Puncturesafe Distributor Simon Allison
Following redundancy at the end of 2011, I wanted to start my own business and work for myself. As an existing Puncturesafe customer, I was ordering a DIY kit to do the tyres on my wife’s car and noticed the distributor opportunity on the website.
From this, I have created a business specialising in solutions for companies and individuals, to protect them from puncture-related downtime and to save them fuel and tyre wear – by ensuring tyres remain at their optimum tyre pressures.
For over 25 years, my career had been in IT for the finance and pharmaceutical industries, but prior to this I had experience as a REME mechanic in the Territorial Army working on HGVs. I have also developed my own track car, where my interest in tyre performance developed.
On top of this, I am a keen caravaner and I have also had a number of motorbikes. I therefore felt I have a broad range of experience to draw on.
However, I had no experience in sales or running a business and this was an area I would need to learn.
Puncturesafe put me in touch with a couple of established distributors and I chose to have a day’s training on the job with Jeremy Smith, which was an invaluable first step for me and enabled me to start with a degree of confidence.
The business was launched in April 2012 and I dedicated myself to this full time. Sales were slow initially, as to be expected, but with persistence they started to come, helped by identifying the niche areas where there is a clear need.
By January 2013, I had made good progress with my initial stock and realised that it would be more effective for me to have two areas to work, as I was doing this full-time. I also started to join business networking groups and this is something I wish I had done sooner.
The networking has helped maintain a level of installations, which I do myself. Once established with the groups, this has lead to referrals to companies who have since become customers, and in many cases where I was not even aware of them.
I made a deliberate choice to concentrate on smaller companies initially to gain experience and credibility. As a result, I have a reasonable number of customers, but many only reorder small quantities with a few having greater ongoing requirements.
A recent decision to work with a business mentor has been a great help to me guiding me in business. I now realise that I need to secure a few bigger customers who will order regular large volumes to get me to where I need to be with sales. I am confident that this is achievable with some trials underway with companies of this potential.
In summary, starting a business during a considerable recession is quite a challenge. There is however demand for the products and there does not seem to be much activity from any credible competitors.
With an opportunity to speak with the right person in a business, it is often possible to put a very good business case together for Puncturesafe.