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Schoolboy wizardry lays foundations for business success

IT business success grown from schoolboy hobby
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IT business success grown from schoolboy hobby
Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications by Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications
Owner/Director - Sharp Minds Communications Ltd

Showing the professionals how to fix computers when he was still at school meant Richard Bentley’s career path was fairly obvious.  He’s managed to turn his innate talents at IT into a thriving business – despite launching in the recession. And the flexibility of our business accommodation at St. George’s Business Park has played a key part in his company’s growth.

Native talent

Richard Bentley, founder of The IT Consultants, first discovered his talent when he was still a teenager: “I had a Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer. One day I broke it and took it to a tiny computer shop in Gillingham to fix it. The guy there said he would see what he could do, but three weeks later when I returned, he said he couldn’t fix it; I was devastated. So, I took it home and thought I have nothing to lose if I give it a go myself. I successfully repaired it and when I took it back to the shop and showed it to the guy there, he said: ‘Do you want a job?’! I worked part time there until I was 18 and then afterwards went on to work for other IT companies.”

Going it alone

When Richard decided he wanted to start his own company in 2010, it was mid-way through the recession and taking out a loan from the bank would have been difficult and risky: “I wanted to start my business without taking out a loan – it was a massive gamble! I ended up selling a lot of my household items which earned me about £7,000. Initially I was working from home, but after four years I moved here, to St. George’s Business Park when a small office became available by the reception desk.”

The value of a Capital Space office

When a business operates from an office instead of a home address, it can do a lot to improve perceptions from would-be customers and moving into a professional office has paid dividends for The IT Consultants: “Being in an office provides reassurance to new customers. On top of that, the staff at reception help me take deliveries so I don’t have to physically be in the office in order to run my business. The Capital Space team are really friendly and it feels really comfortable with their easy-in, easy-out system, whereas if I was with another company, I’d have a legal hassle of going from one lease to another. I’m also able to source products from neighbouring businesses, which is a really good bonus.”

Drivers of success

The IT Consultants now look after over 50 business customers across the South-East, with some paying on an ad-hoc basis and others on monthly support packages: “Customer satisfaction is what drives me – I hate having unhappy customers.  I would like to think I am more customer focused than others, who are more money orientated. I’m flexible and I know small businesses may have a cash flow problem, so I don’t jump on their backs if they don’t pay me straight away when I invoice them.”

Having managed to launch without a loan, Richard’s advice to would-be entrepreneurs starts with thinking about the finances: “If I had any tips for small businesses, it would be to save some money first before starting out. Marketing is also key – get a professional website – and be prepared for some late nights! And don’t skimp on IT – it will pay-off in the long term; in my experience, poor IT decisions can lead to business failure.”

Moving into professional, flexible business accommodation has allowed The IT Consultants to flourish as a business with a base of over 50 customers. A real example of a business success story!

To find out how CapitalSpace virtual offices or business premises

could benefit your growing business,

call 0800 107 3667