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Blog - Thu 31st Jan 2013 - The Advantages Of Being A Small Business - Heason Events

The Advantages Of Being A Small Business

31st Jan 2013

I set up Heason Events in 2003 off the back of a redundancy package from an IT firm that I hated working for. The early days were very exciting, if a little tentative. I kept my overheads low and did pretty much everything myself. I bought books and learned how to build websites, designed my own posters, mastered presentation software and equipment and went on the road with the speakers. I remember well an email from Frank Lyon of Lyon Equipment (UK Petzl importer) who replied to say that he didn’t think £100 was enough to be asking for for sponsoring a lecture tour and offered me £300. It was a useful lesson and a gave me a real feel-good buzz for the day. I always maintained an effort to keep on top of my inbox, reply to everybody who contacted me, and basically offer the sort of customer care that I would like to get from others. Nearly 10 years on – yikes! – and things are, well, much the same really. I now outsource my websites, but am glad of the grounding that I gave myself as it helps to understand how the web works. I often get designers to sort out my posters, but at a push can turn out something half decent if need be (big thanks to Hammer Design / Web for my websites and design help). I still keep my inbox empty, and enjoy responding to contacts via Facebook and Twitter. I’ve teamed up with another freelancer by the name of Lissa Cook to create a brand new event (Buxton Adventure Festival) and also on ShAFF. She has the same ethos and has mastered social media so often becomes the face of the events. There are downsides to being small, not least of which is the fact that we have to say no to work quite regularly as there simply aren’t enough hours in each day, but that doesn't stop us working with some big companies (our regular clients include the likes of Red Bull, Patagonia and Decathlon). When one of us goes away on holiday the other is left to hold the fort and it can feel pressured, but at the end of the day the pros so far outweigh the cons that I would urge anybody thinking of setting up on their own, to give it a whirl. We’re never going to get rich organising events, the business simply isn’t scalable – or it certainly isn’t if we want to keep the intimate nature of it going – but the flip side to that is that if times ahead look Spartan it’s a fairly basic job to sit down for an afternoon and brainstorm some new events to make ends meet. And the best thing of all? We live in the amazing Peak District, and if things get stressful then it's easy enough to drop everything and head out for a run, bike or climb...