YorkshireDesigns.com: Gareth Ellis

The IT expert talks Startups through his burgeoning web design company

Name: Gareth Ellis
Age: 33
Company: YorkshireDesigns.com
Staff numbers: 2
Location: Halifax
Date launched: 01/07/2013

Tell us what your business does:

We provide the best value small business website design around. Our mission is to help all businesses have a presence online. We help them succeed by giving them access to our skillset and making it very affordable.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

Really it was out of frustration. I think maybe there is a place for higher end web design if your company has a large budget, but at the same time web designers will say ‘content is king.’ If that is the case where has a £2,000 budget for a website come from? We recognise a website’s purpose is to add value to your business. We are open and honest and the cost covers the work we do. By being efficient we can pass the savings onto the customer.

How did you know there was a market for it?

I’d worked on a few sites and had a dozen friends asking for help. It just grew from there. They passed my name onto their friends and it really is just like rolling a snowball and gathering momentum. I’m still gathering momentum a few months down the line.

What were you doing before starting up?

I worked as a network administrator for a large international company. I’d been doing a lot of web design in my own time already and thought now was the time to give it a shot or I never would. So I just took the leap. I’m still very confident I will achieve my goals and dreams; it’s just a matter of time.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

I’ve been mulling over this idea for the last five years. The real drive for me came when I was expecting my first baby. I want the family time, health and quality of life that working from home offers.

How did you raise the money?

Well the beauty of it is I didn’t have to. We have very, very, low overheads. I saved up a little each month for two years to have some cash in the bank, just by sacrificing niceties and takeaways and scrimping a little and it’s all been completely worth it.

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

The hardest part was starting in the first place. I don’t really get tired or loose enthusiasm because I’m doing what I love. I think there are so many opportunities around and to be a part of the journey with other small businesses is really a dream. I get a lot of satisfaction out of others doing well, which is what my business is all about.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

We offer honesty, value and a unique way to pay. Just pay us for hosting your site and we will throw in the design for free, at £4.99 a month over 24 months. If it’s going well you can renew or you can choose to cancel. We don’t have any hidden costs. We make money by having a large volume of customers not by overcharging a few.

What was your first big breakthrough?

The real breakthrough was in figuring out I could build a site essentially volunteering my time and spreading the payment for the customer. In employment this doesn’t make any difference to me, but it massively benefits the customer. I just have to be patient to get paid in full.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Have customers before you even start, then you know it’s a no brainer. Once you have a dozen locally you know that if you can sell in person you can sell online and then it’s just a matter of getting the word out. Do something different and offer real business value to others.

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

In five years I want to have 500 customers and be employing a few staff, so I can concentrate on expanding into other online based services. The more customers we have the more value we can add to our customer base. I’d like to be a trusted and reputable brand.

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