Alexander Saunders always knew he wanted to build something within Leicester and, thanks to an interest-free business loan from The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity, he has been able to do just that.
The founder of Saunders Multi-Media found opportunities to work within the media locally hard to come by following graduation from university. Having worked for a number of companies within their marketing departments, Alexander made the leap and set off on the path of becoming his own boss.
“When I left my role with (retailer) Next, I started to pick up more freelance work, starting with the odd favour for friends, but soon it started to snowball and pick up from there,” explained Alexander. “It was at that point that I realised that, with a bit of funding, I could turn what I was doing into a legitimate business.”
Saunders Multi-Media specialise in the field of 2D and 3D videography and has worked extensively within music and property, crafting music videos and covering live events, in addition to producing material for promotional purposes.
That bit of funding he required came courtesy of The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity, which Alexander discovered through connecting with business support provider NBV. That support through NBV provided Alexander, admittedly a complete newcomer to the world of running a business, with knowledge and insight to accompany his professional skills.
“Looking back, I wish I’d applied sooner,” admitted Alexander when discussing The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity. “I was probably a bit taken aback, thinking it was too good to be true. When I first heard about it, I thought it sounded amazing. If I didn’t have the support of the charity, 100% I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing.
“I was able to undertake a couple of business courses, which I took prior to applying for the loan, which were useful. At the start, it was very hard. I had the equipment and knowledge, but didn’t have the customers. I found out about the charity through NBV, as one of the advisers there – Gau Naik – is a trustee. I was directed onto NBV’s courses, which helped form my business plan and I was able to then go through the charity’s application process. The support I received from NBV and the courses was excellent – and if it wasn’t for those courses, I wouldn’t have been in the position to develop a realistic business plan.”
From that point, Alexander felt in a position to put his business idea and what he’d learned from NBV into practice by applying for an interest-free loan to get his business up and running.
“The application process was relatively easy, especially with the support that I had beforehand,” said Alexander. “It was a case of tweaking a couple of bits from my business plan. It helped me look at things in depth and be realistic. Sometimes you have to mediate and be grounded, realise where you are actually at, rather than where you think you are. NBV’s guidance helped with that. It helped me grow as a person.
“I felt confident going into the interview, of course nervous to start with as you always are in those situations. You quickly realise that the people you’re speaking to want to help you.”
After seeing his application for a loan approved, Alexander utilised the funding to purchase videography equipment, which in turn enabled him to deliver a greater service than ever before, whilst a sum was also set out for marketing purposes; namely a new website to provide an online shop window for his business.
“I’ve always encouraged anybody interested in applying for a loan from The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity to go for it,” admitted Alexander. “I’ve got friends in similar situations to me when I left uni, working in a corporate job and not enjoying it, and I say to them that they should go for it and take a risk while they’re young. When you have a charity like The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity that has terms which enable you to build something, you owe it to yourself to try. It’s a personal loan, so it’s not held against the business. Me personally, I’m only paying back £80 a month.
“It’s a worthy investment in your future. I wouldn’t be where I am without the charity.”
To learn more about Saunders Multi-Media, please visit https://www.smartwaymedia.co.uk/
Alternatively, please click here to find out more about The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s interest-free business loans.