They are the future for Glasgow and the West of Scotland's economy and are working hard to achieve success in the face of continuing economic hardship.
Many start-up businesses are struggling to take off because of the economic downturn, and this new column will offer advice for potential start-ups.
Each start-up will answer the same questions about their business and their answers will be showcased in the Evening Times every Wednesday.
First up is Domino Letting, which is involved in Entrepreneurial Spark – Scotland's first business accelerator programme.
We talk to founder James Callaghan, right.
WHO ARE YOU?
WHAT DOES YOUR BUSINESS DO?
We're revolutionising the letting industry, starting in Glasgow. We have 100% landlord approval ratings and a series of pledges to tenants that keep us accountable and approachable at all times. Service is something we do rather than something we say and we have a bounty of video testimonials to back this up.
WHERE ARE YOU BASED?
Currently based within eSpark. This has been our vehicle to understand what's important to start-ups, to investors and how to build a strong, de-risked company, ready to take on a long established industry which is ripe for an injection of fresh talent and focus.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
Started at home, sold my flat to create start up equity and enough to cover a reduced salary for a year.
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND
Twelve years as an IT sales executive, two years as a private landlord, where I discovered the lack of service inherent in this industry and the opportunity that this offered. My best years in sales were always where my relationships were strong and we were backed by an organisation that provided the service we promised at point of sale.
WHAT IS YOUR TOP TIP?
Never compromise on service to make more money, to diversify into new markets, to prove a customer wrong, or for any other reason, ever. Service is your absolute number one sales strategy.
HOW LONG HAS YOUR BUSINESS BEEN RUNNING?
Full time since April 2011.
HAS ANYONE HELPED YOU GET STARTED AND HOW?
First eight months on my own with self funding and came into Entrepreneurial Spark in January. First customers were from existing network and friends and we have grown from there by providing excellent service and creating great customer referral schemes.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST DEAL?
A two-bedroom, modern flat in Glasgow, owned by a relative of a friend. She had been very poorly treated by one of Glasgow's biggest letting agents and was suffering long void periods. We found her a great tenant within two weeks and he remains there to this day.
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST MISTAKE / OR WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?W
Doing too much in isolation at the start. If I had moved into a start-up community in the early months the business would have moved much faster; eSpark has taught me the power of collaborative working. That said, I'm very happy with where we are and what we're about to do.
WHO WAS/IS YOUR MENTOR/OR INSPIRATION?
I've been lucky enough to work with some inspirational business leaders and sales directors but in terms of direction of the business I look to people like Dan Pink and Tony Schwartz. They know the value of treating people (staff and clients) properly.
WHERE DO YOU PLAN YOUR BUSINESS TO BE IN FIVE YEAR'S TIME?
In 2017 we will have 6000 properties under management across Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester and London. Our secret to rapid growth is offering portfolio landlords a share in Domino Letting in return for their business. This approach creates a circle of interest and a level of balance that our competitors do not provide.
CONTACT DETAILS: James Callaghan