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Loss of parents spurs Doncaster entrepreneur to build social media business

A Doncaster entrepreneur was motivated to develop his successful social media business following the premature death of both his parents.

Managing director Rik Courtney set up his company Be More Social, which handles social media advertising for Meadowhall Shopping Centre, when both his parents lost their battle with cancer.

“It was a very difficult time,” said Rik. “Helping to care for mum and dad, and trying to get my business off the ground. But they really believed in what I was trying to do and that spurred me on.”

Rik landed the most important business meeting of his career, with United Carpets and Beds, on the day his father died.

“My dad died in the morning and I had a meeting scheduled for the afternoon,” he said. “I had to decide whether I could actually attend, and I could hear my father’s voice telling me to go for it.

“The following day I found I had got the contract to work on their social media and website. My only regret was that I couldn’t tell either of my parents, as my mum had died already. But I knew they would be very proud.”

Rik started the business in 2012 and in January this year he moved it to Atlas Office Park on the First Point Business Park. Since then Be More Social has gained four new clients and it now employs seven people, including two new apprentices.

Rik, who has nearly 20 years’ experience in marketing and advertising, puts his success down to his supportive family – and the firm’s success down to its team of creative graduates.

“I have amazing backing of my wife and children. I think the support of your inner family circle is vital to any successful person,” said Rik.

“And my staff are all amazing too. They love working in the industry,” he said. “We use our experience and passion for social media to design campaigns which are guaranteed to increase attention and interaction with our client’s customers.”

Be More Social offers businesses creative ways to promote themselves using a range of social media platforms.

The company has gained a succession of new business clients in recent months, and it provides social media support to Cooplands, the bakery business which was rescued by a London buy-out, and runs Facebook advertising for Meadowhall shopping centre.

Be More Social is being supported by Business Doncaster, a partner in the South Yorkshire Sector Growth Enhancement Programme (SYSGEP), which is part-financed by the 2007-13 European Union’s European Regional Development Fund.

“Business Doncaster are an amazing bunch of people,” said Rik.  “They believe in me, support me, rein me in when necessary, and give me great advice.

“They have given me advice on my marketing and recruitment and also introduced me to potential customers which has been a massive help.”

Sue Harrison, SYSGEP sector growth manager at Business Doncaster, said: “It is great to see a Doncaster company adopting innovative marketing tools to expand its customer base both locally and nationally.

“This success has resulted in the company recently moving to new premises and increasing their workforce and Business Doncaster will continue to support their growth.”

Rik Courtney
Rik Courtney

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