Customer Profiles

02 August 2019

Biz Faces: Brett Neal

This article is all about Brett. Brett has an office at BizSpace Littlehampton. Brett is the founder of Coastal Leasing, who specialise in personal and business vehicle hire. We sat down with Brett to learn where he started, how far he has come and how he came to be at BizSpace. In his own words, this is what Brett told us. 

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“When my daughter came along, she's 12, she’ll be 13 this year, I was working and commuting to Guildford every day which meant leaving the house around 7am and not getting home until around 7pm.  I wanted to be around more and to spend more quality time with her, so I decided to start my own business as I already knew what I was doing in the industry.

 It was a big risk, but I’d just gotten a Christmas bonus so I thought, I’m just gonna use that money and go for it. I started working from a bedroom at home but soon realised, with a crying baby, that it wasn’t going to work. So that’s when we had the glorified shed built in the garden which I made into a home office.

You need discipline to work from home. Other people used to tell me ‘Oh I’d just be watching telly all the time’ but when you work and your money’s generated purely on what you sell there’s a huge motivation to knuckle down and make the business work because you’ve got bills to pay. So I was pretty disciplined going into it.”

“It was really nice working from home and getting to see the kids who would knock on the back door after school. My youngest had some delays to begin with so it was really important to be around to try and help him through those times which we did. It’s been invaluable. But then I reached a point, after 10 years where I wanted to try and expand and make the next step.  Working at home was fine but if you really want to grow the business, you can’t really do it from a shed/office as trying to have business meetings in your back garden isn’t ideal and doesn’t set the right image, especially as we had an overly excitable little cockapoo who would want to jump up and to say hello to visitors – he was crazy.  

I always used to meet people at coffee shops or somewhere similar but now anyone can visit us in our BizSpace office. We’ve had quite a lot of meetings where finance companies and manufacturers have come in and it’s enabled us to go up to that next level which we never would have done if I was still at home. If you’re not professional, they’re not interested in dealing with you.” 

“We chose one of the smaller offices because we went from paying nothing to paying something and we also launched a new website at the same time. We wanted to make sure it was worthwhile to begin with. This office is perfect for us and the great thing about BizSpace is you have the option to locate to a larger office as your business grows which is definitely our aim.

I live 5 minutes away and I knew of this building but didn’t know it had turned into a BizSpace until I stumbled across it when searching the internet.  When I knew we needed an office I’d always thought it would have to be above a shop somewhere with a grotty little entrance at the back up some stairs. The thought of what I could potentially end up with was so unappealing that I was just in no rush to leave home. I’d occasionally have a look online and see offices that were just really expensive and not in the right location. So to find a BizSpace on my doorstep, it was just meant to be. 

We live in a little town and we’ve never had things like Enterprise Hubs before so this is a great addition to our local area. The potential for people who have never had the opportunity for a really nice office space that they can afford is incredible. 

It was just at the time I’d started looking too, so it all just fell into place. As soon as I walked in I just thought ‘Ah, I’ve gotta work here’. It just had a real buzz and I could see a future for us here.

We were the second company to move into the building and one my wife and I were literally the only ones here in the whole building. It was just so bizarre, and we decided to have a walk around the building and discovered a second kitchen and toilets we’d never realised were there.  It was quite surreal having such a huge building to ourselves.”

“BizSpace is also about the community within the building and you end up chatting to the other businesses often, especially when making a cup of tea.

One of our neighbours is an engineer called Ben who’s got a pull-up bar in his office and he was trying to get me to do some pull-ups last week. I get on really well with Adrian who works next door. There’s definitely potential business to be had as well within the centre and we’ve already supplied a commercial vehicle to the cleaning company here. 

A lot of our enquiries come over the phone, but we’ve also had lots of local customers now visiting us which is great because we can add that personal touch. We’re not pushy salespeople, customers don’t buy into that these days. We just listen to what the clients want, give them some clear honest pricing and let them decide. 

A lot of companies in my industry will advertise a very low monthly rate but then when you take a closer look, they will charge a huge processing fee or initial payment which just brings the price right up anyway. 

We never charge our customers any additional fee’s and we just focus on honest deals and good customer service. It’s as simple as that really."

Author

Lucy Dearing