With “a smile a day” – we are certain this Fenland business “can change the world”!

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Find out about how Nate Lansdell, Managing Director and Founder of Fenland-based, Nate Lansdell Design got financial and planning support from the Start and Grow programme.

Nate is an active member of his community in Christchurch Fenland, and a Volunteer in the Community nominee for the Pride in Fenland award for his work with Christchurch eco, Christchurch Street pride, and for supporting his local primary school Townley during the COVID pandemic – repairing computers to ensure they continued learning from home.

Nate told us how he is a multi-skilled computer engineer, graphic and website designer, with over 14 years of experience in the IT and Design field. He explained that he ran his own computer repair business in 2010 and then worked as a civilian contractor for the USAF before looking for a career change.  Unfortunately, due to a lack of formal qualification in design and IT and because he has lot of learning disabilities – dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia he was unable to secure work.

Despite these minor setbacks Nate decided that working for himself again was the best way forward and he started his new design business, Nate Lansdale Design, in September 2021.

His business provides a full range of design services for his clients, including web design, graphic design such as brochures, flyers etc, branding, CAD and much more. Fortunately for Nate, using zoom and other web-based communications to liaise with clients meant that he has been able to engage clients from the start, and Covid has not presented any negative impact to his business start-up.  He does a lot of networking to build his client-base which has been very successful.

Nate was able to start his business with the help of Universal Credit. However, that did not provide him with the capital that he needed to buy the up-to-date equipment he needed to work efficiently for clients. Having seen a Facebook post by the Fenland District Council, Nate found out about the Start and Grow programme running in his region. He signed up with the aim of gaining a grant, and within 2 days was invited along to the introduction workshop.  Nate has been successful in gaining a grant, but has gained a lot more than just money from the programme, he says:

“Don’t be afraid of joining. The government grant money is there to help businesses just like mine to grow. My taking this money, it is helping businesses to start up and grow, and then they in turn help others with the services they provide.  You are getting money and also a support network to get going and you can return that money to the economy by growing your successful business”.

Through Start and Grow, Nate was able to successfully secure a grant of just under £7k, which enabled him to buy a new laptop, monitor, monitor calibration equipment and an eco-printer.  This equipment will allow Nate to dramatically improve his workflow, and also enables him to meet his own green agenda.

The grant has also enabled Nate to procure a state of the art camera to add photography services to his graphic design studio, something he is excited to see grow, and enable him to offer a bespoke services not normally seen from standard design studios.

He is also used some of his grant money to pay towards his professional membership to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and to join the Chartered Society of Designers.  Nate is also studying (part-time) for a degree in Innovation with the Open University. He is now in his second year, having gained distinctions in his first year in Design and Business Management.  Professional and academic qualifications are important in terms of showcasing his credentials and building his own brand.

Together with the grant, Nate outlined how the Start and Grow programme has helped him with his business planning.  Having spent time discussing his business plan and cash flow with one of the business advisors, he recognised that he was not charging enough money for his services.

He was encouraged to work out how much time he was spending on every interaction with his clients, and to work out the whole time he was spending on jobs and then working out what his hourly rate was.  Having done this, Nate realised that the fees he was charging clients were too low, and not enough to enable him to build a viable business. This also helped him realise the potential that his business has. As a result, he has broadened his client base and ensures that he now charges competitive rates that will enable him to build and grow a  sustainable and successful business.  He says:

“Start and Grow gave me more confidence and made me realise that I can do what I am doing. I know that may sound strange, but having been unemployed for 5 years and constantly been beaten back, this programme has helped me realise actually this grant and support system is going to help me grow my business and to grow as a person”. 

In terms of his plans for the future, his aims to maintain a sustainable workflow and make sure that he can earn enough that he can grow his studio. In a couple of years he hopes that he will be able to take on more freelancers to work for him.  He wants to be able to have a comfortable lifestyle and do the things that he wants to do. With his motto of “A smile a day can change the world”, we are confident that Nate has a very successful future ahead of him.  Let’s leave the last words to him:

“The Start and Grow experience was amazing and I learnt so much!  I am very honoured and privileged to receive the grant money and I have a lot of work ahead to ensure that I use that money properly. I am determined to succeed with my business and I want to be able to put my money back into the economy, so that in the future, I can help other businesses to succeed”.

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How you can get support for your business

You can get 121 support from a business advisor, who can also help you with a grant application.  It is all completely free as part of the Start and Grow ProgrammeClick here to find out more or fill in our really simple form to register your interest and one of advisors will be in touch to see how we can help.  The programme runs until the end of June – so make sure you get the boost your business needs.

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Plunkett UK Grants

Plunkett UK Grants

With funding from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Plunkett is currently able to offer early-stage community businesses free advice and support on how to get their business off the ground, including guidance on community engagement, legal structures, business planning and raising the funds to do it.