0
@webdarren
From Redundant
To Remarkable
The British Franchise Exhibition
EventCity Manchester
@webdarren
@webdarren
Who are RedStar?
• Founded in 2007
• Team of 10 staff
• Based in Central Manchester
• Trade predominantly in th...
@webdarren
What do RedStar do today?
• Website Design & Development
• eCommerce & Multichannel
• ebay Design & Integration...
@webdarren
Why go it alone?
• I’d been made redundant 6 times in 7 years
• Frustrated at the industry and people I
worked ...
@webdarren
Core values of RedStar
• I wanted to be very open and honest
with clients
• I wanted to operate with high
integ...
@webdarren
Setting the ball rolling
• Started to ask friends and family if I could
help them
• Built up a small base of cu...
@webdarren
Important lessons learned
• I wasn’t charging enough – by a long way!
• I was too nice with my customers
• Proj...
@webdarren
Growing up (and crying for the first time!)
• I’d started to work 50/60/70 hours a week
• Employed Andy to help...
@webdarren
Starting to work with multi-national brands
• First large-scale ebay project was far from
perfect
• Our core pr...
@webdarren
Starting to develop the business
• ebay request that we develop our first ever
product – Velocity
• Once up and...
@webdarren
Starting to network and raise awareness
• Decided to be brave and go network!
• Was really surprised at being t...
@webdarren
No more developers (yet!)
• My time was pressured, I needed help with the day to day running of
RedStar
• Took ...
@webdarren
Building a bigger
business
• Established a plan to raise £150k
of capital to do this
• Took around 4-6 months i...
@webdarren
Disaster had struck
• We had been turning work away
• The team had no work to do
• Second investment fell throu...
@webdarren
Back to basics
• I regained control of the finances and
invoicing
• I networked hard and rebuilt
customer relat...
@webdarren
Asking for and
getting investment
• It’s not about what you know, it’s
who you know
• Building a plan around a ...
@webdarren
Planning to make
myself redundant
• Aim is now to have good highly
competent staff at RedStar
operationally and...
@webdarren
Advice that I’ve been given
over the years…
This bit is designed for you to stop me to
ask questions if you are...
@webdarren
Everyone will tell you cash is king
• It’s a naff, corny phrase – but it’s true!
• Protect your cash flow and k...
@webdarren
People buy people
• Protect the relationship YOU have with your clients as your business
grows
• Network from d...
@webdarren
Be selective with the advice you take
• Listen to the people that urge you aim higher than your sights are set
...
@webdarren
Adapt to change
• We are in an age of frequent change – so must be your business
• Don’t blame external changes...
@webdarren
Stick to what you know!
• Don’t go and be a freelance brain surgeon
• Ensure you get a true idea of what your s...
@webdarren
Never underestimate the lunacy of your clients!
“You told me my work request was last gasp so you couldn’t do a...
@webdarren
All done – any questions?
Darren Ratcliffe
Managing Director
RedStar Creative
@webdarren
07970 54 57 56
Copy of...
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Redundant to Remarkable, RedStar's Story

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In 2007, RedStar was founded from the bedroom of our MD Darren Ratcliffe. Darren had been made redundant 6 times in 7 years and was tired of the industry and many of the folks in charge of businesses within. Darren beleived he could do better than they could. These slides are the basic story behind RedStar and how it became a 10 strong team, based in the heart of Manchester with global clients knocking at the door every week.

********5 Tips for Growing Your Business********

>Build Relationships
Protect the relationship YOU have with your clients as your business grows

>Always Network
Network from day one – One of Darren's brews was worth £30k

>Hire The Best Team
Build the best team you can around you, it won't be cheap but you WILL get results.

>Adapt to Change
We are in an age of frequent change – so must be your business

>Protect Your Cash Flow
Be careful with your money when starting up, but keep on top of your creditors, stay in business.

Read more at http://www.redstar.co.uk/blog/general/remarkable-redstar

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Transcript of "Redundant to Remarkable, RedStar's Story"

