Tendify: Chris Morris

What started as two graduates' architecture site was launched as an online platform connecting creative freelancers with clients all over the UK

Name: Chris Morris
Age: 28
Company: Tendify
Staff numbers: 2
Location: Glasgow
Date launched: 01/02/2013
Website: www.tendify.com

Tell us what your business does:

Tendify aims to connect creative professionals and freelancers with new clients and projects. Promoting and showcasing our members talent is extremely important to us. We provide online portfolio space and interview one featured member each month.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

As architecture graduates we initially set out to start an architecture practice. We realised the difficulty in finding clients and felt a service like this would have been a great resource to us at that stage.

How did you know there was a market for it?

Although sites to find freelancers exist, they are extremely broad in the industries they support. Being a member of the creative industries ourselves we recognised that a niche site would be beneficial for people looking for the services of creative people.  In a sense we fulfilled our own market research.

What were you doing before starting up?

Both my business partner and I were studying architecture at university. After graduation we were looking to put our skills to work but found limited opportunities in the construction sector given the economy. Studying architecture we were used to trying to solve problems, so decided to have a crack at this one!

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

Personally I’ve always found the notion of working for yourself, being directly accountable for your own success and the freedom that potentially comes with that extremely appealing.

How did you raise the money?

We were fortunate enough as graduates of the University of Strathclyde to be eligible for a grant from Strathclyde Entrepreneurial Network. We had great mentorship there and pitched for funding Dragons’ Den style. We also secured a loan from the Princes Trust for site development.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

Having no marketing experience between us, learning how to promote a new website has undoubtedly been our biggest challenge. If we had known what we know now when we started I feel we’d be much further down the road.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

We are in beta testing at the minute so the service is currently without charge. We will charge subscribers a flat fee in return for viewing and pursuing as many potential job leads as they wish. We are considering teaming up with affiliate companies to provide another revenue stream.

What was your first big breakthrough?

A friend posted a project on the site after I had explained Tendify to him. He received four or five messages from interested parties, successfully appointed a professional and was delighted with the finished work. It was great to see the idea working in action!

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Take time in the early stages to really scrutinise your idea and your business model and be honest with yourself as to whether it can really work. We had a number of other ideas before settling on the Tendify concept.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

Being web based, there are no limits to how large Tendify can grow; the concept is universal. We aim to be an established name within the UK in five years’ time, with the ambition of expanding the site into other countries.

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