Business Gateway Edinburgh wanted to engage a firm to help them with Service Design. They suspected that they weren’t serving a key client – micro-businesses, as well as they could. So, they wanted to establish how important these Clients are to Scotland’s economy, whether they were delivering them the right services and support, and how they could do things differently.


Do you know what the difference between a micro-business and an SME is? Up until recently I didn’t. But thanks to a recent project I now know that a micro-business is in fact an autonomous enterprise with less than 10 employees and under €10 million turnover. Which means this company, Border Crossing Media, is a micro-business.

Now the fact that I wasn’t aware of this is neither here nor there, it’s a classification after all. But what does matter is that when you start to take a deeper look at the business ecosystem in Scotland some surprising facts start to emerge:

SME classification guidelines
SME Scotland

With this in mind, The Business Gateway Edinburgh wanted to identify how they could deliver the most relevant and useful products, services and support to the ever-increasing number of micro-businesses in Edinburgh.

What is the Business Gateway Edinburgh?

The Business Gateway Edinburgh is a local business support service that is available to anyone wishing to start or grow a business in Edinburgh. They provide:

As well as 26+ workshops a month, from bookkeeping to social media.

The Brief

So, they engaged us to:




Our approach

Project Plan
User experience principles

Given the majority of prospective, existing and former clients are time-poor, overloaded with information and have multiple priorities competing for their limited attention. The Business Gateway must deliver a truly valued service within this challenging context. Which is why we encouraged the Business Gateway Edinburgh to adopt the following user experience principles:

UX Principles
Persona for Business Gateway Service Design

We involved a broad range of Business Gateway Edinburgh staff in the persona development process. This process was key to:

By reviewing Business Gateway products, support and marketing as a persona, advisers were able to analyse and assess their offering from a client’s perspective, rather than an internal business perspective.

Customer journey mapping
Customer journey map for Business Gateway Service Design

Due to the wide variety of clients that Business Gateway Edinburgh support and advise it was necessary to map out some example journeys and then synthesise these into the key interactions that all clients have during their engagement. This allowed us to understand what leads and clients think, feel and experience when working with the Business Gateway Edinburgh. It also enabled us to identify opportunities to improve a client’s experience of engaging with the Business Gateway Edinburgh.

Continuous improvement roadmap
roadmap chunks

Throughout the project opportunities or ideas to improve the service or marketing provided to micro-businesses were captured. These were then prioritised into a roadmap for implementation as part of a collaborative design studio.

Have your say

We’re currently exhibiting our work for the Business Gateway Edinburgh within the Creative Exchange. Pop down to see the outputs and share your feedback with the Business Gateway Edinburgh.

François Roshdy

François is director of user experience at Border Crossing UX. He specialises in helping clients continuously improve the experiences they deliver.