Future of Work — 22 December 2016

Behind the scenes of a successful small business

There are over 5.5 million of them in the UK, but what does it take to run a successful small business, to have a great idea and grow it bigger? Following the huge success of Small Business Saturday we’ve decided to find out.

Across the next few months, Drop Everything will be meeting various SMBs, going behind the scenes, to uncover how successful small businesses are punching above their weight. Today, we’re talking to Ugly Drinks:

“We don’t really talk about IT at Ugly. We have the right devices, like our phones and our laptops – and then we have the right set of tools, like Dropbox.” Hugh Thomas, co-founder of Ugly Drinks.

Just over a year ago, you’d have found Ugly founders Joe Ben and Hugh Thomas in steady jobs, earning good money. Then, like any good entrepreneur, they went and quit.

With little more than a good idea, a couple of Dropbox subscriptions, two smartphones, and one big dose of determination, they headed off to disrupt the fizzy drinks market.

Was it worth it? Yes. Today, Ugly Drinks is sold in over a thousand stores, and so far they’ve shifted 200,000 cans. Not bad for a couple of 20-somethings, who’ve never run their own business before.

What’s the secret? Hugh told us growing a small business fast is down to two things: “The first would be the right tools and systems in place to grow quickly. The second thing would be a little bit of craziness, and the ability to carry on when it might not be the most sensible thing to do!”

And according to Joe, success lies in being able to work freely: “I mean if we weren’t mobile we wouldn’t have been able to build the company to where we are today, and we wouldn’t be able to go beyond that either. So much of what we do is about being out and about, talking to our customers – it’s everything for Ugly!”

We’d love you to share some of the Ugly journey in our video above, and if you’ve got a great small business story to share, then we’d love to hear from you too. Contact us at bloguk@dropbox.com.

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