Katie Henry received a Start Up Loan in early 2013 to help develop her business Art in Offices, which provide contemporary art at affordable prices to fill empty office walls.
Here she talks about how the loan and mentoring helped take her business to the next level.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I was completing a Masters Degree in Art Management and as part of my course I had to develop and write a business plan. The idea for Art in Offices came as a result of this, so I thought ‘why the hell not?’
What stage was your business at when you received your Start Up Loan?
I had incorporated the company but had to put starting the business on hold. Six months later, through my network, I secured my first client and decided to start it up again despite just having a Facebook page and email address.
What did you use the Start Up Loan for?
It was really important in setting up the website and purchasing marketing materials including business cards and flyers. I run the business from home so website design is essential.
Have you used any of the support provided by Start Up Loans?
Yes, I had a great mentor. He provided lots of guidance and constructive criticism. One of the best pieces of advice he gave was to make me think about what I do that makes my business different from everybody else.
What is the best advice you could give aspiring/fellow business owners?
Firstly, I would advise to make sure you spend time on the admin of your business. I started a creative business and it’s easy to put all your energy into being a creative, but I have to spend around 20% of my time on the strategy, sales, admin, margins and production etc. for the business to be successful.
Secondly, I would definitely recommend that any business owner should be able to sum up their business in 140 characters.
“Art In Offices provides contemporary art at affordable prices, to fill empty office walls.”
They used to call it an elevator pitch (where you’d have 30 seconds), and these days it’s a Twitter pitch, and that’s all you get.