MasterStroke Media

We put 5 questions to James Buckett from MasterStroke Media

Tell us a bit about your business – how did it get started, how long have you been involved etc.

I have always had a love for cameras and photography, my mother is an artist and I think she gave me the creative gene. I’ve had so many different cameras over the years and that progressed to trying video cameras, my grandfather always would have a camcorder with him, filming all the grandchildren. I started getting more heavily into film when the GoPro cameras came out and I loved making films of all my sporting adventures. I enjoyed it so much, I decided I wanted to make it into a business doing something I love and am passionate about and it has grown from there.

What are you favourite (and least favourite) parts of running your business?

I love all parts of film making and spend all my free time learning more, it’s an endless subject that can take a lifetime and still have plenty more to learn.

I’m yet to find my least favourite part of business. It might be having to do everything myself when I’m trying to the job of a 6-person crew by myself all at the same time.

What are your aims and goals for the business in the next 12 months and what are you looking forward to achieving most?

To expand my client base, working with ambitious companies that want to grow, taking on more ambitious and creative work, building both my client’s businesses and mine.

What is it about Okehampton and the surrounding area that makes it so ideally suited for you and your business?

I think I offer services that can really help the local businesses and open up opportunities that previously may not have been as accessible. Businesses that may not have previously utilised film much or at all, I can help them stay competitive, engage with their customer base and expand into wider areas that they may not have previously been able to reach.

Tell us one thing about your business that will surprise people or that you think they wouldn’t , know about it?

Few people realise the amount of work that goes into producing a film after the shooting has been completed. I think it would surprise people to learn that two thirds or often more of the time spent creating a beautiful film is in post-production.

You can find out more about James’ work at www.facebook.com/MasterStrokeMediaUK

Alex Thomas Design

We put 5 questions to Alex Thomas from Alex Thomas Design

Tell us a bit about your business – how did it get started, how long have you been involved?

I’ve been a graphic designer for over 20 years, but I’ve been working for myself  for about 5 years now. I started my career working in consumer magazine publishing for Future Publishing in Bath. I worked on a number of their IT and computing magazines, but mainly on MacFormat magazine, which I loved as I am a huge Apple geek!

After leaving Future, I moved into marketing and corporate design, working for an IT company called IPL and a homewares company called Cox & Cox, creating their marketing materials in print and digital as well as working on their websites. I went freelance in 2013, and continued working for a number of my previous employers in a freelance capacity, as well as for a variety of other clients all over the UK.

What are your favourite (and least favourite) parts of running your business?

I love the variety of work I get to do. One minute I can be making a white paper for an IT client, the next I’m creating a website for a wedding venue, then in the afternoon I’m doing a quarterly review for a solicitors. I also love the fact that my commute is only a few minutes as I work at home. I also love the flexibility of my job as it means I can spend time with my young family and balance that with work. The most challenging part of the job is finding new work. Freelance can be a real feast or famine profession, and so it’s important to keep momentum going to avoid those quiet spells from going on for too long!

What are your aims and goals for the business in the next 12 months and what are you looking forward to achieving most?

My main goals for this year are to gain more clients in Devon. We only moved here in Easter 2018 and so I am keen to get more local business, which is why I helped set up this group!

What is it about Okehampton and the surrounding area that makes it so ideally suited for you and your business?

My family and I moved here to be near relatives, which is the most important thing for us. My work is quite flexible, as I can work almost anywhere and so it is all about living in an area which creates the best work/life balance, which Okehampton definitely does. I also grew up in a smaller town like Okehampton and so I prefer it to living in a huge bustling city!

Tell us one thing about your business that will surprise people or that you think they wouldn’t otherwise know about it?

As well as my graphic design business, I also run a website about self published and independent comics called Pipedream Comics. I self-publish my own magazine called The Pull List, which features articles from the website in print form, and I sell these at comic conventions around the UK.

You can find out more about Alex’s work at www.alexthomasdesign.co.uk

Donalds Menswear

We put 5 questions to Mark Turner from Donalds’ Menswear

Tell us a bit about your business – how did it get started, how long have you been involved?

