Richard Bateman of westfourstreet talks to us about his experience of Buckinghamshire Business First, the importance of mentoring, and how good our new website is!
The new Buckinghamshire Business First website was designed to be an easy to use and informative first stop shop for businesses in need of support. After the website caught the eye of Richard Bateman, Buckinghamshire Business First member and founder of web design agency westfourstreet, we’re confident that it is doing exactly what we wanted it to.
westfourstreet became a Buckinghamshire Business First member in 2015 after a recommendation from Buckinghamshire New University. Having always sought out the experiences of other business people Richard already knew the value of accessing business support, but it was the launch of our new website in March 2016 that really opened his eyes to what Buckinghamshire Business First could do for him.
“The new website is a great resource,” Richard confirms. “The business support section is full of useful information and I found out about a great tender opportunity through the contracts section of the website.”
Having been through the start-up phase, Richard knows what first-time business owners need. “In the early days of running a business - especially your first business - you don't have a lot of know-how and you need information presented to you in a way that is accessible and not full of corporate buzzwords. The content on the Buckinghamshire Business First website is relevant and the tone is formal but not impersonal, which is important as it needs to be accessible to all different kinds of businesses.”
The business of westfourstreet is web design so Richard casts his expert eye across every facet of a website he visits. This means that when he praises the layout, fonts, pictures, headings… in fact, pretty much everything on the site, we can feel like we did a great job!
Most importantly though, we are happy that the website is doing its primary job: providing crucial support for Buckinghamshire’s businesses. Businesses that are succeeding because they are part of a joined up business community and, of course, because of their own sheer hard work, determination and skill.
Each business owner has their own story to tell and Richard’s contains a great moral when it comes to leaning on the support of others. It was soon after Richard set up westfourstreet that he realised a lack of manpower would hold back the growth he wanted for the business. “Everything was on my shoulders,” explains Richard. “The big hurdle I faced was how to plan and manage the expansion, which meant employing people, something that brings greater responsibility and additional challenges.”
Richard knew that reaching out for advice was crucial to success. “I like meeting and listening to other business owners, soaking up their experiences and stories of how they navigated growing a business, what they did and what they didn’t do.”
In early 2016, armed with a little more experience and the advice of those he met along the way, Richard expanded westfourstreet and the one man band turned into a team of seven offering a full range of marketing expertise from web and print design to social media and copywriting. Among those to sit up and take notice was The Guardian, who included Richard in a feature on entrepreneurs. Richard was kind enough to give us a mention! “I wanted to mention Buckinghamshire Business First because I’m a big fan. I’ve always found the articles and service you provide invaluable.”
Not one for resting on his laurels, Richard is thinking of ways to meet more business owners to work with, sell to and learn from. This, he says, is another perk of membership into Buckinghamshire Business First. “The opportunity to connect with other businesses is another plus to membership. At westfourstreet we’ve often relied on word of mouth to act as our promotion, but this year I have promised myself that I’ll attend more networking events, so I look forward to meeting my fellow Buckinghamshire Business First members soon.”
Note from Buckinghamshire Business First
Have you taken the time to discover all that the Buckinghamshire Business First website can do for you? Whether it’s accessing business support information or a diverse programme of events, the ability to post contracts, job offers and member offers or receive personalised news content, there is something that every member will find valuable.
You may not have logged into your profile yet. If not, it’s really easy. Simply visit the log in page and request a new password and you’ll be in your account in no time.
Please do give us a ring on 01494 927130 to chat through any queries you have regarding the website.