Entrepreneur Simon Cook has helped build a nearly £3 million company in just one year – he shares his top tips on what to look for when starting a business
Eamon Cook is the co-founder of the smart bike firm Apex Rides, which in its first year of business alone raised nearly £3 million. Here he explains what he learned along the way and gives tips entrepreneurs who are planning to launch their own Health Or a sports start-up.
Meet your manufacturers: When it came to industrial manufacturing, our only option was when starting to produce our bikes in the Far East. It’s not easy. Linguistic, cultural and temporal differences do nothing to help build a strong and long-lasting working relationship. My best advice is to get out there, meet your new partners face to face and try to anticipate all the events from the beginning so you know how to handle them when they inevitably arise.
Do your due diligence: To raise funds as a start-up, you will go through various cycles of due diligence on yourself and your business. When you’re investing hard-earned money, it’s important that you do your own research on potential suppliers. Not long ago, we got engaged with a reputable software company that was going to make our minimum viable product app for a six-digit amount – and they freaked out! Fortunately, we had not paid them anything yet. We now request financial accounts from all businesses we are considering joining. If they have nothing to hide it shouldn’t be a problem.
Take Branding Seriously: Branding may be seen by some as drunken and unimportant, but if you’re into the consumer products game, it’s important to establish what you stand for. Aside from product features, why should a person buy from you? What is it about your visit that resonates with them and why? From day one, Apex has been about making home workouts more accessible—not only through pricing but also by appealing to those who want to work out but can’t always muster the energy to do so.
Find out who your customer is: what age are they? where do they live? what do they do for a living? Which newspaper do they read? (I hear the Evening Standard is good!) If you can fix it quickly, it makes targeting and marketing so much easier.
Be tight: Listen to your customers and don’t be afraid to pivot. Whatever you are supplying there must be demand. In our case, we were lucky that we had a highly engaged user base of early adopters and we were able to ask them what new app features they’d like to see next, for example. Feedback won’t always be the best route you think and equally feedback won’t always be the right way to go – but if it is, be open to change.