If you were to draw up a list of business ideas, it’s unlikely sending people down the Thames in a hot tub would be on it.
But floating a hot tub down the Thames is exactly what GoDaddy customer Skuna Boats does. And it does it very successfully.
Jamal Edwards, entrepreneur and founder of SBTV, spoke to Stuart “Tommo” Thomson, founder of Skuna Boats, about dealing with doubts, what to do when things don’t go to plan and how GoDaddy has helped the business succeed.
Jamal: I’m Jamal Edwards, entrepreneur and founder of SBTV.
Tommo: I’m Tommo and I’m the founder of Skuna Boats.
Jamal: So wait, let me get this right. Your business is sending a hot tub down the river Thames?
Tommo: Yeah, that’s it.
Jamal: That’s sick man. I wish I’d come up with something like that.
Tommo: When you’re starting up a business, you’ve got so many things to think about. You’ve got so many hurdles to get over, all the time. Our website is the business’s showcase. With GoDaddy’s help getting the domain and website sorted, just made that side of the business a lot easier.
Jamal: Name of the game is “yes/no/maybe”. You ready for it?
Tommo: I am ready.
Jamal: Do you think people have ever doubted you?
Tommo: Yeah, lots of people. I had a lot of people when I said I was gonna do this say “that’s a crazy idea, what are you doing? It’ll never work”. To start my business, I had to borrow lots of money. Took credit cards out, took a loan out. And that’s kind of like “wow, what am I doing this is a big risk”. When I first told my parents that I was gonna quit my job and set up a floating hot tub business I got some strange looks.
Jamal: Yes or no. Things have always gone to plan? No?
Tommo: Definitely not.
Jamal: I think everyone would agree.
Tommo: Yeah, things always go wrong from time to time. That’s what you have to overcome. The worst crisis we had was when one of our boats caught on fire.
Jamal: Oh shhh.
Tommo: It erupted in flames and it completely destroyed one of our only two boats at the time.
Jamal: Oh wow.
Tommo: When I got the call about that it was a moment I’ll never forget.
Jamal: Was there one time when you realised “yes, this is gonna work”?
Tommo: Yeah. I think this year is the year that I’ve realized it really will work. After we were closed for so long during Covid, to have customers coming back and doing it, we had our busiest month in September, and that was the moment when I thought “yeah, this is gonna work”.
Jamal: Yeah, sick man, well done. So hold up. We’re gonna do this quickfire, so you need to get into the middle. Here we go. Would you have a business without the internet?
Jamal: Do you worry about the competition?
Tommo: You always worry about the competition. Yeah.
Jamal: Do you still remember to have fun?
Tommo: Ahh, yes, maybe, sometimes.
Jamal: You just went like that. Back to the middle. You can’t not have fun in a hot tub?
Tommo: That’s very true.
Jamal: What is this question? [Laughter, skips question] You’ll try anything once?
Tommo: Yes. Well, maybe. Depends what it is.
Jamal: Do you have any regrets?
Jamal: You don’t have no regrets?
Tommo: Maybe. I probably do, yeah.
Jamal: Don’t let me… [Laughter] Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur?
Tommo: Not really, just a…
Jamal: Yes you are! You are an entrepreneur. Yes, man. Come on. GoDaddy was a big support?
Tommo: Yes, 100%.
Jamal: Yes. Wicked.
Tommo: Super helpful. When you run a small business you get bogged down doing a huge amount of different things. One day you might be unblocking a toilet, trying to fix your online booking system. I hadn’t had any experience of ecommerce before I started my website, and I think GoDaddy makes it so easy to setup websites, and you get online within a few hours. So that’s what I did in the beginning. Every year they give me a bit of a call, see how the business is going. No one knows were you are without your online presence. That’s what GoDaddy helped me do.
Jamal: Would you do it all over again?
Tommo: Yes. Liverpool and Bristol are the next locations.
Jamal: Sick, obviously you’re from Liverpool.
Tommo: I was born in Liverpool and I am a big Liverpool fan so…
Jamal: I’ve got good Scouse mates, it’s alright. One thing that’s always stuck with me is “chase you dreams, not the competition” and a quote which is “there are those that look at things the way they are and ask why, but I say ‘dream of things that never were and ask why not?’”.
Jamal: So you’re dreaming of boats and you ask “why not?”. I’m dreaming of making videos and ask “why not?”.
Tommo: We’ve actually designed our own boat, which is a world first hot tub and barbecue boat.
Tommo: 2021 we’ve got the new Skuna boat.
Jamal: 2021 SB, sick. Are you happy that you started your business? 100% yes?
Tommo: 100%. Yeah. When a customer says it’s been one of the best things they’ve done on their holiday, that just makes you really happy.
Jamal: It’s a buzz.
Jamal: I love leaving a review.
Jamal: And your reviews are like top notch.
Tommo: When you’ve got customers having an amazing experience, leaving you incredible reviews and saying that they’ve had the time of their lives, that’s what makes it all worth it. That’s why you start a business.