Have Shed, Will Start-Up A Business

If you've got a shed at the bottom of your garden the chances are it's full of odds and ends: lawnmowers, barbecues and children's play equipment.

Askar Sheibani, founder and CEO of IT and telecoms repair company Comtek used his home business brain to convert a shed into the perfect place to start a home business.

In 1989 Askar realised that there was a real need for somebody who could repair simple pieces of IT equipment, such as modems - which at the time cost an exorbitant amount to replace.

He approached the banks for their financial advice on how to start up a home-based business, but they obviously weren't so forward-thinking as Askar, and several of them turned down his request for a loan, claiming that his idea wasn't viable.

I'd love to see their faces now then!

Not one to be put off by this, Askar purchased a second-hand shed for £50 to serve as his home working workshop in the garden of his home in Reading, Berkshire. He began repairing IT products himself, convinced that building the foundations of his start-up business in the shed would pay off.

Could you start-up a successful home business from your shed?

Comtek began to expand; maintaining its belief that repairing, rather than replacing faulty equipment was a great way to combat the ever-growing problem of e-waste.

One of the main challenges that Askar faced was that the shed and its surroundings were not a suitable environment to meet with potential home-based business customers.  
Askar wanted Comtek’s premises to better reflect its enterprise-grade service and repairs, as well as to show its potential to scale to large projects.

Comtek moved to bigger premises to ensure it could keep up with the increased level of demand and to accommodate the increased staffing levels required.  

As well as this, Comtek wanted a more professional environment to enable it to attract more customers as that would also help facilitate the company’s expansion. 

In practical terms, the shed was also not an appropriate environment for an electronics-based business.  Moving to new premises was therefore vital for the company to continue storing IT equipment and repairing business technology

From its humble beginnings of a man and his shed, 20 years down the line Comtek is now a multi-million pound global business with offices across the UK, Holland and Germany, employing approximately 200 staff.

It's looking to expand further in the future, and none of it would have been possible without Askar’s dedication to setting up a home business despite a lack of space or funding.

Starting up in a garden shed enabled Comtek to get off the ground, and then expand to tackle e-waste on a larger scale, as well as being able to contribute more significantly to the local community, something else that Askar is passionate about.   

Are you now wondering if you could fit a home office desk in amongst the spades and rakes in your shed?! Read some more inspiring start-up stories and you'll find yourself starting a home business yourself!