Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

March Update: Wildwood

30 March 2009
March Update: Wildwood

"You cock up on some things and you get lucky on others. If I do it all again on another site I'll have all the lessons from this time round but new things would still probably crop up to bite me," says Dominic Wood, referring to starting WildWood, his first business.

The leasing of WildWood rolled on for a month longer than originally intended. As a result the legal fees from Wood's well-regarded lawyers - used in the hope that oversights don't "come back and bite me later," he explains - rose from a projected £5,000 to £6,800. Part of this sum was worth it, however, with Wood spending just under £1,000 in legal fees to extend the lease from four years to 15 years on the site he rents for £25,000 a year.

There was an insane level of bureaucracy involved as well, Wood says.

"The premises were already licensed as a bar and restaurant but there were heaps of red tape involved in transferring the name of the premises. It seemed to involve filling out about 90 sheets of paper," he explains.

Publican and restaurateur friends told Wood to get in touch for advice when setting up, but as he explains, you can never account for every outcome.

"Last month the council sent me a letter saying I owed them £180 for the licence fee for 2008. But I got back in touch to say I didn't own the bar in 2008, and they needed to contact the old owner. According to them they don't have his contact details and when we took on the lease we took on the debt."

The whole process is, he explains, largely trial and error.

"We were paying astronomical council tax - about £500 a month" he says.

"The guy who does my flowers told me to apply for small business relief and I did, immediately getting 25% off. My qualm is that no one at the council tells you this you have to find it out for yourself."

March Update

Word of mouth is slowly spreading for Dominic Wood's restaurant and bar. Separate reviews in January and February have seen business start to pick up to consistent levels at the weekend and intermittently during the week.

An unsuspecting jewel in WildWood's crown has been the back room, which Wood has made available free of charge for businesses and parties, meaning it is increasingly popular with companies keen for an informal room for a presentation, drinks and dinner.

The lack of fee, explains Wood, has been the major selling point.

"If we started charging, we might end up doing ourselves out of £800 of business just for the sake of a £150 fee," he says.

There's still a maddeningly inconsistent start-of-week trade though, according to Wood. While some Mondays and Tuesdays are quiet, others are surprisingly busy, meaning staffing the days is, at present, a dilemma.

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


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