John Fuller – Cricket Yorkshire
‘I never thought I’d run my own business; I was scared of the financial responsibility, perceived risk and the time / effort involved with no guarantee of success. After redundancy and being out of work for the best part of 6 months, my wife suggested I consider it as an option. My previous work included writing editorial and running websites in the public, private and third sectors. I’ve also always been a keen cricketer, and wrote occasional pieces of journalism for regional and national press.
‘I had my first meeting with David Humphreys of Bradford Kickstart in late Autumn 2010, arranged through the Job Centre. Initially, my business idea was to create a local magazine. For the bulk of that meeting, we kicked ideas around and got on to talking about cricket. That planted the seed and led to the idea of doing something cricket related – something I was passionate about – instead.
‘I decided to launch a magazine covering Yorkshire cricket at county and club level, with interviews, news and competitions. The plan was to publish twice a year, raising revenue through advertising, and distributing the magazine to all the clubhouses acrossYorkshire. However, distribution proved a real problem, and with the set up and print costs, I took the business plan in a different direction, creating a cricket news website instead.
‘Cricketyorkshire.com launched in January 2011, and is updated throughout the week with new content. In its first year, we’ve had interviews with county cricketers such as Ryan Sidebottom, Gerard Brophy, and captain Andrew Gale, famousYorkshire cricket fans such as Sir Michael Parkinson and Dicky Bird, and interesting characters around the local cricket scene. We’ve run many competitions, and set off opinionated debates around the county from fans keen to discuss the ins and outs of the sport. We’ve also had big success in social media, with over a thousand followers on Twitter, and over 300 on Facebook.
‘During this time, I’ve met with David on a number of occasions, bouncing ideas around, discussing the development of the brand and investigating revenue streams. David helped with a number of business contacts who inspired editorial content, and he was instrumental in developing a strategy for targeted revenue sales, and how to make Cricket Yorkshire a sustainable business.
‘I aim to grow Cricketyorkshire.com to become an established brand inYorkshirecricket, well known for the quality of editorial content and popular with fans. This year, I’m bringing in more guest-writers, attending cricket exhibitions, and plan to grow brand awareness through increased PR. The majority of advertisers are repeat business, so with increased visitor numbers, the advertising revenue should grow as well.
David Humphreys and Bradford Kickstart have been great in helping me form ideas, develop the confidence to fulfil them and steer me around likely problems. By offering a different perspective on being self-employed and what it takes to be successful, they have given me a good grounding in starting my own business.’