Welcome to Small Business Chat Saturday, and today it’s with Aled Archer (formerly Al Hunter) from Mobile Remaps, who has been part of the series since January 2012 and then updated in 2013, April 2014. and April 2015, when he told me where he wanted to be by now: “We’re happy with the direction Mobile Remaps is heading at this point in time. If double-digit % month on month growth continues then for now that is what we’ll aim to continue achieving. But to do that we’ll need to refine our advertising, which is something we’re always looking at. And, we’ll need to partner up with more garages we can trust and refer business to (and vice versa).” Let’s see how he’s getting on now …
Hello again, Aled. Sounds like it might have been an interesting year! So, are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
No! Life has gone completely full circle. Following a bitter divorce, I met someone new, moved property 3 times, got married, become a 1st time father and went to Australia to visit family; life has been one HUGE adventure! Despite all of this, business has still grown month on month by approximately 10%. With my new family life, I’m no longer looking to grow the business to franchise it off but to keep it just for the family. There is also the opportunity to return to my Mother Country, which could mean I wind the business down and relocate it in Australia. So this is an option I’m exploring right now.
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
As you’ll gleam from above, very little in my life has stayed the same!
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
Support from family is crucial. The difference in my current life vs previous life is that my new family 100% encourage me to go out there and find the business. In my old life there was support for when things were going well but when times were touch it was a case of ‘when are you going to pack it in?’ That’s not support! Now if I have a concern, I can sit down with family, bounce around a few ideas and listen to their thoughts and encouragement on what direction I should take. So it’s really like having a team!
Because of the new-found support, we’re doing more trade business than ever before, we’ve won yet another award for customer service and I’m finding I no longer have time to contact all customers (which I don’t like!) within my own set time scale of 24hrs from their initial email contact. I’m also finding that because of our growing reputation, customers are contacting us and willing to pay our prices rather than trying to knock us down on price. This has led to a small decrease in advertising costs which again helps a small business to grow profit.
Any more hints and tips for people?
Get fixed costs from professional suppliers such as accountants. A few years ago I received a fixed cost quote from an accountant to do our books. Because I didn’t re-fix that cost last year the accountant doubled their fee from £900 to £1800 including VAT. That’s a huge increase! So always look to review your fixed costs on an annual basis from professional suppliers, don’t assume they’ll be the same year on year.
Because of the above, we’re now using cloud accounting software along with a new accountant that will reduce our accounting costs back down to £900pa. Cloud accounting is a revelation for us in that it cuts down the amount of office paperwork as it’s all cloud based. It makes keeping records so much easier for us that I’m recommending it to all our customers. There are several providers out there and we tried free trial period of a few of them but for us we felt Clearbooks was most appropriate. Other options small business owners might like to look at include Xero and Kashflow to name just a couple.
BONUS NEW QUESTION: What question would YOU like to ask other small business owners?
What medium of advertising to you find most useful in obtaining new customers and why? Personally we find Google Adwords most useful but I’ve heard that Facebooks is a massively growing market for successful advertising too… so I’m interested to learn more about advertising mediums and how effective they are for small businesses.
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
Honestly… who knows?! My life is such a whirlwind right now that as mentioned above, our family decides to relocate to Australia. So right now, I guess, to keep all options open for continual month-on-month growth in the UK with the potential to wind it down here and relocate it to another country is what’s most important… only time will tell which way it goes. But one thing is certain… if business keeps growing over the next 12 months as it has done for the last 12 months then I’ll be as financially happy as I am in my personal life right now.
Well, that has actually been a rollercoaster of a year (and a bit), hasn’t it! Well done to Aled for getting through all that, and I wonder where he’s going to be next time we speak! I’d love it if people could answer his bonus question – probably because of the repeat nature of my work, I’m in the lucky position of not needing to advertise, so this is a topic I’m not qualified to talk about. And best of luck to Aled and his family for the upcoming year and years!
Mobile Remaps, Unit 12, 23 King Street, Cambridge, CB1 1AH
T: 0800 051 5415
T: 01223 855 491
M: 07908 429 996