Up and coming: Paul Randall, founder Rainbow Zebra

Rainbow Zebra is the online furniture store started in the bedroom of Paul Randall. In the short space of five years Paul is on track to earn his first million and national recognition through winning awards.

What exactly is your business and how does it help people?

We supply office furniture and seating with a focus on providing unrivalled customer service. We supply both the business and consumer markets and can deliver and install the larger orders using our own guys rather than a courier.

We offer very competitive prices and free next day delivery as standard across the range. We also supply a wide range of office chairs for bad backs that prove to be very popular.

What was your inspiration and motivation to get started in business?

I had a bit of experience of the market when I drove the van for my father’s interiors business. I then took my experience of providing excellent customer service whilst working for M&S and could see there was a massive opportunity in the world of online office furniture. I then approached a couple of different suppliers to check the viability of starting a new website and then got started!

How did your friends and family react to you starting a business?

I don’t think they were too surprised. They knew I had an entrepreneurial spirit and wanted to work for myself.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?

Thinking that if I outsource something, it will be done to higher standard than I could do myself has been a mistake. We initially out sourced the running of Google AdWords as I didn’t really fully understand how it worked. This was a big error as the people we outsourced to either didn’t understand the market fully, or didn’t really know how to run AdWords as we experienced much worse performance than when I ran it myself.

This prompted me to become fully aware of the ins and outs of how AdWords works and I became qualified in it’s functionality.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?

Make sure you have fully researched the market, are aware of competitors and have a clear vision of the business goals. Also, make sure you have at least some basic info on anything you outsource, before you outsource it. This will ensure that you are able to scrutinise any work that is done and can set your expectation levels.

How do you expect your business to develop in the future?

We’re on track for a million pound turnover by mid 2017 so we’re looking at potentially recruit again in order to support this growth. We’ve also got a few different brand ideas that we’re looking into launching.