I recently interviewed the lovely Caroline Thomson from I Run A Small Business. The website has now launched.
Interview by Debbie Talbot
1. Please tell us your name and a little bit about your business.
Well, my name is Caroline Thomson and I live in Surrey with my husband and 5 children. Up until very recently I was running a small but successful craft business with my best friend. However, with the huge success of the Small Business page on Facebook I am now focusing all my efforts into developing what we have on our Facebook page into a website and business model. ‘I Run A Small Business’ is my baby, but I have a wonderful husband and wife team who assist with the page administration.
2. Your new website plans sound exciting. How did all that come about?
I had never planned to turn ‘I Run A Small Business’ into a bill-paying business. The page was started initially because I am simply passionate about supporting those people who have decided to go alone. I have nothing but respect and admiration for anyone who takes the initiative to do something to make their lives better and I love to be able to help and support them achieve their goals. However, towards the end of last year the page seemed to snowball, gaining momentum at an unprecedented pace. It was at that point I truly realised that we had something quite special. I had several ideas of how a website could be developed to support the page, but without the funds available for development I was at a loss. It was through a very chance conversation in our Facebook group that I was approached by Alex from Razor-edge Media who offered to create the website I had in my mind free of charge. They were a small start-up organisation looking to extend their portfolio and could see the vision I had for the website – it’s been a fantastic partnership.
3. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing a small business start up?
Finances! It’s an obvious one, but time and time again I am approached by small companies who are looking to develop their business professionally in a cost-effective way. Small businesses need to make the most of their biggest commodity – time! This is where networking comes in. Building contacts, cultivating relationships, offering a realistic level of free advice and services in return for recommendations, exposure – these are all the things essential to the small business on a budget!
4. What resources will your new website offer?
We’re looking to offer more targeted exposure and advertising opportunities for small businesses. We will be offering packages for social media exposure, advertising directly on our website and through our newsletter as well exposure through blogging and the sharing of information. The element of the website that I am most excited about is the development of our own discussion forum where businesses can connect with each other on a personal level. I have big plans for that – you’ll just have to wait and see how they develop… it’s very exciting!
It is, however, very important to me that that essence of our Facebook page remains the same. For the most part our users won’t see much of a difference to the page when we launch the website. Just more content, more resources and more businesses for them to network with!
5. What’s the best thing about running your business?
Definitely being able to be at home with my children. They drive me up the wall sometimes, but I came from a family where my mother was a stay at home mum and my father worked nights. Having both my parents at home for me was a real luxury. I am incredibly fortunate to be in a position to do the same.
6. What do you like doing in your free time?
Free time? What’s that then?! Seriously, I have a bit of a fabric addiction! I absolutely love sewing when I get the chance. Singing, dancing, reading, socialising, gardening, anything really. The only thing I don’t really enjoy is sports. I’m probably my happiest though on the sofa in my living room with all the family around me, cuddled up to my husband with a glass of wine and a Disney movie on the TV. That’s my happy place!
Thank you Caroline. All the best with your new website.
For more information or to see how I Run A Small Business can help you visit www.irunasmallbusiness.com.