Tragic loss of parents motivates Doncaster man Rik to start new business

Doncaster man Rik Courtney.

Doncaster man Rik Courtney.

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An entrepreneur was motivated to develop his successful social media business after the premature death of his parents.

Managing director Rik Courtney set up his company Be More Social, which handles social media advertising for Meadowhall Shopping Centre, after his mum and dad lost their battle with cancer.

Pic Sharon Doorbar  0973 340201...'Meadowhall Shopping Centre, Sheffield.

Pic Sharon Doorbar 0973 340201...'Meadowhall Shopping Centre, Sheffield.

The 39-year-old, of Bessacarr in Doncaster, said: “It was a very difficult time, 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.”

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

He added: “My dad died in the morning and I had a meeting scheduled for the afternoon. 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 to Atlas Office Park at the First Point Business Park in Balby, Doncaster.

Since then Be More Social has gained four new clients and now employs seven people, including two 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.

He said: “I have amazing backing from my wife and children. I think the support of your inner family circle is vital to any successful person. And my staff are all amazing too. They love working in the industry. 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.

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.

Rik said: “Business Doncaster are an amazing bunch of people, 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, added: “It is great to see a Doncaster company adopting innovative marketing tools to expand its customer base both locally and nationally.”