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Launching a business straight out of university seemed like a daunting prospect, but in hindsight it was far easier than the day-to-day management once the company was up and running.
The first port of call was to register a limited company. I took the easy route here, and paid an accountant to do this for me. My Father has always been fairly pleased with his accountant, so I went with Bache, Brown & Co, where I had done a work experience many years before. Smarter Housing Limited was registered in August 2005 and I obtained the corresponding smarterhousing.co.uk domain name at the same time.
My housemate, Nicos, had been accepted onto the Enterprise Fellowship Scheme (‘EFS’), set-up to provide guidance to student entrepreneurs and give access to funding opportunities.
It seemed like a great idea, so I drafted up a 3 page business plan, detailing What the idea was, Why it would work, Who was involved and How much it would cost. I took the plan to EFS and after an appraisal panel, I found myself on the scheme.
With a £10k loan (facilitated by EFS) in place, I instructed Atelier Studios to work on the Smarter brand – logos, stationary and a website design. Atelier transformed my initial sketches into a slick website and I gave the thumbs up for construction of a database and fully functioning front end. A few funding panels later (money was limited and would only be allocated to the best proposals) I had enough to cover the final Atelier bill and the business was ready to launch.
Along the way I was introduced to Stephen Ollerenshaw of Technology Law Alliance (‘TLawA’), who assisted with a successful trademark appication and provided the legal documentation needed to trade as a letting agent.
I launched SmarterHousing on 1st February 2006, with a modest 30 properties which were all let via www.smarterhousing.co.uk to students at the University of Warwick, for the 2006 – 2007 academic year. The bulk of the properties were in Leamington Spa although I picked up one or two in Earlsdon.
On 2nd February 2006 the fun and games commenced!
Posted by Adam Arnold