I was recently invited to appear on BBC Radio Scotland’s Call Kaye programme to discuss the highs and lows of starting your own business.
Presenter Kaye Adams was joined in the studio by business guru Andy, with me on the phone from the in-laws’ house. Fraser Doherty also joined for part of the show to talk about the runaway success of his SuperJam brand, which was really interesting to hear.
We started off discussing the increasing number of people who are going into business for themselves after being made redundant. It seems that I’m far from the only peron affected by the coalition government’s cost cutting measures aimed at cutting down the size of government departments. I fell that those in the public sector are at a slight disadvantage because while I was part of a large and incredibly gifted network of web and WordPress professionals, this network became useless when I had to leave the public sector.
What this policy has in fact created is a large group of very talented ex-civil servants competing for the much reduced amount of public sector work which is now available.
While competition is healthy in every marketplace (let’s not talk about transport or energy for now) it makes starting a new business even harder. We are coming into the private sector as outsiders, whose professional networks have been shattered by ruthless cuts and whose cost of living is rising every day.
Thankfully, everybody else’s costs of living are also rising. This is where small businesses can offer the best solutions in tough economic times. With lower overheads and greater adaptability, small businesses are proving to be the most cost effective way for large organisations to outsource. Particularly in the creative industries, where large conglomerates have long held sway because of the relative ease of framework and call-down contracts, value for money is now becoming the key driver.
It was really interesting to hear from Fraser, who’s in a completely different industry, how he had built up from making jam to sell at fayres and fetes, to supplying the country’s largest supermarkets. The concept is the same – if you have a high quality, value for money product people will be prepared to buy it.
It was a great experience to chat with some very experienced business people, and also to have an opportunity to plug my work to a national audience – let’s hope it helps to tackle some of the issues we discussed.
The show is available on iPlayer, but only for a week.