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Starting a aquatic business.. part 1

Updated: Jan 26, 2020

How do you go about starting a business? For me it has taken quite a few years of sitting on the fence, hiding behind a full time job and procrastinating! I have known that I wanted to work for myself for many years but had been unable to pluck up the courage to take the leap and go for it! That changed in 2019, I wasn't enjoying my work in the zoo industry; I felt trapped in a job that on the face of it was every aquarists dream job, but for me the routine was stifling and i needed some freedom to make my own decisions and take my own direction. I started to save my spare money heavily and by late 2019 had enough put aside to start looking for property to build a fish room that would suit my business plan of an online aquatic store with access to the public via a appointment system. I started to look for a building that was close to home, spacious, visually appealing and warm! A tall order, but important, as heating bills are a large proportion of any aquatic business located in Western Europe where the weather can vary from -30 to 30c! it had to be right from the start and doing the sums of rent and cost of electric to heat these buildings, made a lot of them nonviable from the start.

During the course of investigation I quickly became aware of two things, firstly there were a lot of empty industrial units! and secondly most of them were unsuitable for a aquatic business 'Out of the box' and would require heavy investment to alter and insulate to make any aquatic business a viable prospect, most of the units i looked at had cold concrete floors, thin walls, roller shutter doors that would need blocking off and insulating and 20ft high ceilings that would ideally need reducing in order to trap some heat and stop it, my budget would not stretch that far so i carried on looking!

I eventually stumbled across an advert for Heath business park which is minutes away from my home, they were offering Office and Laboratory space and for the first time i wondered if Lab space would suit a fish room perfectly? I found the required contact and organised an initial meeting to view the space available and found it perfect for what i needed, the room was large, well lit and being an old building had thick walls and was well insulated, due to the nature of the building (An old ICI chemical site office complex) it was gated with a reception which meant that i could work behind closed doors to organise and run the online business whilst still allowing interested hobbyists to visit via appointment, a situation that should suit both parties really well, i can concentrate on online orders between 9am-6pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (Which are our shipping days) and can be around for appointments day and night during the rest of the time.

I moved into the empty Lab on December 14th 2019 and started work immediately to prepare for building a functioning fish room. I had to choose a racking design, decide on tank size, filtration and heating.. all within a tight budget and all which will be covered in the next blog post... Keep an eye out for part 2 coming later this week.

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