Making business work in an overcrowded market..

Emma Little, Founder and CEO of ExecSpace talks about what it takes to set up a successful business in an overcrowded market. Emma founded ExecSpace in 2008 and over the past decade, she has grown it to become Scotland’s leading venue finding agency.

“When I came up with the concept of venue finding, I genuinely thought I’d invented the idea! - so I was surprised, after doing some market research, to discover it was actually a massively crowded market place. This is never put me off and if anything I embraced the challenge because it made me think carefully about the qualities that it would take to build a stand out business in an overcrowded market. Today, we are Scotland’s leading venue finding agency and this is something that I’m extremely proud of. Here are a few things, which I believe helped us to get there:

CLIENT CARE - Venue finding is actually a very simple business, but building up a successful business requires doing it well and keeping the client at the very heart of your focus. I genuinely believe that our success is for the most part down to the fact that we put our clients at the centre of everything we do and go above and beyond to make sure that they are always really happy.

ADDING GENUINE VALUE – there is absolutely nothing to stop event planners going to venues directly so it’s really important in our business and indeed any other business that we are able to clearly demonstrate the genuine value that we will add, by working for our clients. Some of this value lies in the experience that we can impart but perceived value for many clients value is centred budgets and the money that we can save people. We recently saved one particular client 21% on their annual meetings and events spend, which is something that I am personally really proud of.

FORWARD THINKING AND PERSPECTIVE - when you’re running a business, it’s very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operating of this, which often makes it hard to stop and put everything in perspective. It can also be difficult to find time to study the wider landscape and keep abreast of industry development and progression. My advice here as the owner of a company, would be to make sure you always find at least a couple of hours a week when you can clear your schedule and focus on keeping in touch with Industry news and updates as staying current and maintaining your industry edge is essential!

POSITIVE VISION – our vision has remained the same since day 1 and that has always been to build one of the most significant global businesses ever to come out of Scotland. Positive vision has been a huge factor in our success because when things get difficult, it’s really important to remember why you set out on your journey in the first place.

PERSEVERANCE – lastly and probably most importantly is the matter perseverance. When I set out, the odds were most definitely stacked against me and it took a good 7 or 8 years to establish a business that I’m truly proud of. It has taken huge amount of work to get us where we are today so one piece of advice I would always give people is to never give up when the going gets tough. I’ve been in some incredibly difficult situations over the past 10 years but with hard work and determination, I can now look back at these hard times and see how much they taught me.

Emma Little is the founder and CEO of ExecSpace and a Women's Enterprise Scotland Ambassador

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