For over 25 years my career had been in IT for the finance and pharmaceutical industries but prior to this I had experience as a REME mechanic in the Territorial Army working on HGVs. I have also developed my own track car where my interest in tyre performance developed. On top of this, I am a keen caravaner and I have also had a number of motorbikes. I therefore felt I have a broad range of experience to draw on.
However, I had no experience in sales or running a business and this was an area I would need to learn. PunctureSafe put me in touch with a couple of established distributors and I chose to have a day’s training on the job with Jeremy Smith, which was an invaluable first step for me and enabled me to start with a degree of confidence.
The business was launched and I dedicated myself to this full time. Sales were slow initially as to be expected, but with persistence they started to come, helped by identifying the niche areas where there is a clear need.
I had made good progress with my initial stock and realised that it would be more effective for me to have two areas to work as I was doing this full time. I also started to join business networking groups and this is something I wish I had done sooner.
The networking has helped maintain a level of installations which I do myself and once established with the groups, has lead to referrals to companies who have since become customers and in many cases where I was not even aware of them.
I made a deliberate choice to concentrate on smaller companies initially to gain experience and credibility. As a result, I have a reasonable number of customers but many only re-order small quantities with a few having greater on-going requirements.
A recent decision to work with a business mentor has been a great help to me guiding me in business. I now realise that I need to secure a few bigger customers who will order regular large volumes to get me to where I need to be with sales. I am confident that this is achievable with some trials underway with companies of this potential.
In summary, starting a business is quite a challenge. There is however demand for the products and there does not seem to be much activity from any credible competitors. With an opportunity to speak with the right person in a business, it is often possible to put a very good business case together for PunctureSafe.
– Simon Allison