When web designer, Ant Tomlinson decided he needed more space for his Clever Little Fishes web design business he looked to his garden for inspiration. Now, thanks to reward-based crowdfunding, and the support of Mr Tomlinson’s local community, Clever Little Fishes has a brand new office at the bottom of his Kent garden.
Aiming to expand the company and hire employees from the area, Mr Tomlison needed to upgrade from a spare room to a creative, contemporary garden office. “My ambition is to work with small businesses and turn Clever Little Fishes into a buzzy place within the community, as well as serving like-minded businesses all over the world, and provide employment too”, he explains. “However, I currently work in a spare bedroom and to make all of this happen I need to build a garden office”. As a burgeoning company with limited finances, Mr Tomlinson needed help with the finishing stages of the office build, so he looked to his local community and business contacts for help through a crowdfunding initiative.
Crowdfunding enabled Clever Little Fishes to test out the community’s support for the expansion idea and to help secure investment. Both of which were successful and pledges of financial support were made, contributing to a total of £550 to finance the final stage of the build.
In return the investor was promised the services of Clever Little Fishes. Donations ranged from £15 to £1000 and, as a reward for their pledge, Mr Tomlinson provided investors with social media support, blogs, logo creative, SEO make-overs and multi-page web designs. A fair exchange!
“This whole project is about supporting a growing business and doing something to help a member of your community. In return, not only will they get that warm fuzzy feeling, but I also offered discounted or free services, depending on what was given,” explains Mr Tomlinson. “In the future I would also like to take on apprentices to give opportunities to local young people and help give them a future. My vision is inspired by the Jamie Oliver school of thought, and my own journey from a quiet 16 year old from a council estate in Nottingham to where I am today.”