Herida Healthcare image

Neil Smith image

Following the launch of its third successive start-up since 2016 with the introduction of Herida Moving and Handling in December 2018, Neil Smith, Managing Director of the Herida Group, has shared some insightful start-up tips with THIIS.

The former owner of Mackworth Healthcare (acquired by Prism Medical UK in 2015), Neil went on to establish pressure care specialist Herida Healthcare with his business partner John Kay less than three years ago. Since then, the pressure care manufacturer has gone on to achieve impressive growth domestically and abroad, leading to the launch of its new, standalone moving and handling business.

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For many businesses, these early, formulative years can be make or break and are widely accepted as being the most trying times for start-ups in any industry.

Speaking to Neil, he explained to THIIS some of the challenges involved in launching a successful new business in a busy market like moving and handling: “A new market entrant as a start-up business is always going to be a challenge in any saturated market. Particularly alongside some good quality, high profile, established branded offerings that are already available.

“Therefore, you must understand the market and innovate. Competitor reaction to launch, customer acceptance, product longevity in entry pricing are also considerations. However, if you have researched and evaluated your market properly pre-launch, these should become less of an issue.”

Alongside researching the market and understanding the conditions facing a new business, Neil emphasised that cashflow should be the main concern for any new business.

“My advice would always be as a number one priority, keep a keen eye on cash throughout! You can have an order book a mile long and great product, but if you have no cash available, you’re stumped,” he said.

“However, meticulous prior planning, identified market demand and good people all form part of the magic recipe. Then comes drive.”

Highlighting the amount of personal and team effort required to make a new enterprise a success, Neil says it is the people that make a company so training and empowerment, as well as individual perseverance, are essential.

“You must drive the businesses like a train, often to exhausting times and develop the people within them. In addition, you should always believe in yourself,” explained Neil.

“Your team is everything of course. Without them, you or your business is nothing. There is no such thing as a successful entrepreneur who did it alone. Treat them well and fairly but expect a pound of flesh in return. Reward them when it goes well and hold them to account when it doesn’t.”

In addition to personal effort and a motivated, capable team, Neil points out that all business success ultimately relies on keeping the all-important customer happy.

“Always look after the customer, no matter how down on your luck you find yourself. These are your life blood and they will remember the good things you do in tough times,” he noted.

Neil’s last and final tip is to keep the bigger picture in mind in those inevitable moments of wavering confidence.

“My last tip is when you’re having self-doubt days and we all do, remember the good things in life and why you are doing it – your family, partner, your ego, or an end goal, a fancy home, a place in the sun, fast car, a boat. Maybe them all!! Whatever is your thing – Aim high and go for it.”

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