Anyone who has ever moved to a new city knows that it can take a while to feel like a local. Nicole Blyth knows firsthand how stressful and intimidating it can be to relocate, as her family had to move house five times in two years. Upon graduating with her MSc from Robert Gordon University, Nicole decided to develop a new social platform that brings local businesses and new residents together. We spoke to Nicole about her experience in founding her business.
You can also listen to Nicole’s recent podcast with the ABVenture zone online here.
EC: Hi Nicole, tell us more about RelocateGuru!
NB: RelocateGuru is an online social platform that rewards people for helping others by sharing their local tips so everyone can feel like a local anywhere. By sharing the most useful tips, users earn points to redeem reward vouchers from their favourite local businesses. So it not only helps individuals find the best things in their area but also encourages people to support their local businesses.
EC: How did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
NB: I don’t like doing things just because that’s the way they’ve always been done. I have a tendency when I come across problems, I want to create a better way. When my family had to move house five times in two years and having to start our life from scratch every time, I wished there was a tool to make organising the move and finding everything easier. So I want to create RelocateGuru to make moving easier so everyone can feel like a local.
EC: What has been your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur?
NB: The main challenge is keeping focused on the mission of the business as there are a lot of avenues I could explore. It’s easy to get carried away and want to do everything, but it is also easy to become overwhelmed. So I am learning to break things down to one or two main goals to focus on.
I am a bit of a perfectionist, so it has hard for me to get started before everything is exactly as I wish it was. But I am learning the hard way that it’s better to get started because nothing is ever perfect and it will always be a continuous evolution to make it better and better.
EC: What is your ambition for RelocateGuru?
NB: In 10 years my aim is that RelocateGuru is a global brand and helps to make a real difference in creating friendly communities that help each other and help great local businesses grow. I hope that RelocateGuru will one day be known as the “go-to” resource to get all the information you need about any local area.
EC: Do you have any advice for budding student entrepreneurs?
NB: During the company’s development there have been a number of recurring themes: the importance of planning, market research, knowing your financials inside out, and ultimately listening to your instincts!
Being an entrepreneur can be quite lonely, so being a part of a network of other entrepreneurs and mentors is really important to successfully start a small business. You never know who you may meet that is a few steps ahead of you and can point out common pitfalls. Also I wouldn’t have been aware about a lot of the funding and business support available if it wasn’t for other entrepreneurs telling me about a grant scheme or course to apply for.
EC: How has Enterprise Campus helped you?
NB: I received some grant funding which contributed to the development of the web platform. But more importantly has been the support and advice from Alan Feighery from Enterprise Campus. Through his support and advice, I found out about courses like the Accelerator Programme at Elevator UK and Scotland Can Do Scale Bootcamp. Alan’s support and guidance helped me through the application process has been great. I would always recommend attending as many events and courses as possible as you can learn so much that will help your business grow and develop your network of other entrepreneurs that could help you.