By Richard Chambers
Believe it or not, horrendous hangovers were the reason I first got involved with what has now become pretty much my life, and the service my company, Get a Drip, provides. Well, hangovers and finding myself in intensive care suffering from Ketoacidosis due to being a type 1 diabetic!
Following rehydration via an IV vitamin drip, I discovered how amazing it felt to be fully hydrated and felt sure that hydration could be a booster for all sorts of issues, from hangover to colds, to feeling run down, jet lagged or even recovering from a sports event. We can no longer supplement all the nutrients and vitamins we need via diet alone and we don’t get the absorption rate needed from oral supplements.
In the US, vitamin drips are already popular; they are well ahead of the UK in terms of optimum nutrition. We are the only affordable vitamin drip and booster shot provider in the UK and my goal is to make it available to everyone at an affordable price. Our clients range from A List celebrities and people working in the city, to young fitness fanatics.
Starting this business, there were tons of associated risks, as there isn't any proven business model for this in the UK. Everything in the business plan had to be created from scratch, it isn't like opening a coffee shop, or gym; it's a completely new concept, so the challenges were enormous.
For example, medical staff are super expensive and it is really hard to find professionally qualified and high-quality staff, so this contributes to a huge cost base. As it's a new business with no pattern to our customer base I have no idea what our financials will be like each month. We have to be so careful with our cash flow, as funds are limited, which means we have to analyse everything we spend our money on. Time is an issue. Not having enough time to do everything means that there is a risk that something could be missed in the planning stages, creating a knock-on effect.
As boring as it sounds, having procedures and good software in place can massively help. This not only makes for huge time saving, but computer software available now means I can work remotely anywhere in the world and manage my locations, staff, finances and so on.
As the founder of a super high-risk start up, I don't think I have taken any responsible risks! But I spent years trying to make my business plan perfect and doing as much research as possible before committing. If I were to give advice to other entrepreneurs it would be to make sure the concept works. It doesn't matter how much PR and Marketing you do, just make sure the concept is right. You need to be completely fluid all the time and be ready to change everything quickly. Listen to people - do not be stubborn and defensive of people's comments or criticism, take it on board, write it down and reflect on it, they are giving you an outsider’s opinion (customers’ opinion). If they are thinking that, so will others.
Finally, don’t let stress spoil the vision. No matter how stressful everything gets, the world has not ended yet. When I look back at the most stressful moments (and what I thought were disaster points) they all seem really smooth from the outside and well executed. If it becomes stressful all the time, then it won't be fun and then you have to ask yourself why you did it!
Richard is the Founder and CEO of Get A Drip
London, PwC United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)7483 421933