Starting up a business in a recession

A recessionary period is normally a time for business struggles and ultimate failures. However, for CloudSense founder Richard Britton, he decided it was the perfect time to start a business.


A recessionary period is normally a time for business struggles and ultimate failures. However, for CloudSense founder Richard Britton, he decided it was the perfect time to start a business.

A recession is characterised by a number of factors, all of them interrelated. The pernicious nature of recession is exacerbated by the fact that all of these separate elements feed each other, deepening the gloom.

Lack of available capital, low confidence, rising unemployment and delays to business investment: recession is a perfect storm of all of these features and more.

Unfortunately the above are all critical factors for entrepreneurs looking to start a business. If you listen to the experts, most will probably say that these barriers are insurmountable. But with awareness of all of these challenges and a clear strategy and vision, it is possible to start a successful business in a recession. I know because I speak from experience, and I believe that starting my business in the midst of the recession was my best business decision.

In 2009 I was CIO of a successful telecoms company. I was in a stable job which I enjoyed, but I had spotted an opportunity which I believed would become a massive growth area with great potential for the future. The IT industry was changing, and I knew that if I could be a part of that change then I could do something hugely exciting. With a deep breath, I made my decision and resigned.

I started the new company with some business partners in the midst of the recession. CloudSense is a cloud computing consultancy and solutions provider, and we integrate and manage companies’ cloud systems and build cloud solutions.

Cloud is prospering because companies don’t want to buy or build expensive on-premise software anymore. With cloud computing there is no upfront capital cost, and solutions scale with your business to meet demand. We help businesses to simplify the sales process, increase revenue and speed up time to market for new products.

CloudSense has grown into a £6 million business, with over 100 employees across its London HQ and European office. We are hugely proud of our performance to date and our client list, which includes the likes of Vodafone, the BBC, Telefonica, News International and the Financial Times reflects our success.

The company was born out of having the right idea at the right time. It’s taken an awful lot of work from many different people to get us to this point, but the initial risk we took has paid off. This year we will move to a larger London HQ, and open new offices in Europe and the US. Our business was established in the darkest depths of therecession, but the future looks very bright indeed.

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Hunter Ruthven

Bernard Williamson

Hunter was the Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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