The Fruition of Flourish
Starting your own business is a scary prospect, especially in today's uncertain world. There is so much to think about before you even start... Your money making idea, your competition, your company name, your finances, your website.
My wife had a dream to start her own online education company teaching English as a second language. Below is a guest post written by Lucy Harries describing the process of starting a new business during lock down. I think we used our time rather productively.
The Fruition of Flourish
Every company starts with a dream…. Or in my case it was more like a niggling idea that just would not go away. 18 months ago I decided to make that seed of an idea a reality, hand in my notice at work and get started on creating Flourish in English.
I love teaching. I love working with young people, seeing the progress they make and having an impact on their lives. I have been fortunate to build some wonderful relationships with students and parents teaching at the international school that I have been working at for the last four and a half years, and I wanted to continue to nurture these relationships and offer something that could enhance the learning of the students. Don’t get me wrong, the work that my colleagues do at school is simply superb and the results are quite remarkable. Yet I felt that that was a real gap in the market – English tutoring that is specifically designed to support the British curriculum and allow students the opportunity to flourish both in school and in the wider world. For most of my students English is a huge part of what will allow them to go to top universities in the UK and USA, and it is the language that opens doors wide open to them. I realised that although it was time for me to go back to the UK for a while, I still wanted to continue to be part of developing these global citizens. Enter, Flourish in English.
It was a slow process; first consolidating my idea, working out my target market, and deciding on the fundamentals that would underpin the business. This is no mean feat and took months of discussion and planning. Carving out my own space in the market meant that I initially had to understand what made me different from my competitors. What was unique about the service I was offering and how would I communicate this to potential customers?
Once I had my vision very clear – in handwritten notes, then mind maps and then a business plan – it was time to think about how it would all look and feel. Coming from a family of designers I knew that my idea, philosophy and visuals had to align. There was only ever going to be one design studio that could help me with this - Vivi Creative. Not only is Viv a brilliant designer, he is also my husband! That and the fact that his tagline is ‘align your design’, which was exactly what was needed.
Discussing what we wanted Flourish to feel like took some time. In terms of the website I knew that it needed to be colourful, dynamic and easy to navigate, seeing as many of my clients would not have English as their first language.
Designing the structure of the website came first – what pages did I want, what information needed to go onto them, how would I communicate who we are as a company and a brand? Being an English teacher the copywriting came naturally, and it wasn’t long before I found the ‘voice’ of the brand. With all of this in place, it was time to start thinking about the visuals.
We went through a whole host of colour palettes, illustrations, icons and layout choices. I was pretty clear in my ideas and Viv followed my lead, making invaluable suggestions about usability and design. No change was too small, and my indecisiveness was humoured – Viv knew what looked best, but allowed me to see my ideas before I agreed wholeheartedly with his suggestions.
The developer at Vivi Creative was a real hero in this process; he created the website exactly as prescribed, fixed problems that arose, and continues to tweak and add bits that I realise later I need. The entire team has a can-do attitude, but also held my hand through the process (which I needed as I had never built a business and a brand before!).
I am so very fortunate to have a brand specialist as a father, so we had many discussions about developing the narrative within the website, using colour to direct users, and making the services I offer clear. I also worked with him to develop the logo, combining a few ideas and fonts over face time and we had the design that would be slapped over all of my products and advertising (even my face mask!). I might have been 6,000 miles away from him, but we had a business meeting almost every other day. My high in the sky ideas were grounded and solidified by my discussions with him. It is because of him that I knew I didn’t want to create a basic website and just ‘have a go’. He has always instilled in me a philosophy that if you are going to do something, you do it properly from the outset. Now, although my business is still small, it has the scope to grow and become something more, without me having to redo all of the work I have already put in. Between the three of us (my husband, my dad and I) we created a brand that I am hugely proud of.
There is no way that any of what I have now would be here if it wasn’t for Vivi Creative. I am so proud of the brand that we have created, and it is this that initially gives my business credibility. It is then my job to continue to build this with the learning that I deliver – but it is my company and personal brand that got them through the door, so to speak.
I look forward to seeing where Flourish in English will go. There is huge scope to continue to build and grow the business, and this is possible because I have started out as I mean to go on; looking professional and delivering a service that is of the highest quality.
Thanks for reading.