Posted: Thu 2nd Jan 2014
Each month, Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones hosts a one-day business class in London called StartUp Saturday. One of Emma's former students is Corby Kuffour, co-founder of That Sale Site. We talked to Corby about starting a business fresh out of university.
Hi Corby! Tell us a little bit about your business idea
Well, put simply, it's a website that lets you know when your favourite fashion brands are having sales. These days, with so many different stores it's hard to keep track of all the sales... that's where we come in!
What was your motivation to want to start your own business?
In the summer of 2012, my friend Tomi was searching the web for a decent pair of trousers. Like most lazy students, the task of going from website to website, in search of the best deals, took too much time and effort. We decided that this could be an opportunity to create a solution to an inconvenience, most people (not just students), would have encountered before. As a collective, including Valery, we were already in the process of developing other ideas, but none were as exciting as this one.
My motivation comes from a desire to be in control of my own success. This is something that is shared amongst the three of us, as well as the hunger for knowledge and new exciting challenges. The business continually challenges us, forcing us to remain sharp and creative, and we wouldn't have it any other way. Plus we're young and foolish enough to take the risk!
And how long's the business been going?
The business is up and running and has been 'alive' since the beginning of July. Most of that time has been spent developing the website on the back-end with our web developer. In fact, there has been so much work done in preparation for the site that we only managed to launch in December, just in time for the Christmas period.
What were you doing before you started your business?
Well, when we came up with the idea we were all still at University in different parts of the country, so it was difficult to really get the business up and running. As university was also important to us, we took the group decision to put the brakes on the idea until we all sat our final exams the following year. This was obviously easier said than done as the idea was on our minds constantly, but now we are starting to realise how important those years of studies were for the future of the business.
It wasn't until the day of my final summer exam that we decided to go full-time with the business. It later proved to be the perfect timing as we had an extremely productive summer, and haven't taken a day off since (except to collect our respective degrees).
How did you fund your business?
After realising the initial costing of our business would come down to the developing the website, we began searching for possible web developers. After much research and various meetings with who we consider our mentors, we found that the best way to save money whilst receiving a personalised service, was to hire a freelance web developer.
By the time we chose a developer, we had a good idea of our costs and seeing as the business was a substantial investment, we decided to seek outside funding. Research led us to Elevation Networks and with a clear business plan, we were able to secure the start-up loan we needed to begin the website building process.
What's been your biggest business success to date?
I'd probably have to say when we hit 1000 unique visitors. I know it may sound small now, but having spent the previous 6 months envisaging exactly how we would advertise and promote the site, to finally see the results and to have people actually responding to what we had put out there felt great!
I have been an Enterprise Nation member since April 2013, and I'm so glad I joined. Being a member, I have been able to attend many events that have provided me with useful tools to implement in the business development. In fact it was a StartUp Saturday event at my University, where I first met Emma Jones! Since then we have managed to keep in touch and she has introduced me to some amazing people.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about starting their own business?
My advice would be to surround yourself with people that you can learn from as well as work alongside. I have learnt that what is most important is that those around you are willing to tell you both the negatives and positives of your ideas. As much as we all like to be complimented, it isn't always for the best.
Where do you want your business to be in 5 years time? And how can the Enterprise Nation community help you get there?
We want to be the number one destination for all things fashion discounts in the UK. We are currently in talks with a few big retailers and some up and coming brands. This will allow us to introduce new features that will further enhance the user experience of our site. In 5 years time, we would like to see fruitful partnerships with all of the featured retailers, as well as acting as the leading advertising platform for up and coming brands in a number of different countries across the globe.
Enterprise Nation is a great networking platform. From attending various events we have been able to exchange ideas and knowledge with other like-minded entrepreneurs. Having access to this community has really helped us develop our business acumen and will continue to participate in our growth.
Find out more about Corby's business That Sale Site at www.thatsalesite.com