Adrian Reeves

Adrian Reeves rode the storm to make a huge success of website provider

There are countless stories of online businesses that suffered a painful fall when the bubble burst mid-flight. Adrian Reeves, founder of, is a significant ‘survivor’ having endured the changing attitudes to online businesses, from rejection to hyperbole to recession to widespread public acceptance.

Initially turned down for financing by banks, Reeves and fellow founder Richard Ells were determined that their idea for all-in-one website design, domain registration and email would not shrivel up and die like many of the concepts bandied around during the boom.

The duo’s initial web design firm was rejected by investors but proved massively popular with the thousands of businesses looking to gain an online presence. Reeves and Ells ploughed the profits of the business into their all-in-one web venture and, two years on, now has 14 staff and over 5,000 customers.

The business has been crowned winner of the 2004 Orange Bright Business Award and plans to expand further over the coming year.

However, Reeves admits that the business might have never existed if he hadn’t discuss the idea with Ells when giving his future business partner a lift into work every day.

“We started discussing our plans for the future and we both recognised the internet had huge potential,” he explains. “The idea of developing websites for local businesses developed during the course of our car journeys.

“The concept for came about as a result of our frustrations at the speed at which we could produce sites. It soon became clear we were constrained by the number of websites we could develop in a day.

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“I think it’s fair to say that wouldn’t exist today if we hadn’t taken the initial plunge into website design together.”

With many other companies offering website design at high prices, Reeves felt offering an all-in-one package at a low price – Sitewizard’s fees start at £9.99 a month – would satisfy a small business market that wanted a web presence but were put off by the cost.

“Small businesses suddenly woke up to the idea that the internet was for them too,” he says. “We were building websites for marriage councillors, interior designers through to companies that made shoes for cows!

“With no design meetings and just a quick phone call to start the ball rolling, for time-strapped small firms, the process was also very time efficient.”

Reeves reveals that he has always had an entrepreneurial spirit, yet feels that the government could do more to help businesses, especially in helping them get online.

“I have always wanted to be responsible for my own business decisions rather than acting on other people’s,” he says. “I just needed to find a way to enable me to do this.

“Britain as a nation has a very entrepreneurial spirit but the government could certainly do more to fulfil its objective to make the UK the best place in the world for ecommerce.

“The Sitewizard concept is proof that developing an internet presence does not need to be a time consuming, costly investment.”

Despite this, Reeves feels that a good idea should provide the platform for any budding entrepreneur to succeed.

“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it,” he insists.

“Make sure you give yourself every chance to succeed by reaching the widest audience possible. A good idea has global appeal.

“A compelling website which reflects your brand values translates well in any language.”

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