Hey, I'm Ben Davies and I'm the founder of Vypr, located in Manchester, UK.
Tell us all about your business...
We are a Product Intelligence Platform operating in the Consumer Goods sector.
We generate predictive consumer intelligence through our proprietary communities of consumers, and apply it to the product innovation process so our clients can achieve transformational outcomes on new product launches. Our customers include retailers such as Marks & Spencers, and brands such as Starbucks and Colgate-Palmolive.
What's your background and motivation to get into the solopreneur life?
My first corporate job was as a buyer at Sainsbury's. I learned a huge amount working there, and got a really deep understanding of consumer products, with a particular interest in innovation.
I saw the flaws in the process of how the food & drink sector brings new products to market, and thought there must be a way to apply technology & data to this problem to get better outcomes. Out of that understanding of the pain point, Vypr was born.
As an entrepreneur, what does success ultimately mean to you?
Success means building a business out of nothing but my idea, that has a really substantial impact on the consumer goods market, and becomes a hugely positive place to work for all the people in Vypr.
What are the top 3 tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run or grow a business today?
I'll focus on B2B startups as that is what I know and understand.
Firstly you need to have spent time working in the industry that you're going to launch a B2B startup in; you need to have a solid understanding of the inner workings that you can't get from just reading.
Secondly network network network - you never know where advisors, mentors, customers, co-workers or investors could come from.
Thirdly, figure out strategies to dial your resilience up to 11... it'll be a long, tough journey that will likely take a lot of years to complete.
If there was one thing you could do repeatedly day in day out to help grow your business then what would it be?
Hire right first time - it's a shortcut way to grow your business as quickly as is possible.
What are some of the things you put in place to maintain a healthy work/life balance and to keep it all together?
I try as hard as I can to not let work creep into weekends, and do all the usual stuff that people talk about - eat well, sleep lots, exercise as much as you can. You need a very supportive & understanding partner as well, the intensity of those early years mean you'll have little headspace for other stuff.
Who are some of your favorite entrepreneurs and best business resources/books?
Any book by Ben Horowitz is well worth reading as he describes big impactful entrepreneurial journeys, warts and all, describing the downs more than the ups. He gives the most realistic portrayal of entrepreneurism that I've read.
For anyone looking to start a business today, what would be the number one bit of advice you'd give them?
They should do it - and be prepared for the rollercoaster. Compared to corporate life, the highs will be higher, the lows will be lower, but it's an amazing journey of self-discovery.
Where can people find you online?
You can find me on LinkedIn, so give me a shout on there!
If you like what you've read here and have your own #SoloStories that you'd like to share then hit Jonny up on Twitter, we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.