Muddy Funkster: Stuart Badman
Stuart Badman saw the nation's obsession with Sudoku as a business opportunity.
Sudoku is the puzzle craze that has swept the country vexing the minds of young and old alike. Stuart Badman, founder of Muddy Funkster, cottoned on to the nation’s new addiction and has created his own ’Sudoku puzzle game and solver’.
Name: Stuart Badman Age: 35 Business: MuddyFunksters Type of business: Software Development Start date: 14/04/05
When did you first decide you wanted to start your own business? I have wanted to run my own business, but decided to get more experience in the software industry first, for my own confidence and to ensure a steady income.
Tell us about your business. MuddyFunksters is currently owned and run by solely by me. I am an enthusiast and as a developer have worked on commercial products for almost 15 years.
Was it your first business idea and where did it come from? I have had many business ideas, too many to count, I can see opportunities everywhere but unfortunately have never acted upon them. My first major idea was for a ‘school reunion’ type website that never came to anything, a year before FriendsReunited was launched.
Was your decision to start a business inspired by any other companies or individuals? I am inspired by several individuals; I think Bill Gates is an extremely shrewd business man, but mostly by my father who has always run his own business.
What makes you think there’s a market for your business? I have studied the market and believe I can offer better products and service than what is currently available. As for our launch product ‘Sudoku Puzzle Game and Solver’, well Sudoku is currently the biggest craze that is all over the newspapers and book charts.
Once you’d decided to start a business, what did you do first?Created the ‘Sudoku Puzzle Game and Solver’ game, designed my own website and launched a small advertising campaign.
What research did you do? I researched other game offerings in the market and the expected demand. Also through analysis of other similar business’
What advice did you seek? I have approached Business Link in the past regarding another Business a friend and I were thinking about starting. I find much of the government advice on starting a business to only cover the very basic details and short on substance.
What other help did you get? I have found that talking to friends, people in newsgroups and web forums such as the Startups.co.uk forum offers the best advice.
Does the government need to provide more help to people trying to start a business? Yes, finding funding for a business venture seems to be almost impossible and more support should be offered. The amount of Red tape created by this government is excessive.
Talk us through the process of writing your business plan. I used a very basic business plan this time around. I used Business Plan Pro for the outline and to plan the business offerings which was excellent. Also some of the guides offered by the high street banks are quite good.
How useful has your business plan been and do you think you’ll stick to it as your business begins to grow? I will revisit my business plan as the business grows. It helps to focus you in the right direction.
How much did it cost to start the business? Lots of time mostly, start-up costs were minimal.
How did you fund this? From my own funds, I am still employed full time.
Have you made any provisions for business not being as prosperous as expected? Revisit the business plan and keep looking for more opportunities.
Are you working from home or from premises? From home. Lack of time is the biggest hurdle.
How are you managing your day and what steps have you taking to ensure you’re able to get everything done without working around the clock? I work around the clock, but make the most of my weekends.
Is the amount of red tape that comes with taking on an employee something that concerns you? Yes there is too much of it. I will ignore what I can and deal with it when necessary, much of it is produced and processed by an army of government paper pushers.
What marketing and advertising have you done so far? All online marketing and advertising. E.g. Google Adwords, Press releases via PRWeb and submitting my software to the major software sites.
Where do you hope to be in 12 months time? An established business with a number of solid products on offer.
What are the main obstacles to growth? Time and funding.
How do you plan to overcome these? A partnership with several like minded people to share the work.
Tell us about your website. I designed it myself, it will probably go through a redesign at some point. As I intend to sell games from here targeted at home users. I will set up a separate site to target a commercial audience. It is very important as currently the majority of my business is via the site. The most difficult part of the design were the graphics and trying to get the right look.
What have you found difficult about starting up and what do you wish you’d done differently? Started earlier.
So what advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting a business?Go for it.