  1. 1. @webdarren From Redundant To Remarkable The British Franchise Exhibition EventCity Manchester @webdarren
  2. 2. @webdarren Who are RedStar? • Founded in 2007 • Team of 10 staff • Based in Central Manchester • Trade predominantly in the UK • Clients in Europe, America and Australia
  3. 3. @webdarren What do RedStar do today? • Website Design & Development • eCommerce & Multichannel • ebay Design & Integration • Digital Marketing
  4. 4. @webdarren Why go it alone? • I’d been made redundant 6 times in 7 years • Frustrated at the industry and people I worked for • Thought I could run a business better than they could! • I was extremely naive and unaware of the challenges that every day business faced – I was just a ‘technician’!
  5. 5. @webdarren Core values of RedStar • I wanted to be very open and honest with clients • I wanted to operate with high integrity • My pricing would always be fair to the customer “If you want RedStar to still be here helping you in six months time, then I can’t lower my rate for you.” Me to my first client, 2007
  6. 6. @webdarren Setting the ball rolling • Started to ask friends and family if I could help them • Built up a small base of customers who started word of mouth referrals for me • Avoided networking events like the plague – they weren’t for me!
  7. 7. @webdarren Important lessons learned • I wasn’t charging enough – by a long way! • I was too nice with my customers • Project scope crept and crept! • I didn’t invoice for deposits – which put me at the mercy of the customer • It was a lifestyle business – but it was solvent… so it worked!
  8. 8. @webdarren Growing up (and crying for the first time!) • I’d started to work 50/60/70 hours a week • Employed Andy to help out – work well planned in advance • Didn’t realise the emotional burden growth would bring • Repeated this recruitment process 3 times before the model broke • Too much time starting to be taken on operations, my development time was decreased
  9. 9. @webdarren Starting to work with multi-national brands • First large-scale ebay project was far from perfect • Our core principles guided us through this • We turned the negatives to positives • Started to realise RedStar was a business, not a job
  10. 10. @webdarren Starting to develop the business • ebay request that we develop our first ever product – Velocity • Once up and running, they give it back to us to market ourselves to further develop as a product • Introduced us to their key accounts • Ask us to deal with their clients on the core RedStar values
  11. 11. @webdarren Starting to network and raise awareness • Decided to be brave and go network! • Was really surprised at being told “ah yes RedStar, you’re really good but we didn’t know who you were” • Started to wonder how do I capitalise on this for our products and services • I was becoming an entrepreneur but I hadn’t realised it
  12. 12. @webdarren No more developers (yet!) • My time was pressured, I needed help with the day to day running of RedStar • Took on the answer to all my problems ‘Bob’ • Bob was fantastic and had a great pedigree • Bob took over invoices, customer relations, project management • I had more time to focus on new strategies and products for RedStar
  13. 13. @webdarren Building a bigger business • Established a plan to raise £150k of capital to do this • Took around 4-6 months in total to do this • However, I’d abdicated, not delegated my responsibilities • Came into work one day to find out our invoicing was dramatically decreased The dictionary defines delegate as: "To give a task to somebody else with responsibility to act on your behalf. To give somebody else the power to act, make decisions or allocate resources on your behalf." Sounds good, right? To abdicate, on the other hand, is simply this: "To fail to fulfill a duty or responsibility.“ The eMyth, Michael Gerber
  14. 14. @webdarren Disaster had struck • We had been turning work away • The team had no work to do • Second investment fell through • A lot of customers unhappy • No cash in the bank • Marriage ends • Bob gets the chop • The end is nigh?
  15. 15. @webdarren Back to basics • I regained control of the finances and invoicing • I networked hard and rebuilt customer relationships quickly • We reinforced our core values to our customers and suppliers • I doubled my networking efforts • I did all the things that I should have been doing all along. Lesson learned.
  16. 16. @webdarren Asking for and getting investment • It’s not about what you know, it’s who you know • Building a plan around a new strategy and vision • Dealing with losing complete control • Setting the ground rules from that first conversation Points on investment: 1. Know what the point is in taking the investment – it needs to be more than a load of money! 2. Ensure you have the ability to look for the horizon and not have your head down 3. Look for the ability to employ better technical staff to support your team 4. What support do you need as a business owner – what bits has the technician still got control of?
  17. 17. @webdarren Planning to make myself redundant • Aim is now to have good highly competent staff at RedStar operationally and technically • Not cheap, but the best people aren’t • Success is to be redundant at RedStar within 5 years
  18. 18. @webdarren Advice that I’ve been given over the years… This bit is designed for you to stop me to ask questions if you are still awake
  19. 19. @webdarren Everyone will tell you cash is king • It’s a naff, corny phrase – but it’s true! • Protect your cash flow and keep on top of your creditors • One of the main reasons profitable businesses fail (Forbes) • Be careful with your money when you are starting up
  20. 20. @webdarren People buy people • Protect the relationship YOU have with your clients as your business grows • Network from day one – I’ve had a coffee worth £30k • Remember the power of emotion in what you do
  21. 21. @webdarren Be selective with the advice you take • Listen to the people that urge you aim higher than your sights are set and not lower • People will tell you that you are guaranteed to fail – don’t listen!
  22. 22. @webdarren Adapt to change • We are in an age of frequent change – so must be your business • Don’t blame external changes for your failures • If you change, make sure it’s for the better
  23. 23. @webdarren Stick to what you know! • Don’t go and be a freelance brain surgeon • Ensure you get a true idea of what your solution is worth to your customer • Stick to what you’re exceptional at • Do what you really enjoy
  24. 24. @webdarren Never underestimate the lunacy of your clients! “You told me my work request was last gasp so you couldn’t do all of the work I asked you for my marketing campaign. You then managed to do it all. Why did you lie to me?” A.N. RedStar Customer
  25. 25. @webdarren All done – any questions? Darren Ratcliffe Managing Director RedStar Creative @webdarren 07970 54 57 56 Copy of slides and blog post here: http://j.mp/redstar-remarkable Feel free to tweet any questions: @webdarren
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