How GoDaddy’s UK chief is championing microbusinesses across the UK

Startup concept. Businessman touching icon transparent rocket is launching and flying out with icon network connection on modern virtual interface
(Image credit: Shutterstock/PopTika)

Bar work might not always seem like the most likely start to learning the skills needed to run a major software business, but Ben Law, Vice President and Head of GoDaddy in the UK and Ireland, has told TechRadar Pro that it created the very foundation of skills he needed for the role.

“It was traditional 20 years ago to tip the bar staff, in which the people behind the bar would bang that money on top of their wages. Communicating with people in that bar environment came naturally to me and I think that’s where this entrepreneurship streak appeared in my own persona,” says Law as he takes a trip down memory lane.

Law notes how his business savvy continued developing throughout his time at Nottingham Trent University, where he had the idea to buy and sell digital cameras (albeit early models that only had enough memory for 20 pictures).

“It was incredible because you could view the pictures on your computer. I would use them for a few weeks and then I’d sell them for a bit more money and buy a different one,” he recalls.

His next venture took him down the path of buying a boatload of sunglasses from China, and using the proceeds to make the best of student life.

It’s a far cry from his current role at GoDaddy, where he now specializes in web domains, web hosting services and microbusinesses in the UK.

Ben Law, Head of GoDaddy UK & Ireland

Ben Law, VP, Head of GoDaddy in the UK and Ireland (Image credit: mhpc)

SMEs accelerate

In 2021, there were 5.58 million private businesses in the UK, 99.9% of which were SMEs with less than 250 employees, with statistics from Merchant Savvy revealing that the contribution of SMEs to the UK economy increased by 9.5% as a whole in 2021.

The pandemic also boosted the surge in online startups, as people working from home used it as an opportunity to explore side hustles and pursue them on top of or even ahead of their main career.

Law knows a thing or two about setting up a business, as he launched his own interior accessories and design firm in 2014 as a side hustle to his main career at the time - senior brand manager at PlayStation.

“I've had that in me and have always had an ambition to run my own business,” he explains. “I got all my training on what it means to set up a brand and run a business from business ventures that were far removed from technology and software.”

“That unique mix of expertise in big corporations and trying my own thing has led me to GoDaddy and the position I am in today. I’ve got that passion of a small business owner but I’m in a position where I can help empower entrepreneurs through the work that we do at GoDaddy.”

GoDaddy logo

(Image credit: Shutterstock/Postmodern Studio)

GoDaddy's vision

Law points out that championing the everyday entrepreneur by empowering them with the right guidance at the right time, with the right products, is an aspiration GoDaddy does not take lightly.

“Our mission is to give our customers the tools, the insights, and the access to people to help transform what might be an idea into reality, through whichever products they need to cater to that journey,” explains Law.

His current aim is to make sure GoDaddy is the number one online resource that UK entrepreneurs turn to in order to succeed. 

“We ultimately want to be the default choice for entrepreneurs when it comes to web domain, web hosting, ecommerce, marketing support and whatever other solutions they need for their business growth that will enable them to have an online presence and sell anywhere and everywhere they want to,” Law adds.

“By doing this, GoDaddy and our customers can play a meaningful role in the economic recovery of the UK. We've got 5.6 million microbusinesses that are truly the engine of the economy and if they thrive, we will all thrive from that.”

As a result of Covid-19, some of biggest opportunities to emerge were in the booming ecommerce market. Law believes we're seeing a second digital revolution, and therefore the opportunity across the sector for a small business probably has never been as great as it is today. 

“In terms of consumer behaviour, since lockdown, we know and we've seen customers showing an increased desire to support local, independent businesses. I've seen it in my community with everyone gathering around to support those local businesses or local shops. Microbusinesses have an opportunity to proudly showcase where they've come from by their involvement in the local community,” he says.

“Consumers are also increasingly looking to support sustainable businesses. There's expectations around elements such as corporate responsibility as the importance of being transparent becomes a necessity for a business of any size, but most especially for a microbusiness who are in a unique position to embed those sustainable practices from their inception.”

Law notes that this is also a fantastic opportunity to foster the next generation of British microbusinesses, with GoDaddy data showing younger entrepreneurs have been bullish during the pandemic, increasingly taking more of their destiny into their own hands. 

“We know that one in ten 16 to 24 year olds have started a new business venture during the pandemic,” he adds. “That ‘You Only Live Once’ mentality is a real asset for Gen Z’s. As a nation and at GoDaddy, we can harness that spirit of entrepreneurialism, which will allow us to bounce back stronger from the impact of the pandemic.”

