We love to be creative and work closely with a lot of design agencies in Derby, and have a really close relationship with them. Photography and film can help to deliver a message, but is only ever part of the idea. The idea comes from experience and creativity of a successful agency, which one of the reasons asked Craig to share his experience of setting up Koobr.

Koobr is a creative agency specialising in brand communications, covering various services including; branding, graphic design, web design and development, digital marketing, copy-writing and other marketing-related services. We pride ourselves on building long-term working relationships with our customers, becoming a dedicated part of their team, truly getting to know the business.

Ever since I was a child, I always knew I wanted to run my own business, so that I could be in control of my own destiny. After completing a degree in Graphic Media Communication, I started my career in various freelance roles in creative agencies and large companies, developing a wealth of experience. In 2003, I started taking on direct clients and then starting on the very challenging and turbulent journey of trying to grow a business.

For those wondering when it’s the right time to start-up on your own – some people do it out of necessity, some think that if they have a specific skill, they could run a business which uses that skill. Some want fame and fortune; some inherit a business or fall into it. For me, I always knew from about 16 years old – I liked the idea of becoming a successful businessperson. There was a certain point in time when I was working a job and I felt like I was taken for granted and that I could be doing so much more.

I chose to work for myself because I wanted to be in control. I wanted to build a business, I wanted to choose my own path. I had seen my dad get made redundant and I wanted to ensure that this did not happen to me. For me, the best thing about running a business is the fact that you can make a difference – to your customers, to your staff and the wider community. Running my own business allows me the freedom to weave this into the fabric of what we do as a company.

I get the biggest sense of achievement when I see something which I have played a part in, doing well. whether this is a customer, a project, a member of staff or one of the students we help at college or university. Before going into business for yourself you have to understand that there will be some real difficult time, times that make you wonder why you are doing it, but for me, the highs outweigh the lows and I am glad I went into business. 

Recent times have been some of the hardest with the global pandemic. If you were having hard times because you made a mistake, you can try to do something about it, but with this, it was largely out of our control and you get a real sense of helplessness. Luckily, we are still here and powering through it, for the most part doing really well.

I would tell people who are thinking of starting their own business, firstly that you need bucket loads of resilience. There will be tough times, but not many people are resilient enough to get through them. And secondly, to learn to let go – you can’t do everything yourself. I’m constantly aware of the fact that businesses must always evolve and change with the times, or they will not survive. With this in mind, we are always looking at ways to change or develop. We are currently in the process of creating our own software related products which will create re-occurring income and further strengthen the business.

It is common for a business owner to feel like quitting and I probably feel like this several times per year. The best thing you can do is surround yourself with other great business owners, people who are going through similar things, preferably some that are further on the journey that will inspire you and you can learn from.

The advice I would give to anyone starting a new business is do your research before you start. Determine whether there is a gap in the market for what you do, because if you find there is too little demand, there is no business. I am often asked how I switch off, and honestly, I don’t. A business is not a job, it is a way of life. But exercise and being outdoors helps with stress levels.

If I was to highlight the main advantages of running your own business, I would say for me it’s all about the freedom and being in control of your own destiny, but also if you have a business that works, the financial rewards can be way higher than most jobs.