Telling the truth about SME life today

From new venture to real business: Actionable finance advice from UK startups

Finally, we spoke to Tanya Dale from Cost Saving Marketing. As the managing director of a marketing agency that provides affordable outsourced marketing services, with no contract or overhead employees, we learned how she turned her company into a real business.

What made you decide to start the business

I spent ten years of my life working as a departmental marketing manager for a range of companies internationally. My work with small businesses in the UK made me realise that although SMEs in the UK are the diamonds in our economy, they face real obstacles finding the finances to invest in marketing, advertising and PR all the marketing techniques which make a brand strong and a business grow.

In 2014 I decided to quit my job as a departmental marketing manager and focus on helping small businesses blossom via offering them a cost-effective outsourced marketing services which are focused on driving sales and developing a strong brand.

How did you finance the business

I started my business with literally no investment. I worked from my spare bedroom and I used my old laptop to create a website and start marketing my services. I registered as a sole trader in the beginning so I didn’t have to pay an accountant.

Being a digital marketing agency means we can provide all marketing services online from coaching clients via virtual conference calls to designing and delivering printed materials such as branded products and leaflets. Our entire team is virtual and this means we don’t have office overheads to absorb.

The savings we make from operating in the virtual space we pass to our customers and create affordable cost-saving marketing services for them which deliver incredible ROI.

Did you face any financial difficulties and how did you overcome them

We didn’t really have any financial difficulties. A business obstacle we faced was scaling up the business. The reason why our services are so popular is because they are very flexible and there is no minimum contract to sign. We offer hourly and ad-hoc based virtual marketing support. This is a great selling point which brought many new clients but it means we don’t always have stable monthly income we could re-invest into the growth of the business.

To overcome this obstacle we decided to offer our services internationally. In order to attract customers internationally we created a new brand called Virtual Marketing Manager. The brand offers completely virtual services to companies internationally. Operating internationally helped us expand our target market and approach a wider audience.

What financial advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking to start a new venture

The best advice I could give entrepreneurs is to spend their time with tasks which add value to the bottom line. When you start a new venture your time will be very limited, you will have many tasks to take care of and many decisions to make.

However, spend your time finding clients and immediate ways to add to the bottom line. Coming up with an exciting logo might be fun but it won’t add a lot to the bottom line and ultimately you’ll have to survive when you start a business. The best way to be successful in business is to be in business.

Portfolio diversification is another great tip. Developing your products and services to appeal to a wider audience, or inventing new ones to access different markets will help you protect yourself against the economic vagaries that can occur regardless of where you live and the country you operate in.

We know how diverse the startup landscape is and Real Business dived into PayPals Start Tank incubator in London to find out why the US firm is providing mentoring support to British ventures without charge.

If you have a business and you wish to drive its success, you should consider managing it following the above knowledge. These interviews act as a great lesson for anybody who is unsure how to turn their business into a real business.

Taking the advice from existing successful companies is a great way to guide your business to its peak. These companies faced the struggles and risks as any company does, but ensured that all the right decisions were made to make their business a real success.

Stephen Verber specialises in corporate finance and heads up the forensic accounting department at Alexander & Co. Stephen is also a member of The Academy of Experts.

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