how she did it

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The Obvious Leap

This story is about…

Female entrepreneur: Sarah Dening

Company: Shop On Your Doorstep

Industry: Retail

Location: UK

She started her business after helping other local businesses succeed online.

Age range: 30s

What motivated you to start your business?

Following some freelance work for a friend’s retail business, as my youngest child tottered off to nursery, I found myself helping other local businesses with their online retail presence – whether as a brochure website or an online store. Strengthened by regular episodes of “Mary, Queen Of Shops”, I decided that the obvious leap was to combine the eclectic mix of products and launch my own retail website – and thus Shop On Your Doorstep was born.

Tell us about your business…

My combination of products, suppliers, children and time management means that since the launch of the website on 1st July 2010 (almost 2 years ago), my website has grown to include not only local suppliers, but also many UK designers (and some from overseas too) – my many happy customers are a constant reminder that my many years as a shopper have given me an educated “eye” on the products to source for my customers.

What is a day in the life of you like?

No two days are the same. As well as juggling the school/nursery run with my husband, some days will see me heading off to London or Birmingham to attend trade fairs in the hope of sourcing new and exciting products, whilst on other days you will find me sitting at the PC adding new stock, processing orders or working on a marketing plan.

What have been your biggest challenges so far with running your business?

Having a beautiful website is of no use – unless people find it and make a purchase! I refused to sit back and wait to be found, and with a limited budget came creative marketing ideas.

How did you overcome these challenges?

A combination of social media, leaflets and exhibiting meant that customers found me – and returned!

What have you found to be the most effective way to get new clients?

Take care of each and every customer – the best way to build a business is to treat people with respect and hope that they will return. In the dark days of a recession, you need to offer something your competitors cannot – whether that be new products, or a helpfulness which far exceeds their expectations.

What advice would you give to other business owners?

Having started my business during the recession, I believe that I am well placed to continue when the “good days” return. Before you start your own business, be honest with yourself – is this a hobby or a business? Calculate how many hours per day you can spend on your plan – and then double it!

How do you keep motivated through difficult times?

Having a product featured in a national newspaper or magazine always brings a smile to my face – and is also welcome recognition for my suppliers (many of whom are working alone).

What’s your favourite quote?

Football is a gentleman’s game played by hooligans. Rugby is a hooligans’ game played by gentlemen.

Who inspires you?

My husband and children – the harder I work, the more it benefits us all as a family.

Do you have a business philosophy?

Remember to be special – not a clone.

Take an idea and make it your own.

Get in touch…


Twitter: @shoponyourdoors

Facebook Fanpage:

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