I would just like to introduce myself; my name is Paul Nash and I own a local online business advertising directory called Things To Do In. Things to do in Southend, London, Essex, Colchester, Clacton, Harlow, Tendring, Ipswich, Cardiff, brand new ones Beverly Hills, Kissimmee, Bradenton, Nairobi, etc.
I would like to tell you how this business directory came about and how a real negative in your life can become a real positive.
I always wanted to live in Florida and came up with the idea of having a cleaning company in Orlando so I started by going to college in Hackney for two years to learn about cleaning sciences and getting my City & Guilds in British Cleaning Sciences, BICS. I had a trade and could buy a cleaning company in Florida and that’s what I did before taking my family and emigrating to Florida in about 1999.
Our cleaning company was divided in two parts. 50% was cleaning homes for wealthy people in Orlando, and the second part was cleaning all the show homes for a development company. I was tied into an ad in the sprint, which was the equivalent of our yellow pages only three times as thick, and in the two-and-a-bit years we were there I never got one call from this ad and I was paying hundreds of dollars a month for this advertisement, this will be relevant in a minute.
In the year 2001 I received a call from the owners of the development company telling me they did not need our services anymore. Later found out it was because someone had offered someone a good drink no more need be said.
Anyway my wife and kids come back to the UK and I had to stay for an extra three months to sell what was left of the business and then followed them back, and I must say I was gutted after losing my lifelong dream and feeling I have let my family down and all the stress that goes with losing a business.
Anyway roll on a few years I had settled in Clacton On Sea rather than going back to the smoke (London).
I ended up opening a children’s zoo on Clacton sea front in a Martello tower and remembering what happened with the advertising we did in Florida, I thought that will never happen again so I asked my son and wife that when anyone came to the zoo they would ask “how did you hear about the zoo” and we would tick in the book been before, saw the sign outside, was recommended, the Internet.
Anyway this went on for approximately three years and one day I was walking past the ticket box and opened the book and said to my wife everyone is coming from the internet, so the next person who said internet I asked can you remember what your search term was and she said yes we just typed in “Things to do in Clacton” the next person said the same in-fact every person said the same thing who had come from the internet, that night I was on the internet and I typed in as a search term things to do in Clacton, up came trip advisor and day out with the kids, and we were with both of these but there was no www.thingstodoinclacton.co.uk so we checked Southend, Skegness, London, Essex, Cardiff, and no one had bought these domains one of the biggest terms from trip advisor and the largest search term worldwide for people and families looking for things to do in and town city or country they are visiting, so for travel tourism and attractions its unbeatable.
So I sold my house, and took my pension out, and put it all into buying these domains around the world and across the UK.
We soon noticed that we were helping everyday businesses get found online, and have thousands of page one search terms for businesses that list and soon realised we had become a local online business advertising directory, we also build every business a one page website as their ad and advertise them on our social media platforms and show there business to thousands of visitors and business owners for less than the equivalent, of a coffee per day.
Also there is no contract or tie ins, we have just completely redeveloped our sites so businesses can add their company free of charge and can also list any events and job vacancies free of charge.
So it just shows even when you lose everything, you can learn from this even though at the time you feel that’s it, with motivation, determination and the never giving up spirt there can all ways be great times ahead and we always have opportunities out there, but we always need help as long as it's from positive hard working people.
I would just like to thank the COC Essex for helping me with our business development and a special thanks to Nick Brown who has kept to his word with everything he promised with the benefits of joining Essex Chambers of Commerce.