We got the chance to speak with Michael Foote, the founder and Managing Director of Quote Goat.
Founded in 2014, Quote Goat is a completely free comparison site for personal and business customers, making it easy to quickly access and compare a number of quotes on a wide range of products in finance, energy, and insurance.
What was the inspiration behind Quote Goat?
My career goal, since a young age, was always to run my own business. Whilst thinking about my future and what I could do, it became apparent that starting a website was the quickest and cheapest way to launch a business. Outside of my day job, I spent evenings learning to code (pre-CMS era) and built my first version of Quote Goat, albeit under a different brand name.
Did you have previous experience in the finance industry prior to starting Quote Goat?
I had previously worked finance in London originally on a trading floor and then for a major bank. Asides from my aim of becoming an entrepreneur my other passion is finance.
How did you find the process of starting a business, any surprising challenges that came up?
Building a website & learning how to code was more of an adventure than work and I still enjoy the opportunity to work with code more than any other area of the business. The biggest challenge was dealing with the realisation that getting traffic to the website was not going to be as easy I had once hoped.
The whole search engine optimisation landscape changed dramatically in ~2012 when Google rolled out their “Panda” and “Penguin” updates. I hold my hands up and admit that I was naïve back then when it came to SEO and overnight my first business (which was to one day become Quote Goat) disappeared from the search engine, along with our traffic. I actually gave up at that point until my wife came across the Quote Goat domain name in 2014 and I built the business up again from scratch under the new brand.
What makes Quote Goat different from its competitors?
The fact is that there are so many fantastic, specialist providers in every area of comparison that no single comparison site could be the best in every vertical. I realised this early on and took a decision to partner with the leading provider in each vertical as opposed to trying to create our own solutions.
This approach ultimately means that users on our site are getting access to the best service available (in our opinion) for their particular need at that time.
Is there anything you wish you knew before starting Quote Goat?
Not particularly, however I am glad I didn’t know exactly how much work it would take to get to where we are today, as I may have thought twice about launching the business.
What does the future look like for Quote Goat, do you have plans for expansion?
Quote Goat is regularly expanding with the addition of new products and verticals to the site. We are currently working on a partnership with a fee-free mortgage comparison solution for consumers and have recently launched a small business finance comparison tool for businesses using a 3rd party provider. I’m particularly pleased with the launch of our small business finance solution as we can cater to a variety of finance requirements providing funding from leading banks through to specialist lenders.
What piece of advice would you give someone looking to start a business in the comparison site industry?
Pick a niche, focus on that and only expand once you are ready. Focusing on too many areas at once diluted my attention in the early days and in the comparison sector, you need to be highly targeted and focused when you are starting out as the competition is extremely tough.