“Donalds” first opened it’s doors back in 1984, following Hepworths decision to close it’s Okehampton store. Donald Rooke owned and ran the business until his retirement in 2016.  Mark started working with Donald in 2005 as Shop Manager, and began learning all aspects of the business: product knowledge, measuring customers, completing alterations, buying stock, made to measure etc. In September 2016 Mark & Gail Turner became the new owners of Donalds Menswear.

What are you favourite (and least favourite) parts of running your business?

There are many things I enjoy about running my own business: meeting new and catching up with regular customers; the variety of tasks in any given day or week; being responsible for the buying of stock (especially new brands to the shop); and the pride (and some relief!) when these new brands are well received by our customers. Also being part of the local business and wider community.

The least favourite part I would say is losing the “spare” time that used to be spent with family and friends. But along with other challenges that occur, it is something that comes with the territory and is both expected and accepted.

What are your aims and goals for the business in the next 12 months and what are you looking forward to achieving most?

In the next 12 months, we aim to update and grow our online and social media presence, while continuing to offer the same service, range of stock and introduction of new brands and products to the shop. Many will have already noticed the new colour of the shop front and business stationary.

What is it about Okehampton and the surrounding area that makes it so ideally suited for you and your business?

The Okehampton area is generally a great place to live and work – as I have done all my life, and Gail moved to from Tavistock around 19 years ago. So when the opportunity arose to own our own business here, it just seemed right!

Tell us one thing about your business that will surprise people or that you think they wouldn’t otherwise know about it?

Some 100 years ago, the building that Donalds Menswear currently trades from used to be a Bank!

FreeFlowing Energy

We put 5 questions to Louise Tremayne of Freeflowing Energy

Tell us a bit about your business – how did it get started, how long have you been involved etc.

I am a Therapist and Mindfulness Teacher who specialises in helping people manage stress and anxiety. I started my business 18 years ago when I was a very stressed and was looking for ways to manage my own stress and anxiety. My stress got so bad that I decided to quit my job and start helping people using the tools that had helped me. I practice what I preach and it thanks to Mindfulness and my therapies that I have successfully overcome the many challenges I have faced in the last few years.

What are you favourite (and least favourite) parts of running your business?

My favourite part is when I see the transformation of my clients from very stressed/anxious to calm, relaxed and empowered to manage their stress themselves. I love hearing how they faced certain challenges or were able to treat themselves kindly if things didn’t go as planned.

My least favourite part is doing my accounts, though I have got a lot better at it and make sure I do it on a regular basis to keep on top of it.

What are your aims and goals for the business in the next 12 months and what are you looking forward to achieving most?

I would like to build up my client base in Okehampton and be able to do a full day on a Friday there and run several Mindfulness classes a week. I am looking forward to facilitating a group of like-minded people who can help and support each other.

What is it about Okehampton and the surrounding area that makes it so ideally suited for you and your business?

I am local, living in Halwill Junction and have lived in Okehampton. I would really like to be able to help the local community and there aren’t many people in the area offering the skills I have. I think it would be great for people not to have to travel to Exeter etc and have access to the support they need in their local town.

Tell us one thing about your business that will surprise people or that you think they wouldn’t otherwise know about it?

You don’t need to be ill to seek help from someone like me! I can help anyone to manage their emotions and stress/anxiety so that they can feel more balanced and able to deal with life’s challenges! Stress is something we all have to deal with and we can’t always prevent it happening, but we can learn to ride the waves when they come at us. Oh & I used to be a software engineer!

You can find more about Louise’s work at www.freeflowingenergy.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FFELou and on Facebook @freeflowingenergy

KB Software

Meet Patrick Kimber and Greg Bushell from KB Software

Tell us a bit about your business – how did it get started, how long have you been involved etc.

KB Software Ltd provide bespoke business solutions using open source software. We specialise in databases on the internet and work hard to make them simple and intuitive.

