Today, Tuesday 15th December 2015 is the 10th anniversary of the day that we formed Broadbiz.
Whoooosh… How quickly has that gone? But how much have we achieved in that time?
I don’t want to bore you with too much detail but here’s a potted history of what has happened to us over the past 10 years. There’s lots more planned as we grow and grow.
Getting Started in IT
Well it starts with my career (Ian Lodge) in IT as far back as when I started my maths degree at City University in 1988. I turned up to do a Maths and Stats degree and was shocked to find out on the first day that there was IT in the course. Apart from playing Track and Field on a spectrum at home, what did I know about IT?
Oh well. Time to suck it up and get on with it. And after limping through my degree course, I actually found out that I quite enjoyed this IT stuff! So I got a job in it working in London for Dept. of Trade and Industry (thanks to my dad for this one) initially programming mainframe computers which were as big as a double fridge with less power that the phone you have in your pocket today!
Then onto some Oracle database stuff and when the web came around for real in around 2000, I turned my skills to web technologies. Having a mum as an artist and my dad as an IT bloke, the web kind of seemed like the ideal path.
How Did We Start?
Late in 2005, my sister-in-law and business partner, Teresa approached me to design a simple site to promote their holiday let management business based in Broadstairs. I was delighted and we got going.
Well somehow I had to be paid and with a full time job and salary in London so we founded the company on 15th December 2005. I remember that I used one of the work PCs to do it which in hindsight was a bit risky, but there were no such things as smartphones back then!
The Early Years 2005-2010
The next few years saw the company grow with me doing the development and my wife, Pip doing the paperwork. In all honesty, there wasn’t a huge amount of time to develop but my 4 hour daily commute on the train was used wisely. Whilst other commuters were snoozing on the train, I was developing on a laptop in the corner ready to upload when I got to an internet connection.
We picked up a series of clients over those years and by 2010 we had 40-50 small clients who were happy to see their web developer on a rare day off, evenings or weekends. We realised we had something that we could sell and just as importantly that we could help local businesses expose their products and services to the local and worldwide communities via the power of the web.
Working in the Local Community
As community minded folk, we wanted to make this thing work for some of the organisations in the local area that maybe had little or no available funds to make the most of the web.
From day one, we have offered 20% off of all our services for any Community or Charity based organisation and the number of organisation that we have helped have been many.
These are just a few of them; Broadstairs Dickens Festival, Margate Soul Weekend, Broadstairs Town Team, Thanet Wanderers RUFC, Broadstairs Water Gala and Thanet Support.
The General Election 2010
Whilst the formation of the first coalition Government for nearly 40 years might not seem like a key turning point in many lives, it was a major factor for me.
With a Conservative lead Government came a redundancy offer for every single employee at DTI, now renamed the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS). Whilst I had quite a key role in the development of ICT in the organisation and didn’t think they would entertain my application, I thought there was no harm in putting up, fully expecting to be turned down.
But, with a recession kicking off, there were not many hands in the air and it turned out that every hand that went up got offered a package including me. And this started the next part of my life and for Broadbiz to become a proper business with proper revenue and proper salaries.
Move to the Kent Innovation Centre – 2011
It was clear from the start of this new era that local business owners were only going to be interested in us if we had proper premises and one of our clients, Aquaread was based at the Kent Innovation Centre and suggested we came and had a look. Which we did and we are still here now!
With a proper professional premises, client parking right outside, high-speed internet and a welcoming reception area, we were set. I know this sounds like an advert but this is a great place for a small business and yes, there are some offices available if you are interested!
Over the years, we have moved from a 1-desk room to a 2-desk room and now into a 5-desk room. The good thing about this place is that when we upsize again in a few months, we will need to drag our furniture along the corridor into a bigger office.
The Employer Years 2012-2015
Obviously with professional offices, we could employ people and Lewis Hardisty (still with us today) joined us in 2012 as the first. Then in 2015, Jamie Galvin and Jonathan Plumridge also joined us on apprenticeship schemes and today we are a team of 4 developers plus Pip as the office manager.
The Changing Web 2012-2015
It might not seem so long ago, but it’s really only the last 4 years that we have had the web in our pocket and that has been the real change in humans’ need for the web and the information that it holds for us all.
Technically there have been some massive changes which most readers will not be interested in, HTML5 and CSS3, mobile-friendly but that you use every day and we are proud of the fact that we keep abreast of the changes in the industry and adapt our services accordingly.
The Growth Years 2013-2015
From 2013 onwards, we have seen the real upward trend for Broadbiz and that growth grows every few months.
These days, we get enquiries from around 5 local businesses each week and whilst not every single one is a perfect fit for us and for them, we sign up at least 10 new clients every month.
We are supporting well over 300 clients now and our business model has always been to work long term with those.
How Do We Feel About All This?
Pip and I both feel very proud of what we have achieved with Broadbiz over the last decade. It has allowed us to work in the lovely area in which we live, reduce our commute and watch our two wonderful daughters grow up. They were 2 years old and 2 months old when we formed the company.
We are also very proud of the fact that we are able to make a difference to 100s of businesses and we like to think that lots of those would not be in the position that they are now without Broadbiz.
The promotion of local businesses to local people, keeps local money in the local area. We can never begin to measure that, but we have definitely had an impact on the local economy.
None. Really none. OK, we may have done a few things differently but pretty much it’s been good. Here’s to the next 10 years, 20 years, however many!
Get In Touch with Us
If Broadbiz can help you at all, whether you are interested in developing or redeveloping your web presence or working here, please get in touch.