'We could not have done this 20 years ago'
How we set up a business in just 10 hours
They created a name and a brand, designed and launched a website and had the business functioning so it could take customer orders.
“There has been a certain amount of stress,” said Tim Barlow (pictured), a 42-year-old digital marketing entrepreneur who teamed up with Charles Henderson from Climate Futures to see if they could create a company in a day.
Twelve staff at his George Street business Attacat worked on the project with students from Edinburgh Business School. They were kept in the dark until 9am to prevent anyone doing any research.
The new business was an energy saving price comparison site which they called Woodpicker. A brand and logo were quickly put together. They did some market research and developed marketing plans, set up supplier lists and developed the online tools and resources that lie at the heart of the offering.
To get around certain obstacles, such as the time it takes for a domain to propagate on the internet, they had to fall back on existing businesses and systems. But new emails, phone numbers and web addresses were created so customers were dealing with a new business.
It was set up with less than £1,000 of investment.
Mr Barlow said: “We wanted to set up a functioning business, but we were realistic about it. We couldn’t deliver magic, but 20 years ago you could not have done this.
“It is about getting something out very quickly and seeing what can happen instead of planning to death and trying to build the perfect website.”
“Charles and I have been toying with a number of new business ideas, but finding the time to put them into action is never easy.
“When we heard the guys at Fatbuzz were using the leap year ‘extra day’ to raise money for a local hospice, the idea struck us. Why not use our extra day to start a new company?
“Developing a new business is often a long, drawn out process, but it really needn’t be. What we have done today is prove that a business can be set up cost effectively and quickly – as long as you have a good idea and the right expertise and tools at your disposal, anything is possible.”
Woodpicker will continue, initially offering a free service. Its two founders plan to add more biomass products and services, as well as monetise the offering. They also plan to bring on a member of staff to run the day to day operations and manage customer feedback.
Open dialogue with customers will be key, with feedback used to develop the search engine and improve the company’s core services.
Mr Barlow added: “Although we have had some fun setting it up, our intentions are serious. This is not going to be a here today, gone tomorrow business. We fully intend to develop a lasting legacy that one day we hope will lead he market and turn over in excess of a million pounds.”