Lock up and go, innovation in home security
FinFort is a forward-thinking start-up business who have designed and developed the FinBolt, a proprietary high-security lock with automatic deadlock. The fast pace of modern life means that busy people have a lot to consider in their day-to-day lives; the FinBolt lock allows you convenient security and peace of mind when it comes to your home or office security. The proprietary locking system is a recessed lock that fits anywhere on the door and deadlocks automatically, leaving you knowing that your home is safe.
London’s award-winning lock design
Founders of FinFort, Hilary Duggan and Timothy Finn, saw a gap in the market for an elegant, high-security lock and door set with an automatic deadbolt. The duo spent two years researching, designing, prototyping, refining and patenting their invention before winning the best product award at the prestigious Master Locksmith Association Exhibition in 2019.
In 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, they officially launched their company and entered the market with their first lock targeted at locksmiths positioned as a security upgrade product for homeowners that don’t double lock their doors.
In 2021, they expanded their product range to include two and three lock door sets. The company entered the FinBolt Triple door lock set in the internal fittings category of the Society of British and International Design Awards, resulting in the company’s second prestigious award. According to Co-Founder Hilary Duggan, “The SBID award was really recognising the FinBolt Lock not just to be high functioning, but also having a higher aesthetic quality.” She adds that the award was the year’s highlight for the fledgling company.
The challenges of the pandemic
“We launched FinFort at the end of January 2020, about six weeks before lockdown, so the timing really couldn’t have been worse”. The company’s initial market was the professional locksmith industry however, as FinFort received the first batch of newly manufactured locks, every locksmith in the country was closed for several months. Additionally, sales of this kind of product rely heavily on product demonstration, which was impossible during the start of the pandemic.
These circumstances forced the start-up to consider other ways of communicating with their market. The duo started looking into how they could market their product using digital platforms such as websites, product demo videos and social media marketing. During the process of upskilling in digital and social media marketing, Hilary came across the London Business Hub’s online social media marketing courses. “The London Business Hub had some amazing courses and webinars that I could sit in on, and it was just fantastic.”
One-to-one support from London Business Hub
After completing online social media webinars and courses, FinFort was able to receive support with Patricia Ashford, London Business Hub’s business advisor. “When we started working on a one-to-one basis with Patricia, it surpassed all our expectations. Patricia very quickly understood the business which was fantastic and was able to add value in every single phone call we had.”
With Patricia’s support, the company prioritised the most important tasks and put together a comprehensive and effective marketing plan. “We are new to marketing. We created an innovative disruptor product, and realised that we actually needed to become marketers…the support that came from the London Business Hub helped us build these skills”
Patricia’s feedback and advice were invaluable in helping the company cut through the clutter and prioritise the right areas to grow. “We wished we had known about the London Business Hub three years earlier. They walk you through a real checklist of all the things you should have, including your business plan and value proposition. All things that you can do the hard way or with some structured thinking, some excellent advice, and well-timed webinars, you don’t have to learn everything the hard way. You can leapfrog the learning process by tapping into those resources.”
Locked and loaded for success
The assistance from the London Business Hub has ensured the company’s foundation is solid and are ready to expand into new products and markets. A range of new finishes for their lock and door set is in the works colour matched to the extensive Heritage Brass door furniture range, with three new options already available to customers and three more in the pipeline for the next few months.
Having established itself in the professional locksmith market, FinFort is looking to expand selling FinBolt door lock sets to makers of bespoke timber doors and set up a division to sell their products directly to the public via their online store.
Advice for other entrepreneurs
Hilary urges business owners to do their research, “Look online at what resources are available in your area and when you find a great resource, make sure you make the most of it.” She adds that FinFort got so much out of their interactions with the resources offered by London Business Hub that she wishes there was a phase two they could join.
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