These successful small businesses all prove that a gap in the market plus a passion for the industry is the winning formula to generate the best business ideas. Each have their own unique selling points (USP’s) which have allowed them to break through the glass ceiling which daunts so many start-ups, and their fascinating stories serve as inspiration for any budding entrepreneur.
Bourn Beans – For the Caffeine Addicts
Manchester based Robel Iyassu decided it was time to bring home brewed coffee into the houses (and hearts) of the British public. Bourn Beans doesn’t roast any coffee until the order is in, ensuring the freshest and most flavoursome experience for coffee lovers.
It was the coffee ceremonies of the families from Robel’s East-African heritage which made him notice that the art of home brewed coffee was missing from the freeze-dried dominated homes of Britain. The Eritrean culture considers the coffee ceremony a sacred event, where the delicacy in roasting and brewing is measured impeccably for the perfect balance.
“Coffee is often referred to as the second largest commodity on his planet, behind oil” Robel told StartUps UK; “I’ve also noticed a lot of high street chain coffee shops rapidly expanding and popping up everywhere. Together with the increase in coffee machine sales, I felt that our nation is becoming more attuned to a coffee need beyond instant coffee.”
“Sacrificing holidays and saving hard provided the funding for the business, which got its first customer within the opening 48 hours of its website! His advice to fellow start-ups? “Be open to learning from mistakes and see challenges as opportunities to develop a skill… Develop a vision and blueprint of how you are going to achieve what you set out to do, and make sure you keep up to date with your reading. Above all, just do it.”
The Haunting of Bagger Bones – Terrifyingly Fun eBook
As Preston Rutt watched Steve Jobs reveal the IPad in 2010, he knew the way we read would be changed forever. By 2014, 26% of all books were e-books; however for children’s books the digital percentage remained at 3%. This was the gap in the market that The Haunting of Bagger Bones jumped right into.
The Haunting of Bagger Bones is an app featuring a personalised story for children, which turns the reader into a star by placing them as the hero. Narrated by Ray Brooks (who’s also voiced Mr Benn and starred in Eastenders), the terrifyingly fun app is the ground-breaking creation from company Magic Touch. Rutt told Startups that the money came from investment from his day job: the company he was working for held an internal ‘Dragon’s Den’ style competition, of which Rutt came Runner Up and was awarded funding the idea needed.
The hardest part? According to Rutt, it was “convincing Ray to record thousands of variations of the story to align with each individual name”. This story just proves that with the right business idea, a well-researched market and (a lot of) determination, small businesses in the UK can hit the ground running.
JD Mindcoach – Proving age is just a number
Not many people close to retirement think about setting up a business, however for formal England basketball player John Dabrowski starting a motivation and coaching business at 60 was the perfect time.
When injury cut short his professional basketball career, John moved from managing a premier basketball team into the world of radio where he discovered a passion for sales and marketing. He was asked by a colleague in 2008 to act as a mental coach for Dave Clarke as he embarked on a mission to row single handed across the Atlantic. He stated to Small Business that “after this successful achievement the direction of my new business was clear – I have always been a great believer in positive thinking and I realised that I could apply these techniques in other people’s lives to help them develop their own personal skills.”
John believes life experience is the most valuable asset he can bring to the Mental Resilience coaching plans he provides, and he shows no sign of stopping. He plans to reach £100,000 turnover by the end of 2016, and will carry on trading until he is at least 80.
His networking success is due to the perfect blend of offline and online marketing. Attending events, conferences & talks has gained him a massive following in the industry, whilst he also blogs once a week on his website which is also pretty active on social media channels. He sent out stress balls in the shape of basketballs to entice customers and gain their interest, and regularly meets with contacts to suss out referrals and potentials. Again, a strong focus on interaction with customers is a massive selling point for John’s business, and a great way to build his reputation.
Leeds Bread Co-op – Conscious Baking
When Zig, Ian and Phil turned to Crowdfunder as a funding option, they knew it would be a challenge as they were completely new, with no established following to call upon. However, the project proved so successful with Crowdfunder Leeds Bread Co-op had a solid case to show other investors, which in turn produced a knock on effect until enough money was found to start a sustainable and artisan bakery in Leeds.
The best thing about pledging towards the business? As a reward for your donation you’d receive some of the tasty bread they baked! The company now thrives in the local area, trading from their bakery and at farmers markets to a loyal and growing fan base. The products range from Classic Sourdough to a New York Deli Rye, and only use organic flours and locally sourced ingredients.
As a social enterprise, the Co-op prides itself on providing an ethical and enjoyable livelihood to its employees, and producing their bread in a social and ethical manner. Classes are priced on social income, with high concessions given to the unemployed, students and the elderly.
Not only can they rustle up some glorious dough, but the company wants to feed the knowledge of bread making to the public by hosting now very sought after bread making classes. They stand to prove that by engaging with their customers on such a personal level and giving back to the local area they can reap the benefits from exposure, profit and establishment in the community.