Role and company:CEO and Co-Founder of SportPursuit
Company turnover:Multi-million pound revenues and growing rapidly.
Growth forecast for the next three years:We are looking to increase the size of the business by at least 20 fold over the next three years, so, quickly.
In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace:
- Unbeatable customer offers on both new exciting brands as well as those that members already love;
- Creating demand, not just serving it. Encouraging trial and discovery of the great sports brands we feature; and
- Protecting brands by selling them only to our closed user group for a short period of time.
What’s the big vision for your business?Helping more people get their hands on the best sports brands in the world, making them faster, better or just drier!
Current level of international business, and future aspirations:We are currently entirely based in the UK, however, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that our proposition is relevant to sports men and women around the world – we believe this offers us huge growth potential in the coming years.
Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:Throwing the managing partner of my former employer into the swimming pool fully clothed on a company event and being fired by him just before he hit the water. Luckily, later in the evening (after a couple more drinks), he was kind enough to rescind the earlier firing. My time there taught me about the importance of building a great team and culture around a business.
What makes you mad in business today?Poor customer service and by service I mean the overall experience a customer receives. I think this is particularly the case for founders of a business where you’ve put everything you have on the line to build the business, To then deliver a poor experience even to a single customer really hurts. We spend a huge amount of time and effort to ensure that the customer experience of the last one per cent of customers is as good as the first by improving the quality and consistency of everything we do. We’re not perfect, but we know that our passion and focus on the customer will win through creating great customer experiences every day.
What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?We think you’ll see a resurgence of niche technical specialist brands who bring true innovation to their sports. These brands will be more online focused, allowing them to gain distribution and access to new customers in an otherwise crowded bricks and mortar market.
Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow? If not, what can be done to improve things?There remains a lot of finance available in the market for quality businesses. As long as businesses focus on delivering a quality proposition to a customer with a focused business model, they will be able to access the funds they need. I think things like EIS are helping this, particularly for smaller businesses at Seed and Series A stage.
How would others describe your leadership style?Collaborative. I like to spend time with the team, helping to understand and think through the challenges they are addressing. I really believe that this is the best way to motivate the team and ensure they are all focused on pulling SportPursuit in the right direction.
Your biggest personal extravagance?Pro-rider quality skis and ski kit despite having not yet been on a real ski slope, although I am rectifying this very soon! Looking at awesome kit everyday just gets too tempting! You have to splash out and enjoy it!
You’ve got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK’s independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper:Tax relief for entrepreneurs on money they personally invest, ideally in the form of an income tax rebate or contribution to the company. This tax relief would ensure that more businesses have sufficient funds to at least get to the proof of concept stage when entrepreneurs can then raise money from angels, VCs and other institutional investors. By Shané Schutte
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