SMEs are considered to be the backbone of the UK economy, and with more and more tech startups appearing across the nation, how easy is it to start your own business?
Databax, an SME who provides cloud hosting services to other UK SMEs, recently caught up with Alex O’Byrne, director of WeMakeWebsites, creators of bespoke e-commerce websites for design-led retail business, to find out about the creation of their business.
What made you decide to create WeMakeWebsites?
Piers and I were sick of our corporate jobs, which must say a lot about the finance sector as we only worked there for less than 2 years after graduating. We opted out of corporate life and chose to use our skills in a way that was more enjoyable and seemed to have more immediate and meaningful impact. The first few clients for our web design business came from gumtree ads and local business networks, but now most of our business comes from our search engine presence and from our position as the top rated expert in Shopify, an e-commerce platform. We chose to focus on e-commerce because it’s hard to do well and because we can make a direct positive impact to our clients. It’s a lot easier to build a case study when you can state the increase in conversion rate or order volume.
What has been the biggest achievement of WeMakeWebsites?
I am proud of our whole team, which has double in size this year and is now the driving force behind the business. I am pleased with our online following, with over 20,000 online retailers reading our blog every month, but I’d like to increase this, triple it even so that we become more widely known as a valuable source of information for independent online retailers. Half our effort goes in to publishing, which replaces a traditional sales/marketing setup. As people follow our content and sign up on our newsletter they get to know and trust us. Spending time on content also increases our coverage on Google. The result of this is that the enquiries are all ‘inbound’ rather than having to cold call or grow through word of mouth alone. We just provide advice and this leads to sales. This approach is fairly original and something I’m happy we got to work as it’s much more effective, honest and fun than traditional sales.
What are your thoughts on the importance of SMEs to the UK economy?
I don’t know the statistics but I’m sure there is a positive financial impact of so many SMEs starting and flourishing now that the costs of starting a business are so low. I’d look beyond that though, to the impact of having so many people running small businesses that are getting something out of it that they didn’t have before. It seems to be a growing trend and I’m not sure why, perhaps due to the financial crisis, perhaps due to the increasing coverage of entrepreneurial endeavours and initiatives like Tech City. It’s also easier than ever before to start a business – that doesn’t mean it’s easy though!
If you are a tech innovator or an aspiring digital entrepreneur with a vision of starting your own business venture, take on board the free business insights and advice featured on the skyje blog.