Your Name and Age: Nicola Read – 43
Tell us about your family – I live in Derbyshire with John who is Dad to Jack age 6.
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
I am an artist producing original contemporary fine art (oil and acrylic on canvas – see www.nicolaread.co.uk). I am also a practising Reiki Master and own a holiday apartment in Ilfracombe, North Devon which can be rented out to groups of 10-18 people.
When did you launch?
We launched the product “fun to spot…on the motorway” in December 2010, although the company was in existence for a few months before that.
How did you get started?
I made a simple book for my little boy to keep him entertained on car journeys. It proved so successful with his friends and other parents that I decided to self-publish it. There was nothing else like it available on the market. I had some samples of card mocked up and bound into a book and took advice from our chosen printer about things like pagination, quality of card, binding etc.
What research did you do before launching?
I had a fair amount of legal advice to ensure that the idea was protected. It was a relatively expensive part of the set up cost, but worth it! I did some research on setting up a professional, fully functioning website as this is an area I have no expertise in. Again it was a considerable set up cost, and it was time consuming interviewing several website designers to ensure they had the capacity and ability to fulfil my requirements. www.iceberginternet.co.uk were the company that won my business. Their committment and flexibility to the way I work has been exceptional.
How have you funded the business?
So far the business is self-funded from mine (and my partner’s) other business interests.
How do you promote your business? What has worked best?
I am a member of a networking group where you actively promote each other’s businesses. I have advertised in several local publications that go directly into children’s school bags. However the best thing so far has been sending out press releases. Most (not all) of these contacts have come from subscribing through Twitter to @parentmedia and www.parentingmediacontacts.co.uk .
What has worked well about your business?
Being prepared! I have tried to think ahead about business growth and how I will cope with expansion. It is already happening. It has obviously helped that the product is not only unique but is also really great!
What has been your biggest challenge so far? How have you dealt with it?
Being interviewed on the radio! I was very nervous but the interviewer was lovely. I hope I dealt with it professionally!
How do you fit in work with the family?
Luckily I have an incredibly supportive partner (John) who is very good at changing his schedule where he can to accommodate school runs and being around when it is necessary. However he has always been amazing at this and we are lucky that grandparents step up whenever we need them to as well.
What advice would you give to someone else wanting to work in this area?
Think ahead about what you think you may need to have in place for your product sales to expand with ease. Also, have a plan (in your head at least) for where you see it going and be constantly thinking of ways to achieve it!
Your website link. www.badgerandbullrush.com