The business was started in May 2014 by Patrick Kimber and Greg Bushell. We’ve used business systems of various kinds all our working lives and they were not always what the business really needed. We are both familiar with the frustration that many business users have with their systems and came to believe that systems should fit the business, not the other way around. We decided to harness our coding and business experience to understand our clients needs and then, and only then, specify and build a business system that would be tailored to exactly meet their business’s needs.

Our primary motivation is to provide excellent customer service in order to develop long term business relationships and partnerships. We love the journey of understanding different businesses and working with the people that run them to solve their problems. We are approachable, honest and friendly, always trying to listen and understand our customers needs. We believe that our high level of repeat business proves that we achieve this time and time again.

In short, we are passionate about delivering solutions that make life easier for the people we get to work with. What we achieve with them is our biggest reward.

What are you favourite (and least favourite) parts of running your business?

Our favourite part of running our own business is meeting other people. We get excited about what motivates them and it is a privilege to join them on a journey that provides solutions that make a difference to their everyday life. We also love coding but in a (nearly) non geeky way! Our least favourite parts are managing the cash flow and VAT.

What are your aims and goals for the business in the next 12 months and what are you looking forward to achieving most?

Our aim for this year is to grow the business sufficiently so that we can support an apprentice or graduate. We like to collaborate and give back, this motivation underpinned our choice of using open source software. We recognise that investing in others is the best way to build a future for all of us.

What is it about Okehampton and the surrounding area that makes it so ideally suited for you and your business?

We believe that living near Okehampton, in a rural setting, means businesses work harder at working together because they need each other more. The chance to collaborate with others suits us well and our business is better able to succeed in an environment that cares and shares. This allows us to bring our strengths of approachability and knowledge to the forefront of the business relationship we build.

Tell us one thing about your business that will surprise people or that you think they wouldn’t otherwise know about it?

We think it will be surprising for people to hear that we do work for local people and business at heavily discounted rates because we passionately believe in building and supporting our local community.

Find out more about KB Software via their website www.kbsoftware.co.uk. Follow them on Twitter @KB_Software_Ltd and on Facebook @kbsoftwareuk

Garden Capital Ltd

We put 5 questions to book keeper and tax specialist Caryl Gibson of Garden Capital Ltd

Tell us a bit about your business – how did it get started, how long have you been involved etc.
Garden Capital Ltd was established by my husband in 2009 as a business consultancy operating in Surrey. I bought out his shareholding in 2014 when it became more focused on offering Accounting and Bookkeeping services to sole traders, partnerships, Limited companies and micro entities. My services include VAT, accounts for Limited Companies to trial balance, and Corporation Tax/Companies House filing for micro entities under FRS 105. The company is regulated by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) (of which I am a Fellow) with  full Professional and Public Liability Insurances. I charge a fixed rate for my services as I believe business operators need to be able to manage cash flow.
What are you favourite (and least favourite) parts of running your business?
My favourite part of the business is helping the owners of small businesses to concentrate on running and growing their business knowing that their accounts will be completed on time and accurately. I gain a lot of satisfaction from putting accounts in order for clients who have been struggling. There is nothing I dislike.
What are your aims and goals for the business in the next 12 months and what are you looking forward to achieving most?
As my husband retired and we moved to Devon 2 years ago I have spent time introducing my Surrey clients to new accountants and bookkeepers. In the next 12 months I am looking to increase my client base here in the Okehampton area. I’m looking forward to meeting new clients in business areas new to me – most of my previous clients were involved in insurance or financial services.
What is it about Okehampton and the surrounding area that makes it so ideally suited for you and your business?
Okehampton area is so  relaxed and friendly. There are so many small businesses who I am sure will need help with the  Making Tax Digital regulations which come into force next April. I prefer to work with businesses close to home, and like to recommend clients to each other to help them  grow their business – my tagline is “let’s grow together”.
Tell us one thing about your business that will surprise people or that you think they wouldn’t otherwise know about it?
Not only am I a fully qualified bookkeeper, I also hold the PTLLS teaching qualification and am a qualified chef so I am able to (and often do) assist  clients with more practical help such as training staff and catering events!
You can find out more about Caryl’s work at www.gardencapitalwest.com