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Essentials for scale-up success: Accessing markets

In the fourth part of this mini-series – looking at seven challenges every growing business faces – we look at scaling your business by accessing new markets

At O2 we support start-ups and growing businesses through our work with organisations like Enterprise Nation and the ScaleUp Institute, as well as through Telefónica’s innovation hub, Wayra.

We’ve published an eBook for entrepreneurs and owners of growing businesses – Seven essentials for scale-up success – which outlines seven key challenges entrepreneurs must overcome in order to scale their business effectively. You can download your copy here.

Another challenge that growing businesses face is accessing markets. We spoke with Kate Golby, Founder of Bothy Threads, a cross-stitch and tapestry kits business with customers around the world.

She explained three ways that Bothy Threads was able to grow by accessing new markets:

1. Winning your first big customer

Like many start-ups, Bothy Threads began as a hobby business, with kits being made up from Kate’s own designs, and selling them through local shops and mail order catalogues. She had big ideas, however, so she took the plunge and approached John Lewis. They loved the designs and placed an order.

The support of a major retailer gave Kate the confidence to grow further, and turnover reached £250,000 in just a couple of years. This was a turning point, because it meant that Kate could leave her day job and focus on the business full-time.

2. Attracting wholesale clients

A large proportion of the Bothy Threads business is wholesale, supplying mail order firms and online retailers. Exhibitions and trade shows have proved effective for finding new wholesale buyers, and the company exhibits at two annual trade shows: CHSI at the NEC and H&H in Cologne.

3. Direct to consumers – wherever they are

Bothy Threads sells all of its products directly to consumers through the company’s website and Facebook page – wherever they are in the world. By welcoming enquiries from overseas customers, and responding to them as quickly as UK customers, overseas trade has grown steadily. While not part of any deliberate marketing effort, 15% of the business now comes from outside the UK.

From humble beginnings as a hobby business back in 2007, Bothy Threads now has an annual turnover of more than £1m, and employs 13 staff. For Kate, accessing markets throughout the world has been essential to scaling the business.


You can read more about Bothy Threads, and all seven challenges faced by leaders of scaling business, by downloading O2’s free eBook Seven essentials for scale-up success.

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