If We Can You Can: Chris McConville of Venyou

If We Can You Can: Chris McConville of Venyou

The If We Can You Can Challenge is a competition that recognises and celebrates the best of the North East’s 0-3 year old businesses. Chris McConville is taking part in the challenge with his business Venyou, which aims to simplify venue bookings. He talked to BQ about his inspiration, and why you shouldn't be afraid to fail.

What inspired you to set up your business?

There are so many amazing event spaces in the city from hotels, conference venues right through to New York style loft spaces. One of the most important factors in any successful event is finding the right venue. My aim with Venyou was, and still is, to simplify the venue finding process for event planners and corporate bookers in the region and add value to the marketplace. I have a weird fascination for venues, their offering, the design, their teams, the food and service. It is safe to say helping people find venues for their events is definitely my passion


What did you do before setting up your business?

I was the sales manager at a luxurybudget hotel in the city. I have had the idea for Venyou for around six years and it was one of those ideas that just wouldn’t leave me. During my time at the hotel we were receiving quite a lot of event space enquiries. This is what made me take the leap and set up business.


What makes this business different?

As well as the website which allows Event Planners to find new the most suitable venue for their needs, we also have a dedicated venue enquiry line and online chat feature for event planners to ask questions and gather information before making a venue booking. My aim is to offer a really personal service and super-exceed all expectations.


What inspired you to enter the If We Can You Can Challenge?

My partner Marie and my children. I have two boys aged 1 year and 7 years and a little girl aged 4. Marie has been extremely supportive which I think is invaluable when starting a business, you need that support from your partner. I also want my children to look up to me and set a good example for them in the future. I don’t want them to do the conventional route and go to University, I want them to pursue their own dreams.


Where do you see your business in three years’ time?

My aim in three years is to have a presence in all of the UK’s major cities. I will be looking for investment to help with the growth stages of the business and make improvements to the websiteplatform which is needed prior to the growth.


What has been the most rewarding part of your journey so far?

Confirming our first bookings. The first one was an amazing feeling as it was a very well-known business UK wide! It was for their Christmas party… great feeling!


What has been your biggest challenge?

Getting the site to a stage where I was happy… not 100%, but happy to launch the business. There is still so much work to do on the development side of things. I want the platform to be completely automated from enquiry stage to invoicing the venue on the confirmation of a booking and this is going to be costly.


Whowhat gave you support or advice?

I’ve always been quite entrepreneurial and ran my own events company in the past. I haven’t really sought any advice with regards to business. One thing I have learnt is that I will need a mentor moving forward, especially in the growth stages of the business. My web developer Michael has helped me endlessly and without him I wouldn’t have got this far.


What advice would you give to someone looking to set up their own business?

Don’t wait… do it now. There will never be a right time to do it. Don’t be afraid of failure, the more times you fail, the more you will learn. Failing is a major part of business and success. Just keep trying, never give up and go for it! 


For information on how to apply, the competition and its benefits please visit www.ifwecanyoucan.co.uk Deadline for entries is 16th of October 2016.