Each week, we ask small businesses key questions.
Here we speak to Daryll Morrow, who runs Aberdeen firm Udrafter, together with his brother, Luke.
How and why did you start in business?
We started Udrafter – the university draft – when I was at Robert Gordon University, finishing my master’s degree in international business. I had struggled to get a full-time job after my undergraduate degree, because the hiring managers said I didn’t have enough experience. But I needed the job to get the experience – it was a vicious cycle.
We wanted to create an online platform where students and recent graduates could find flexible, paid and degree-relevant projects with innovative businesses, starting in Aberdeen. Equally, we wanted to provide businesses with rapid and direct access to student talent at a fraction of the traditional cost.
How did you get to where you are today?
Belief, passion and obsession. We have always believed the business would be valuable to people and that it could go further than just being a cheap idea. The passion we have for it allows us to wake up on Mondays like it’s Friday afternoon.
Finally, you need to have some level of obsession with your business. All of the most successful entrepreneurs – Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Gary Vaynerchuk – have it and without it you will struggle to stay ahead of the competition.
Of course, there are other reasons we got to where we are today – such as our incredible family, friends, mentors, investors, clients and customers. But if we didn’t have the key traits to go and execute the idea, we’d probably still be stuck in jobs we hate.
Who helped you?
We started out on the Elevator Accelerator programme in 2017. The support we received across mentoring, business model creation, pitch practice, funding access and networking was invaluable and proved to be the initial catalyst of our growth.
Since then we have received financial support from Scottish Enterprise, the Prince’s Trust, Scottish Edge, the Robert Gordon University accelerator, Aberdeen University, the Federation of Small Businesses and private seed investment.
There is a long list of mentors and advisers who have helped us on our journey but I must mention my girlfriend’s parents, who put a roof over my head for nine months. This was the best gift anyone could have given me while taking my first leap into entrepreneurship. My own parents have also been nothing short of awesome.
What has been your biggest mistake?
I’ve learned to embrace mistakes with open arms as you learn from them. If I had to pick one, I would say not getting an accountant early enough.
What is your greatest achievement?
Getting my big brother, Luke, into the business full time.
For nearly a year I’d been saying the business wouldn’t work without him and that we had to raise investment or close everything down.
If you were in power in government, what would you change?
I would provide better access to funding opportunities for early-stage businesses in schools, colleges and universities. We are taught to learn within the parameters of the education system and it’s not emphasised enough that starting a business is a viable career path.
What do you still hope to achieve?
Expansion of the business across the UK, but an even bigger ambition is to reach the US market.
What do you do to relax?
I really enjoy hiking and spending time outdoors. I also enjoy playing rugby.
What are you currently reading, listening to or glued to on the TV?
I have just finished reading Elon Musk’s book. He’s definitely a modern icon of innovation.
I’m also a big fan of Suits and Stranger Things.
What do you waste your money on?
I’m quite conservative with money. If I feel like I’ve wasted it, it’s usually after a night out.
How would your friends describe you?
I hope they’d say outgoing, approachable and determined.
What would your enemies say about you?
That’s a tough one to answer, but we all have competition and I’d like to think there’s an element of respect somewhere.
What do you drive and dream of driving?
I drive a VW Golf and the dream car would have to be an Aston Martin.