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Eight Questions for the 'Final 8' - David Grimes

Mon, 07 November 2011

In the run up to the 2011 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, we will be profiling each of the finalists to give you some background on their entrepreneurial journey so far. Meet David Grimes of
Can you give us some background on how your business got started?
It was from running our first company, Xenon-54 (which supplies corporate branded merchandise to corporate firms and advertising agencies throughout the UK) that we saw the gap in the market for We became increasingly frustrated with the long commutate to a post office, and the subsequent long queues we had to endure upon arriving, just to send some samples out to our customers. As we only sent a few parcels per week, courier services were too expensive, and it was at this point we had the sudden realisation that there must have been thousands of others in the same position as we were. It was from this moment that was born, and we now aggregate the volume of thousands of customers across the UK to get the best rates with the couriers and then pass on these discounts to our customers.
What has been the biggest barrier you have overcome to get this far?
The biggest obstacle we have had has been having the necessary budgets to market the business to create the mass brand awareness it needs. As an Internet-based business, our potential target market is theoretically global and so, to reach this many people is a major challenge, not to mention immensely costly! Therefore, in our first year, we have had to be extremely strategic with our marketing spend (as funds were limited) and so it was frustrating that we could not market ourselves to the mass markets. It is imperative that people know about your services so that they can use you.
People will always have a need to send parcels, especially with the growth in on-line retail and eBay. Therefore, there is no doubt that the more people who know about, the more the company will grow.
Even though we have seen incredible growth in the last year, we know that with a larger marketing budget, we could grow the company at an even greater rate. This was one of the primary reasons we secured investment recently, as we now have the necessary budgets to really market aggressively and promote our brand worldwide.
How has Shell LiveWIRE helped you on your journey?
Our business requires a great deal of resource to operate. We have in-house IT developers, customer service, accounts, sales and marketing departments – all of which come at a great cost. However, they are essential to the success and continued growth of
Our current focus is to strengthen our IT team, as the software that powers the website is vital to its operation. Therefore, the Grand Ideas Award win of £1,000 has helped us inject further resource into our IT team in order to help create our app for iPhone/iPad users. We have a skills gap in MAC development so we have been able to inject added resource into this field.
Also, winning the Grand Ideas Award really bolstered our team spirit, and has had a big impact in giving our business greater credibility in the marketplace. We have had some great PR exposure as a result and have already generated a lot of new business as a result of being within the Shell LiveWIRE community.
Winning the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award would surpass all the other award wins we have had to date and set us on a very exciting journey.
What has been the best bit of advice you’ve received on your entrepreneurial journey?
There a few:
  • Don’t ever cross anyone on your way up, as you will always meet them on your way down
  • Cost is a disease, cash flow is king
  • Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Which entrepreneurs do you look to for inspiration?
  • My father
  • Richard Branson
  • Warren Buffett
  • Steve Jobs
  • Bill Gates
  • Jeff Bezos
What are you most looking forward to at Shell LiveWIRE LIVE! 2011?
  1. Hopefully winning the 2011 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award!
  2. The judging process – we love the opportunity to talk about our business
  3. The networking and resulting business we can do as a result.
What will it mean to you and the business if you win?
We entered the Shell LiveWIRE awards as winning the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year would not only mean the world to the directors, but also to the whole team here. Our team literally jumped off their chairs when we announced our last award win. It is a great recognition for all their hard work and really helps boost morale.
Moreover, to be recognised by an independent body of experts for having created and developed a company that is worthy of the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award would be absolutely fantastic.
The last year has been one of the hardest in our business careers. We have been faced with some of the biggest challenges, and overcoming these has been very difficult. We have learnt a lot of new lessons, and have developed a great deal as leaders and as businessmen. The ‘icing on the cake’ for us is to be recognised for the ‘blood, sweat and tears’ you put into your business by a judging panel who believe in both you and your business.
Winning something like this has a major impact on the growth and success of a business. Winning this award means everything to us
What do you think can be done to help entrepreneurs in the future?
  • Better and easier access to finance
  • More mentoring schemes from real entrepreneurs
  • Free advertising
  • More government support – i.e. tax breaks, credits, grants, subsidies, etc.

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