“The three of us had hoped to be able to expand a lot quicker than we have so it’s been disappointing at times when we’ve had these grand plans but finance has been limited,” she says. “Keeping morale up has been difficult when we’ve been frustrated by the long sales process or have gone for new business and then have been turned down." That’s not to say there haven’t been highs: the company’s business plan has had to change to accommodate an unforeseen revenue stream. Bryan explains: “One area that really took off that we didn’t expect was making audio guides for other people and companies such as Warner Brothers. We did a guide of the Fleet Street area for promotion of the movie Sweeney Todd.” Bryan and her two co-founders started the company because they had a passion for London and wanted to heighten the experience of walking around the capital. Soundmap launched with audio guides for three walks around London but now has five that can be bought. The guides, which can be downloaded from the company’s website, contain interviews, music and stories and are narrated by someone linked to the area. Turnover is currently £70,000; Bryan and her colleagues intend to grow that figure by raising finance to fund expansion. “We need to keep abreast of things like mobile and GPS technology and integrate our technology with that,” she says. “We funded the venture 100 per cent with directors’ loans and haven’t had to go to the bank. But we’ve now reached a limit for production with the staff we’ve got so ideally we’d like to raise some money.” Picture source
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