Launched in October 2018 by Geoff Harper, Harper Visuals is a media solutions company, offering a holistic approach to resolving a company’s media requirements.
The Newport-based business works with a talented team of freelancers and provides web design, social media management, video production and drone services to sole traders, new and existing businesses.
What they did
Geoff has been able to take his 18 years’ experience of teaching in this field, together with the practical knowledge he has gained from working with moving images, print, web and audio in many sectors, including the TV and film industries, and use it to give Harper Visuals a unique selling point (USP) and take his new venture forward.
Geoff attended a start-up workshop, delivered by the Welsh Government’s Business Wales service, and received further advisory support to enable him to start his business. He has since attended numerous networking groups as an important element of marketing his business, which has allowed him to secure his first major client, getting Harper Visuals off to a flying start.
What would they do differently?
“Firstly, I wouldn't have feared it so much and would have tried to find a mentor straight away (something I'm only just pursuing). I would have also started the business years ago had I known how easy it is and how cheap it is to get started. I was always worried about wasting time and money setting up a business whilst I was working full time as a lecturer. Looking at it now, I wish I had done it years ago (I would have been so much better off financially).” – Geoff Harper, Director
Their proudest moment in business
“This is a tricky one – I guess it would have to be working for "Freshways", the UK's largest independent dairy. I created a promotional video for them to use to attract independent baristas. They supply all Costas and Starbucks in the UK and they wanted to try and appeal to the other coffee chains, too. This was a high-profile job for my 1st month of trading.”
Describe the type of support (financial / non-financial) they’ve received from Business Wales / Welsh Government
Following attendance at a Starting and Running a Business – Taking the Plunge workshop, Geoff received advice and support from a Business Wales adviser, Melanie Phipps. She helped him with his business planning, cashflow projections, market research, marketing, pricing, business name and provided advice on issues around tax, NI and insurance. As a result, Geoff was able to successfully launch Harper Visuals in October 2018.
Geoff is also planning to reduce the number of vehicles used to access locations and recycle all batteries and old electrical equipment appropriately, in line with his commitment to the Business Wales Green Growth Pledge – an initiative encouraging business owners to consider and minimise their environmental impact.
Geoff said: “I have used a number of the Business Wales services and received one-to-one support from [my adviser] Mel. She is very good – she is quick to follow up on queries and even met me in Asda café one day when the office was too crowded (to ensure confidentiality)! Nothing is too much trouble and I have also bumped into her at a networking event in Abergavenny at 8 in the morning (proving that she practices what she preaches!) I really appreciated seeing her there.”
Here are Geoff’s top tips for anyone else looking to start or grow their own business:
- try and start by getting into the habit of rewarding yourself (a tip I learned from a networking event), nobody is going to tell you that you've done a good job better than YOU!
- network – get up early and go to the free events, they make a huge difference to broadening your opportunities
- use Business Wales events – you will learn loads and it's free networking!
- get your marketing right, make sure you know your business and get all your media sorted including logo, business cards, website, social media etc
Business Wales is a free service that provides impartial, independent support and advice to people starting, running and growing a business in Wales, click here to find out more.