My Baby Radio is a fine example of a small business that is growing organically. The business, set up by Peter and Joanne Gallacher in North Wales, where they live, began as a small web-based radio station targeting parents, with a modest website and programming list. They now have a local FM broadcast licence, are running Pat Sharp’s syndicated show and are attracting interviews with some top celebrities.
Peter, a 30-something father, is a former radio producer who fancied his chances on his own, and he didn’t start with a major start up fund, and hence did not hire big agencies, expensive professionals or spend a fortune up-front on marketing.
My Baby Radio is trying to build its business from the ground up, looking for ways to drive traffic to its website using decent content, customer interaction and, of course, by promoting the radio programmes. This approach to growing a business can be pain-staking and tiring, but for a small business owner it beats the pressure of raising lots of money from an investor that you then have to make back. Starting small and running on a shoe-string means you make everything count.
I often like to take a look atthe Start Ups website, which is full of useful advice for small businesses but also down-to-earth case studies of different businesses. For the home-based entrepreneur it’s a gold mine of information and advice.
Thanks to the Internet, of course, it’s so much easier for business owners to find such advice and for sites like Start Ups to impart it, but the net goes further thanks to social tools like Twitter and Facebook. Recently I’ve started following the tweets of Brad Burton and his fellow members of 4 Networking. Brad’s catchy “Get Off Your Arse” theme (philosophy, book, website) is a message to all entrepreneurs, big and small, to just get on with doing things and not talking about them.
Many wannabe business owners don’t get going because they think they lack the resources, but self-starters like Peter Gallacher show you don’t need to be Richard Branson to start a business. You can just get off your arse and do it, then grow it one step at a time. The same is true of websites, often. Many small businesses are tempted to invest in something complicated and clever that will win design awards, but the reality is you don’t need to be Picasso to get customers. You just have to be out there in front of them. If you don’t have the flair or the money to do something grand, then just do something and improve it as you go.