We visited the New Forest, one of southern England’s most sprawling areas of countryside, to hear more about Fuzzacker Guided Walks from founder Steve Adams. Local guide and Simply Business customer Steve spoke to us about the ethos behind his small business, what he enjoys most about working as a walking guide, and his future plans for the company.
“This is my office” Steve smiles, indicating the expanse of heathland and woods around him. It certainly seems like a good reason for setting up a walking business, and it’s unsurprising that Steve sees his desk-less everyday environment as one of the best things about his job.
It all started with a single guided walk that went down a storm. From there Steve and his small band of expert guides have built a business from showing people the countryside that they love, offering carefully planned routes and well-informed walks. As we walk around the New Forest with Steve for our film on an uncharacteristically sunny February day, his enthusiasm for the landscape is infectious, and his knowledge of the environment is lightly and interestingly imparted.
“The name of the company” Steve explains, referring to ‘Fuzzacker’, “comes from a local word for the small bird that inhabits these gorse bushes. The bushes are locally referred to as the ‘fuzz.’”
Fuzzacker organise a range of walks, from low-key strolls of a few miles that people can turn up and join, to whole weekends and coach tours. The company is endorsed by several local tourist associations, including the New Forest Tourism Association and Tourism South East, and Steve explains that the New Forest District Council are also very supportive. These are important channels for spreading the word about Fuzzacker, along with the website that Steve set up himself. He also has a Facebook page that he regularly updates, and a newsletter that he sends out to previous walk participants who have added their email addresses to the list.
Steve explains that conservation and environmental awareness are very important to the ethos of the business, and spreading the message about protecting the environment is something that he’s personally passionate about. When I ask him about future plans, he talks about introducing a sustainable transport component to the business, using a minibus to collect people from B&Bs and hotels in an effort to reduce emissions.
“I want to build up slowly, though” Steve adds – “I want to be able to maintain the quality of service that I can offer now”. Speaking to Steve is to get to the heart of what makes small businesses great: personal passion and commitment and a clear vision of how business should be.