots of research gaining feedback from both business owners and more importantly consumers which told us this is what the customer wants.
What were you doing before starting up?
Co-owner of an IT services business providing services to clients in the Isle of Man, UK, Ireland, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
It's always been there as a deep-rooted desire, but was helped by a redundancy process back in 2007.
How did you raise the money?
The money has been raised from our own savings, so right now we are debt free – we'd like to keep it that way, but expansion costs money and we will look at that when and if we need to.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Challenges are constant in the start-up process and early days. I think convincing ourselves to commit to starting another business was a challenge until we had done our research and had our numbers challenged and reviewed. Brand awareness and growth are our next big challenges – we haven't overcome them just yet!
Describe your business model and how you make money:
The business model is probably best described as ‘freemium' in that the base products and services are totally free to use. If you want to take advantage of enhanced features, advertising or marketing tools, then fees apply, albeit at very competitive rates.
What was your first big breakthrough?
I guess we're still working on this one.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Do your research, prepare a business plan and get someone independent to review it, then be prepared to commit yourself completely to your new venture.
Where do you want to be in five years' time?
Taking MiQuando.com global.