Escape from the Capital to the Outdoor City
01 December 2015
I was born and raised in Sheffield, but after studying for a degree in Optical Management I thought the best place to kick start my professional life was in the Capital. However, whilst London was a great place to develop my career, I couldn’t see myself bringing up children in such a chaotic city. I spent 7 years of my life in London and couldn’t wait to return to the ‘greenest’ city in the UK. I love walking and the outdoors, so with the Peak District right on its doorstep, Sheffield is the perfect spot to live and work – in London it used to take me at least 2 hours to get out into the countryside!
The biggest draw to Sheffield for me, though, is the people. There is a real community spirit in England’s 4th biggest city, which makes it a great place to do business, as it is easier to network and build relationships. For example, we are a small practice at Eyefinity, with a relatively small client base, but our customers are very loyal, with some travelling from as far away as Leeds and Manchester.
The main challenges of starting up my own company were business growth, marketing and getting enough exposure. Being an independent business means we had and still have less exposure than bigger companies, so it is difficult to let people know we exist. At the beginning I had no-one to turn to – this is where Business Sheffield came in. They helped me to be more proactive than reactive with my business approach and changed the way I thought about running a company. With this in mind, if I had any advice for anyone wanting to start up their own business, I would tell them to contact Business Sheffield first. I didn’t do this, and my lack of knowledge led me to make a lot of mistakes that I could’ve avoided! I would also recommend researching your market, your competitors and where they are placed.
I recently held a workshop as part of the build up to Small Business Saturday – a national event that brings small businesses together and encourages the public to shop locally. The workshop was attended by other independent businesses and amongst ourselves we talked about the challenges we each face. Small Business Saturday is a great event as it makes consumers think about where they spend their money, and reminds them that our independent businesses exist. In the rush of everyday life, people tend to go to the nearest shop or opticians, and so, Small Business Saturday encourages them to walk that little bit further to help independent stores.
In the future, I want Eyefinity to become an established practice; we are still relatively new on the block and need to work on developing our reputation, by increasing our exposure but always remaining true to our brand values and loyal customers.
If you have a business idea that you wish to develop or have a business already that you would like support with, then contact our team at Business Sheffield for free and impartial advice.
Contact Business Sheffield on 0800 043 5522