Director of Scothosts
In 2000 the founding directors of Scothosts decided to combine their expertise in graphic design, marketing and technical skills to set up a web design agency. Since then the Edinburgh business has expanded into an e-commerce and internet services group. Here director Edwards Gibbs tells us more.
What do you do (in non-technical language please)?
We provide a wide range of internet-related business services including hosting, proxy and VPN servers, business marketing databases, video streaming and live sports event information.
Where did the funding come from and which organisations have supported the business?
We have been entirely self-funded from the start and our growth has been organic.
What is unique about what the company does? What has been the single biggest investment?
The company has been very innovative in being able to spot business opportunities and use technology to turn them into commercial successes. We invest in the region of £500,000 a year in developing technology projects and marketing.
Has there been a key moment or turning point?
When we realised that the web design sector was too crowded and we had to diversify into other internet-related businesses.
What is the business plan and how does the company intend to grow?
The plan is to continue to develop more successful technology projects.
How does the company use technology and IT?
Technology is absolutely central to everything we do. Over the past decade we have invested many hundreds of thousands of pounds in IT equipment and programming skills.
Who are your key customers/what are your key markets?
For our business database/information and video streaming services our clients are all commercial organisations. We work with all types and sizes of business. For the proxy / VPN server and sports event information services they are consumer markets.
Does the company have international sales or does it intend to grow internationally?
A large percentage of the revenue from our proxy / VPN server service comes from overseas. We operate in eight countries (UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and France). Since the company was established we have marketed ourselves internationally through trade shows and foreign media.
What has been the best achievement so far?
The fact we have survived in what is a highly competitive business sector. We have no debt and have been entirely self-funded. We plough the profits back into the company to fund future technology projects.
What has been the biggest hurdle which has been overcome?
In the current climate you have to be very flexible and adaptable in your approach to business.
How do you interact with the wider business community (networking etc)?
We do much of our networking via social media which has been very successful.
What will the next 12 months hold?
We will continue to build our brand, increase traffic to our sites and launch a number of new projects in 2012.
Where do you want the business to be in 10 years time?
We would like to be running bigger and more successful projects.
If you were given £1 million to invest in the company how would you use it?
We would use the money to do marketing on a larger scale to make our brands better known.
What's the best part of running a business?
Definitely the lifestyle it affords and the freedom to make your own decisions.