What is your business?
My business MW Bespoke Furniture and Woodwork started 11 months ago using the last paycheck from my old job. I did a little bit of advertising on social media locally and started out with small jobs, and then after a couple of months it gave me the connections, I needed to take on bigger jobs and its picked up from there.
How did you hear about SWEF and what led you to apply for a grant?
I realised during my early jobs that I needed a track saw to get long straight cuts, so I looked into grants to help with the purchase of that item. I used the Universal Credits business scheme to ask if they had any suggestions and they pointed me in the direction of SWEF.
How did the grant help you develop your business?
Through the grant I was able to get the tools I need to improve the efficiency of my work. Cuts that used to take me 10 minutes to set up now take less than a minute, and the accuracy has improved too. I can also do traditional joints in about a tenth of the time it previously took.
How have you seen your finances change since you received the grant?
My finances have changed quite a bit following the grant as it allowed me to take on bigger work for more money. I can also get work done faster than I used to so things have snowballed from there. Month by month it’s just that little bit better.
Where do you see your business in a years time?
In a year’s time I see the business moving into a bigger workshop with more space. That will allow me to utilise all my machinery and potentially hire another one or two members of staff. The business will then be able to take on bigger jobs, and I can offload some of the paperwork to someone else allowing me to focus on the job itself.
Anything else you want to share?
I’ve attended a few SWEF business forums with other grant recipients and it was very useful to be able to discuss ideas and problems and help each other out. For me it was useful to hear what people recommended for accounting software, what to use and what not to use. In return I could answer some of the other people’s questions about things such as advertising on social media. It was a very useful experience to be able to talk with other like-minded individuals.
The advice I could give to other applicants is to think through what you want to spend the grant on; how can you use it to improve your business rather than just saying “I need £5,000 to get going”. Try and focus on just one thing that is holding you back.