Edward, SkipTrips
Edward Fanshawe

Member Article

Behind the business with SkipTrips.com

Bdaily talks to Edward Fanshaw, director of SkipTrips.com, a live marketplace for skip hire and waste management.

What key challenges has your company recently faced?

Aside from the huge challenges of setting up a new national business from scratch, there have been two areas in particular that have kept us entertained over the past two months; these include:

1) Introducing innovation: As with my previous business (www.loadhog.co.uk), introducing something
completely different to what already exists in the market brings an extra challenge. With a ‘me-too’ product,
the sales process is fairly straight forward – demand already exists and you need to capture it. With an
innovation, this frequently also involves ‘educating’ or working with customers and suppliers as to how that
new concept works and what that means for them, before capturing demand that may come from it.

2) Building trust with customers: Utilising the plethora of marketing channels available to us these days can
be hard to do in a targeted and effective way – there are just so many and recipient apathy is growing.
At the end of the day, customers and suppliers are real people and, whilst the internet gives us access to
everyone through PPC and other online advertising, actually opening and maintaining a trusted dialogue with customers requires serious planning and intelligent execution. Just because you’re an online business doesn’t mean you can avoid matching your virtual platform with a human platform to back it up!

What is your biggest achievement over the past 12 months?

Registering c.20% of the UK’s population of waste managers to SkipTrips. The waste management industry is not renowned for it’s high tech approach to business (traditionally, at least), waste managers with the right licenses are not easy to identify and they are pretty dominant in their local areas so need an excellent proposition to make it worth their while! We launched with 190 and have more than doubled that in 2 months to 400+ quality local waste managers – quite an achievement for a brand new business and we are proud to work with them.

What is your biggest focus for the coming year?

Turning SkipTrips into a serious business tool for domestic and commercial business users alike. The vision is to create a live marketplace for waste management services and products nationwide, not limited to skip hire but including new growth areas such as hazardous waste and recyclables like metal and plastics.

If you had to choose one top piece of advice for someone just starting out in business, or is currently operating within your industry sector, what would it be?

There are 3 bits of advice I would give based on my own experiences to date: Make sure you really understand the industry and what your customers value. Make detailed plans and measure your results so you can adopt/adapt as needed to make sure you succeed – it’s painful to do sometimes but very worthwhile. Above all else, you need to really believe in your plan and go for it full pelt.

Can you share with us your view of the current landscape of business, in this region or generally and where your organisation sits within it?

From an SME prespective, times are hugely tough, there’s no mistaking it, and we have only seen 10-30% of the cuts that are coming down the barrel of the austerity gun! This is definitely reflected in purchasing decisions of consumers and businesses alike and it’s also reflected in the (lack of) ability to win backing via credit or equity without a solid track record.

That said, I am personally very optimistic because new times bring new opportunities for success – it’s just about finding the right mix. Technology is and will be a key driver of new growth. We live in a period of unprecedented technological expansion. New technologies are being developed all the time and customers are learning how to run their lives differently using it. That’s what makes now such an exciting period to be in business and we shouldn’t be worried about having a go at doing things differently.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Edward Fanshawe .

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