Challenges for SMEs

In their first few years, microbusinesses often tend to encounter many different challenges. Some are harder than others to overcome - such as attracting new customers, which according to research by Statista, 79% of UK SMEs stated is their toughest obstacle.

Law adds: “There's the challenge of the broader economic climate, rising labour costs is one element, ongoing disruptions to supply chains is another element. Many microbusinesses are still going to be feeling that strain, even though it feels like we are post pandemic as some restrictions have been removed. Microbusinesses need support at the right time to navigate what are still fairly choppy waters in the eyes of small business owners.” 

One thing Law is passionate about is trying to eradicate complicated jargon and terminology for small businesses in the UK, which he says can often hold back aspiring entrepreneurs.

“I’ve been there myself - trying to look for information to set up a new business and feedback I’ve heard from other business owners about accessing government support schemes - you need to work with pretty significant layers of bureaucracy and forms. You also need to have certain access to capital or strong digital literacy skills, which doesn’t always exist in micro businesses,” he explains.

“We also have a very London-centric landscape in the UK, and I think that the media and the market can be overly obsessed with London when it comes to talking about startups or small and medium-sized businesses.”

London is far from the only area where micro businesses are flourishing, with the recent State of the Nation report finding microbusinesses are doing just as well, perhaps even better in some cases, across the UK.

“We know for sure, across the Midlands, especially in the northern parts of England, there is a great demand and a great momentum of entrepreneurship and venture starting, but they need as much support as their counterparts do in the capital and in the southeast,” Law says.

Support for microbusinesses

The role and value of technology has never been clearer in terms of how people can work, live and communicate. Law suggests micro businesses should be taking advantage of such technology, with many businesses going online for the first time. 

“Whilst it’s definitely positive that technology creates an environment whereby easy to access affordable technology levels the playing field for small businesses, there are still myriads of other ways that GoDaddy were looking to serve our customers through technology,” says Law.

When asked about tips he would give aspiring entrepreneurs launching an online business, Law says his very first pointer would be to prioritize ecommerce.

“Your online shop is your virtual shop window and it needs to be as compelling as you can make it. If you are looking to build a small to medium sized online shop, scale up and get online quickly, I would recommend a website builder solution like GoDaddy’s online store for that flexibility,” he adds.

“My second tip would be to think sustainably. Customer expectations are changing and ambitious goals and good intentions are no longer good enough to entice customers. By embracing environmental sustainability. Small businesses aren't just helping the environment, but they're opening themselves to a wider customer base as well and ultimately, creating more revenue.”

GoDaddy partnered with Hannah Mills MBE, the most successful female sailor in Olympic history, earlier this year to create and launch a micro business toolkit that helps empower entrepreneurs and small businesses to embrace sustainable practices across the business.

Law says his third tip would be to harness the relevant tools and insights needed for maintaining and growing an online business. 

“Adopting digital tools is going to be crucial to the success of a small business. Running your own business, no matter how small it is, takes an extraordinary amount of time and energy, thus small businesses should be looking to new technology and innovation for support,” he notes.

“Having access to things like stronger insights and tools is going to save your small business time and month in the long run. This will hopefully free the small business owner up to be able to do what they do best, which is being an expert of their product and building relationships with customers.”


(Image credit: Shutterstock/

A lesson in starting a business online

Law offers a few tips as a parting gift for business owners looking to expand their online presence - starting, fittingly enough, with finding a name and making sure that domain name is available. 

“The great thing about going onto a domain search is that it prompts further ideas and elements that you might not have considered. There’s a whole range of ways to get creative with your domain. A lot of people will go for a or a .com, but there’s a whole heap of other options that could satisfy your business depending on the vertical or industry that you’re in,” he says.

“From a business credibility point of view, having email at Gmail or Outlook might not always cut the mustard. A personalised business email address is really key as you start to build contacts, and then communicate professionally with suppliers or your end customers.”

The path to launching a business online is clear, and Law places heavy importance on making sure your web presence is set up and ready to go. A professional look is an important step too, with Law adding that it could be the main difference between a successful and an unsuccessful online startup.

Abigail Opiah
B2B Editor - Web hosting & Website builders

Abigail is a B2B Editor that specializes in web hosting and website builder news, features and reviews at TechRadar Pro. She has been a B2B journalist for more than five years covering a wide range of topics in the technology sector from colocation and cloud to data centers and telecommunications. As a B2B web hosting and website builder editor, Abigail also writes how-to guides and deals for the sector, keeping up to date with the latest trends in the hosting industry. Abigail is also extremely keen on commissioning contributed content from experts in the web hosting and website builder field.