As you flick through Comms Business you may have noticed a common theme when it comes to the gender of the majority of the channel! In a bid to address this balance Comms Business is hunting out our successful female players. This month we came across a start up offering NGN numbers, Brayford Numbers, and co-founder Michelle Waddingham was kind enough to sit down with us to talk about starting a fresh in 2013.
Commsbuisness (CB): Take us back to the start, how did you get into the telecom industry and why did you decide to go it alone?
Michelle Waddingham (MW): I used to be an account manager for DBS, I was there for about two and a half years. I initially went for a receptionist position there but ended up as an account manager. I met my business partner Rachel there after about a year. In Decmeber 2011 DBS got bought out by Chess and we were both made redundant. We both decided to do our own thing work wise for a bit but remained very close friends. We were out for dinner one night and were talking about starting up a business ourselves. Being account managers we both had a lot of contacts in the industry many of whom we were still in contact with after leaving DBS. We knew that a lot of people weren’t happy with the service they were getting from Chess and we decided that we could do it better ourselves!
CB: So when did you start the business?
MW: We started in September 2012 and we have spent the last few months getting everything together to make sure we are up and running before we get going properly rather than bumbling through as we go. We were planning to start trading on the first of April but when some of my clients found out what we were doing they came to us so we ended up doing some business before we intended. The big push was reserved for the beginning of April though. It has been going well so far.
CB: What kind of services do you offer?
MW: We are offering NGN numbers, 0800, 0845, 0844, UK local numbers, toll free numbers and international local area numbers. The demand is still high in the UK especially in the international space. There is some competition out there too but I think with our service proposition we are able to do things a lot cheaper than most others out there. We think there is a nice gap in the market for us to get some international customers as well as develop our customer base here in the UK.
CB: Is it just yourself and Rachel running the business or have you got others on board?
MW: At the moment it is just myself and Rachel and we are doing absolutely everything! Once we are up and running we will bring in some other people to focus on specific areas. We have both been working full time on top of this business and I left my job at the end of March to work on this as the business grows.
CB: Do you think being female in this industry gives you a bit of an advantage?
MW: I do think so actually! I’ve been an account manager for two and a half years but I also did billing and ordering side of things too. Doing those different bits of the job has just given me great contacts. We are very close to Craig at City Numbers and he has been a great help for us. Being female I think works well for us, we are a bit cheeky and have managed to get a few cut prices here and there because of that which has helped move things forward.
CB: What is going to make the Brayford Group successful?
MW: We are a small friendly female operation and we play on that. We give that personal touch that the bigger companies can’t give. A lot of people we deal with want to speak to the same people when they ring up and not get treated like another number in the queue. By going down the more personal route we can give our customers better advice to really help their businesses. We are going to keep that friendly touch as we grow too because we believe it’s really important to maintain that. We have got a discount code on our website at the moment which will give you 10% off. It’s to celebrate the launch of our website and hopefully drum up some business at the same time!