Hot Horse Ltd
Member since: 2009
Tell us about your business:
Hot Horse Ltd is a boutique web design and development company that offers technical expertise, design creativity and exemplary client service standards - in a nutshell we're geeks that can speak! We match our passion for innovative design and web technology to the unique business objectives of each client - it's a potent mix. We work on everything from smaller projects for owner managed businesses right-up to bespoke Software as a Service developments for multinational corporations. Over the nearly 14 years since Hot Horse Ltd was set-up we've delivered a highly professional service to all of our customers irrespective of their size or the size of their project.
The beginning - your ‘eureka’ moment:
Having worked for a large South Coast Agency for 3 years it became apparent there was a gap in the market to take the level of skills and expertise we could offer into the SME market at a more affordable cost. We also realised that what we especially enjoyed was finding and delivering a full solution for each client rather than being responsible for just a small part of that workflow.
The best and the worst of times:
The best of times is when a more technical web solution slots into play exactly as anticipated and you see the client hitting all of the business objectives that were discussed at the planning stage of the project. It's also really great when someone calls up because an existing client has recommended us. The worst of times, like for most software developers, is when there's off-specification stuff that a client really wants but has no budget for - it's never any fun having to say no! We also had one Christmas 5 years ago when a corporate client pushed a substantial and overdue invoice to 170 days - that wasn't much fun.
What gets you out of bed in the morning - what motivates you?:
I genuinely enjoy my work and I particularly like going to meet potential clients and finding out all about their businesses, how they operate and how we can help them. I'm a really curious person and I love learning new stuff about just about anything really so that part of the process fascinates me. I'm also really motivated by the degree of flexibility that my work offers me. I've seen so many friends struggling to fit their working lives around their family commitments and the stress that can cause. I feel genuinely lucky that the decisions I made along the way mean I can run a successful business but still get to enjoy my family life.
Luck or skill - what gets your further?:
You need both! Without the skills you can't make the most of the random opportunities that life in business throws at you but there's no doubt that sometimes it is just a case of good timing. We've just completed a really big project for a long standing client that had stalled because the internal decision maker knew that they were leaving. Their replacement was really determined to make their mark and chose our project as the vehicle to do that. Pure luck!
Having the nerve to make decisions and then being willing to stand by them and see them through. I also thing a good entrepreneur is able to recognise and learn from their mistakes - we all make them - the real trick is to learn and move on.
Moving on up - your ambitions and the next big thing:
We're exploring moving some of our technical assets onto product platforms so we can deliver them to a much wider client base. Having recently completed a really high end Software as Service solution we're keen to expand our work on larger projects because the whole process is really absorbing and fascinating (I did admit to being a bit of a geek)! Business wise it's also more profitable to work on a handful of really big projects rather than lots of smaller ones.
Your top tips:
If you feel to start up on your own just go for it - the hardest decision I have ever had to make was the initial one to set-up the business. Be considered and thoughtful in your actions and communications - your reputation is your most valuable asset Treat everyone you meet with the same courtesy and respect because you never really know who your talking to Be willing to work hard but try to keep some balance - it's no fun making money if you're always too tired to enjoy the benefits.
What others say about you and your business:
That we deliver what we say we're going to deliver and we do it on time and on budget! That we are good at what we do and our services represent good value for money and an excellent return on investment. That we're generous with our skills and expertise and can speak to clients in their own language rather than baffling them with technical jargon. Also that we're decent, pleasant and straightforward people to work