When starting up a business, it’s natural to experience growing pains. No matter how well-structured your business plan, you will always be faced with unexpected challenges. For example, when I first founded We Buy Any Home, one thing I didn’t foresee was such an immediate high demand for the service. While this was obviously a fantastic problem to be faced with, it did bring about numerous challenges for the business, such as sourcing and securing funding quickly enough to meet the demand.
During the first few days and weeks of trading we were responding to a couple of enquiries here and there, but soon we started receiving hundreds of quote requests every day. This increase in demand meant we had to quickly focus our efforts on securing new funding, which we had to juggle alongside servicing clients. In addition, as we were just starting out, it was vital for us to ensure a good level of customer service as we wanted to generate positive reviews and establish integrity from the outset to help grow the business.
While we were obviously delighted that we had seen such a positive response to the service so quickly, we were concerned that if we were unable to efficiently service all customers, it could have easily resulted in negative reviews, and which in turn would have influenced sales moving forward. It goes without saying that this was a very stressful time, but it was reassuring to know that there was a need for this type of service within the sector.
Setting up a business to fill a gap in the market is a bold move because you’re taking a risk on a specific group of consumers being receptive to your product or service. My advice to those who are considering setting up a new business is to really do your research on your target market, and to ensure you feel confident there are people out there who really need the service you are going to provide.
Make it clear to your customers what your current situation is, so you’re managing their expectations from the beginning.
Once we overcame the issues with funding, it was vital for us to adapt the way we worked to allow the business to grow further. As well as recruiting even more dedicated property professionals, it was important for us to spend time on other aspects of the business, that had been slightly neglected when our time was largely focussed on securing funding. For example, we now implement a targeted content marketing and social media strategy, which ensures We Buy Any Home is a hub of up-to-date information and advice for both our existing and potential customers, and this is something we’ve been really passionate about getting off the ground.
I believe it is important to take away key learnings from every challenge, so you know what you would do differently moving forward. I know that from this particular experience one of our key learnings was to be as transparent as possible from the outset; make it clear to your customers what your current situation is, so you’re managing their expectations from the beginning. Never over-promise anything, or agree to things just because you feel that’s what the customer wants. This will only lead to customers becoming frustrated with you if you can’t deliver, which could then impact the business and its future growth.
When it comes to sourcing funding, you need to be prepared to show you can be trusted with someone else’s money and make good business decisions. Whatever happens, be persistent, and don’t take ‘no’ for an answer! If you believe in a project don’t give up at the first hurdle. In a wider sense, I do think investment and funding for small businesses is crucial and there is certainly more that can be done by the government in this area, particularly to help promote entrepreneurship and encourage entrepreneurs to achieve their ambitions.
In terms of our own aspirations, we would like to see We Buy Any Home help many more customers across the UK, and ensure we continue to offer a hassle and stress-free service to all. I do believe that if we continue to offer an efficient and trusted service, and continue to raise awareness to the public that there are alternative ways to sell their home without having to go through the stresses and strains of the UK property market, we will continue to grow within our sector. I think it’s important for other business owners to know what their aspirations are, so they have something to aim for.