Posted: Fri 25th Mar 2016
Josh Blackburn, co-founder of online male grooming retailer Regal Gentleman, says he was always destined to be an entrepreneur and shares insights into how to guarantee customer loyalty.
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What was your motivation to start your own business?
I have always been very ambitious, even when I was younger, and just always been pulled towards starting my own business. I was always up to something whether that was selling sweets, clothing or even cleaning cars so it's just something I have always had a buzz for. You can't explain the feeling of starting something from nothing and watching it grow. As I got older the motivation for providing for my family also came into play. It will be a great day when I can retire and make sure my family never have to go without anything again.
Whilst you were starting up how did you balance home life with work?
If I am being honest there wasn't much balancing. It was literally work, work, and work and to this day it is still like that, I am just slightly better at managing my time. Starting a business is no walk in the park. I think to really take advantage of the opportunity you have to put in a lot of hours of hard work and that means spending less time with family and friends sometimes. I believe that's why it's so important you're passionate about your idea because if you're not then when the tough times hit you will be more inclined to give up
What is your top tip for effective sales and marketing?
My top tip based on what we have learned so far is 'lead with value'. With everything you do ask yourself 'how is this helping people?'. I really don't believe in making a sales or marketing campaign with the mind-set of how much money can we make in this, it should be how many people can we help. You will find the more you help, and the less you sell to people, the more people will start to trust you and that's what you want at the end of the day. Having your customers trust will lead to sales in the long term.
Another lesson we have learned which I think is just as important is having a 20 year perspective of your customer. Sometimes it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking about making that Â£100 sale today. Instead of that, start to think what can you do that will make the customer a loyal customer for the next 20 years. This is when 'leading with value" becomes very effective.
Which tools could you not live without in your business?
The first thing that comes straight to mind is Shopify. Shopify has given us a great platform to make a difference and bring our business to life. The support and community at Shopify is amazing also and if you're ever stuck there is always somewhere there to help.
What movie, song or book offers you the most business inspiration and why?
It would have to be Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. This is hands down the best book I've read on providing great customer service. If you haven't read it, pick it up as soon as you can.
The main thing it taught me was how as a business you shouldn't be measuring a customer's satisfaction rate. In most cases when we say we are satisfied it means we were one level away from being angry and disappointed. We should instead be creating a service that promotes loyalty and showing customers are more than just a number of a spreadsheet.
What has been your biggest business success to date?
It would have to be when we really decided on what our company mission would be, deciding on values that we believe in and making Regal Gentleman us. It may not seem big to people reading this but at the start of our business journey most of what we did was based on what others were doing and because of this our results suffered. Now we can honestly say Regal Gentleman is 100% us and we're enjoying the ride.
If you had to live on a desert island with one entrepreneur who would it be and why?
I would have to say Sir Richard Branson because I would have faith in him getting one of his planes to come and pick us up :D
What are your ambitions for the next five years?
Our mission is 'to help without expectation, and to make some friends along the way' so I would say my ambitions are to continue helping people, building great friendships with our customers (if they'll have us) and building a company that is known for its customer experience and WOW service.
How does being a member of Enterprise Nation help your business grow?
I think Enterprise Nation helps in many ways but the main love for me is the events and community that it's building. No one knows everything so having a platform like Enterprise Nation that allows you to network, go to great events and feed off other people's experiences is great. Emma and the team are doing a great job!
For more information visit the Regal Gentleman website and follow the company on Twitter and Facebook.
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