Lockability

 

Business Name:  Lockability

Support received:  Start Up Loan and Start & Grow

Location:  Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire

Website:  http://lockability.com/


 

With varied background, including a stint as a professional youth footballer, sports therapist, a degree in Business Management, and working for both charities and corporates in the capital, Waheed Akhtar just couldn’t find the right fit.  Finally, with support from Nwes, he unlocked his potential by setting up his own locksmith business, and now he has job satisfaction and a bright future ahead.

Waheed set up Lockability, and Nwes spoke to him about his start-up journey.

Tell us more about Lockability and your motivation for starting your own business.

Lockability, based in Rickmansworth and operating in the surrounding area, offers general day-to-day locksmith work, such as upgrades, installation, removal, and commercial security, as well as an emergency service to attend lockouts and broken locks.

After becoming tired with the daily commute to central London, and the long hours, I felt that I needed to be hands on and challenge myself.  Despite being told that there wouldn’t be enough locksmith work, or that I didn’t have the experience, I wasn’t deterred and was able to secure a position as a trainee to learn the skills I needed.

What is your unique selling point?

Lockability offers additional services, which are of benefit to the community, such as recycling scrap and old locks for cash through a scrap metal merchant.  Once a month, the money is donated to charity.

I also offer a free service for pensioners.  We help the elderly get inside their property if they are locked out and we can use non-destructive methods. No other locksmith business I know offers this.

How did you develop your skills and experience?

My former employer was quite elderly.  I learnt from the best but he could no longer do call out work.  I did his call out work three to four evenings a week, off and on, for nearly four years before he retired.

At the same time, I completed additional courses to gain skills and certificates.  It was then that I was in a position to consider forming my own business, and approached Nwes for advice.

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“Small opportunities are the beginning of big achievements.  The harder you work, the better the result.  Take the time from the start to carefully plan out your business, then go for it.  Don’t let yourself be in the position later on in life where you are thinking ‘what if.

How has Nwes supported you and your business?

Working with Business Advisor, Stephen Davies, I gained business support and advice, and successfully negotiated the process of applying for a Start Up Loan.  Myself and Stephen built an excellent relationship, with Stephen providing encouragement and motivation whenever the going was tough.

I cannot thank Nwes enough.  From start to finish, the experience has been excellent.  Yes, there is a requirement for a rock solid business plan, and in depth financials, however all businesses should have this information from the start.  I was thankful for going through the entire process.

How did you feel when you gained your first customer?

I gained my first customer a day before I received my Start Up Loan.  Despite feeling very nervous, and not having all of the tools I needed, I had the necessary licenses, certificates and insurance so I rushed to help the customer, who had snapped her key in a lock.  She had been quoted £250 by another locksmith.

I was with her within ten minutes, retrieved the broken key in less than two minutes, and had three spare keys cuts for her for under £50.

What have been the highlights of starting your own business?

My confidence has improved.  I enjoy having a focus and feeling happy. My reputation is growing steadily and I now have a job where I feel proud of my achievements at the end of each day.

It has been an exciting process, but it’s been a journey where I have gone through ups and downs. Nwes has allowed me to become fully operational.  Without their help and support I would not be able to do what I am doing.  I would not have been able to start my business at all. I may have had to go back to an office job, which I really didn’t want to do.  Now I get to do what I love on a daily basis.

I cannot thank Nwes, and in particular my mentor Stephen, enough for everything. I am even more determined to succeed, and in a year, to come back to Nwes to demonstrate what their support has helped me to achieve.

Do you have any advice for other small businesses?

Small opportunities are the beginning of big achievements.  The harder you work, the better the result.  Take the time from the start to carefully plan out your business, then go for it.  Don’t let yourself be in the position later on in life where you are thinking ‘what if.

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