The serial entrepreneur tells us why communication is key and how straight-forward business tactics makes their company stand out
About your business
Founder name: Suzanne Whitby
Company name: Stress-free WP
Company location: London
Staff numbers: 3
Date started: June 2014
Tell us what your business does:
We take the stress out of owning a WordPress website or blog. We provide maintenance, support and training for WordPress sites.
Where did the idea for your business come from? What motivated you to start it?
I’ve run a successful branding, digital and design agency since 2004, and although I love the creative side of things, I’ve realised that more and more business owners want to manage their own websites. Many choose to use WordPress, but they often get stuck and need ad hoc support and training. I decided to create a business that meets that need, offers preventative maintenance and also recovers sites from crashes and hacking attempts if needed.
What did you do before?
Prior to starting Stress-free WP, I ran my own branding, digital and design agency. Before that, I was a project manager working on telecommunications, standards and organisational development projects.
What did you have to overcome (if anything) to start it and get it off the ground?
Starting isn’t a problem for me – I have years of business skills and starting a new brand and company is almost as simple for me as having the idea. My challenge is always the marketing – telling people what I offer, putting myself and my business out there and so on. Once I did this, the business started to blossom!
What makes your business stand out from others like it?
We’re no-nonsense and provide tailored solutions that best meet a client’s needs and budget, not necessarily our bank account. We’re pretty speedy, speak “plain” English and have a UK-based team.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Forming key affiliate relationships with a number of small business coaches. We partnered with them to offer great deals to the subscribers to their mailing lists and things just took off from there.
Your business tips
You’re prime minister for a day. What would you change for small businesses?
I’d make it easier to get a business bank account. Having been over in the US for a few years prior to starting my new business, I really struggled to open a standard current account, and there were definitely days when I questioned whether it was worth it!
What’s your best customer service tip?
Good communication. Clients like to know where they stand, even if things aren’t going well. The worst tactic is silence! Stay in constant contact throughout your project and you’ll avoid headaches. And after the project is over, keep in occasional contact with a newsletter or the odd call – it’s always easier to retain existing clients that it is to find new clients.
What would you do differently? (What have you learnt?)
I would have sent myself on an intensive sales training programme to rid myself of the fear of business promotion.
What one piece of advice would you give to people who want to start their own business?
Don’t isolate yourself. Sometimes we get so obsessed about working in our businesses that we neglect ourselves and cut ourselves off from the rest of our lives. Business is important but it’s not everything and it’s seldom the Most important thing in our lives. Don’t neglect the other areas of your life or yourself.