Fidelity (Fidelity Solutions Ltd)
Your Name and Age:
Louise Hodge 34Tell us about your family
I live with my husband and our two boys, 5 and 2 ½ in Bedfordshire. I also work with my husband as we are in the business together having started it in 1999 shortly before we got married. The business is really like our first child and competes for attention with the boys.
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
Having been in business for a while before having children I couldn’t claim to be a bone fide Mumpreneur. I have found the transition difficult and I don’t separate business and children easily and I often think about work or check my email when I am at home with the boys. Whilst I have been off with each child in turn the business has been difficult to manage and at times I have been close to chucking it all in.
When did you launch?
We have been a full-service creative agency since 1999 working with small businesses but in 2005 when I found that I was pregnant with our first son it forced us to look hard at what we were doing with our business because it was very much a life style biz, we worked from a home studio and relied on word-of-mouth to get work. We decided we needed a bigger attraction to ensure a flow of customers and decided to go into digital printing which initially took off in 2005.
How did you get started?
We found offices nearby, got a member of staff and did lots of promotion and then I had my son a month earlier than expected and it all stopped. With all of the service that we offered we have always ticked along without much effort but nothing was really happening and we couldn’t work out how to get to the next level. So with a quick fast forward to 2008 following the arrival of son number two I had time at home again and this time I put it to good use. I spent any spare time (not much) learning about how to market my business better. I also started following really big internet marketers and from them I learnt more about business and how to make a profit. When I returned to work for three days a week I only worked on the business. It has taken a considerable amount of time to identify how we could change our business model and then to implement the change but we have recently launched our online print and marketing solutions and we now feel like we have got a proper grown up business.
What research did you do before launching?
We found that there wasn’t anyone else around offering a good quality of pre-designed templates for businesses on their print sites so we concentrated purely on business solutions which are essentially what we do anyway. Equally no one else made any extra effort to assist small businesses with their marketing. So I also developed our online marketing platform FidelityDesigner Suites which gives business owners our FidelityDesigner online design tool wrapped up with a suite of their own personalised marketing materials designed to help them meet their marketing goals.
How do you promote your business? What has worked best?
It is early days just now so I couldn’t say what has worked and what hasn’t. We have shifted our focus from local to national and become internet based so it is whole different ball game. We have found a good SEO company who are slowly but surely pushing fidelityprint.co.uk up the search engines and we do get more traffic but it is a long game and in a very competitive market. I have totted up a 15% click through rate on a client’s Adwords so that is hopefully going to be a successful route for us too. I have experience in video production so I have been using it to create videos for YouTube and other than that I look for places where I can find start-ups and small business owners such as forums and magazines.
What has been your biggest challenge so far? How have you dealt with it?
The biggest problem my business has really is me. I know that to make my business what I know it can be revolves around me being more outgoing and confident. I would love to be able to stand and speak in front of an audience as I had done whilst trying stand-up at Uni but in reality I am very shy and even avoid local networking. My challenge for this year was to take myself out of my comfort zone and try new things personally and in the business which is slowly working. I am going to be interviewed for StartupTV soon, if my nerve holds, so watch this space.
Special discounts for Family Friendly Working Readers:
If you would like to try out my print solutions you can SAVE 20% off of our FidelityDesigner range of business designs with the code ‘MUMSTHEWORD’
Find out more about FidelityDesigner Suites here www.fidelityprint.co.uk/mumstheword to see our Mumpreneur offer.
You can also download our Free Marketing guide here http://www.fidelityprint.co.uk/free-marketing-guide.html