I once read somewhere that in business, it’s important to pause once in a while to reflect on your achievements and give yourself (and your team, if you have one) a pat on the back. So this article is my pause to give myself and Andy Pringle, the other half of our management team, a pat on the back and a chance to remind ourselves what we’ve achieved in the past year.
One year ago, after an 18-month period without stock and little money, (which we used to pay legal and patent bills) we decided to steel ourselves, borrow some more money and restart production of our innovative and award-winning visor safety product, Visorcat, which enables the user to wash and wipe the visor while carrying out another tasks, such as working or riding a motorcycle.
I can’t pretend that this Phoenix-like behaviour was all our own doing – we were encouraged by our experience at Entrepreneurial Spark, with their “GoDo” attitude. This is my approach anyway, most of the time – but it’s difficult to “GoDo” when you’re out of cash to make and sell the thing you’re supposed to be going and doing. However, our loyal customers were also a major inspiration – they have described our product as “a lifesaver”, “the best motorcycle accessory ever” and even “one of the best inventions since the wheel”.
We moved into some surplus office accommodation (about 500sqft) owned by the Belhaven Brewery in Dunbar, Scotland, ordered some parts and started assembly again in May 2016. The following month we listed Visorcat on Amazon, and did a bit of test digital marketing which told us two things: that our ageing website was woefully inadequate but also that digital marketing was resulting in better than average results for our industry.
After a couple of months we realised that Amazon was working well for us (we’re part of Amazon Launchpad, a programme for innovative products) and, on the back of that success, decided to forge ahead. At the same time we had attracted the interest of a major name in motorcycling (via my “GoDo” approach to using LinkedIn) and were working with a potential manufacturing partner. We were also shortlisted in the IP100 League Table 2017 – we’re in the top 20 for trade secrets.
So in a year, we have gone from zero to heroes! In February we moved premises again, this time to more suitable accommodation where we have established what is probably Dunbar’s first new factory for decades (with the help of production assistant Marc). We also have refreshed branding, a new website, new packaging and point of sale materials, and, importantly, a growing band of retail customers in the UK and further afield, with interest worldwide, from both inside and outside motorcycling – Visorcat has applications in the health and safety environment too. Time for a small pat on the back … !