The Business Owner: Sam Jarvis, HubBox
Managing over 1,000 collection points while striving for increased tech can seem a daunting task, but for Sam Jarvis, it's just another day
Name: Sam Jarvis
Founders: Sam Jarvis (CEO), Greg Beszant (COO) and Jon Pawley (CTO)
Location: South London
Proposition: Click & Collect integrated solution for retailers
Size: Under 20 employees
How is your business different from what’s already out there?
HubBox is an award-winning tech solution that allows for painless integration with any online retailer, with no change to the courier(s) or fulfilment systems. Most other ‘click and collect’ companies require one courier to be used, or have protracted, expensive integration.
How did you finance your business?
We funded the initial prototype ourselves to get as much proof of concept as possible. Based on the results we generated we were able to close an Angel round of funding in August 2015. We’ve also just closed our second round of funding which included a number of well-known Angel investors (Alan Halsall, Rob Fraser, and Adam Buck) along with a VC.
What is the most important thing to keep track of in business and why?
Customer service! We need to make sure, every day, that our solution is working for everyone – our partner retailers, customers, and collect points.
What is the biggest day-to-day challenge you face?
Juggling the disparate aspects of the business – our national network of collect points has topped 1,000 and needs management, and we’re also focusing on providing the easiest, fastest, and in many cases least expensive tech solution to retailers. There’s no tension between the two propositions, but it requires careful prioritising.
What marketing techniques do you use to attract new customers?
We use social media, in-store promotion in our collect points, and our retailers are enthusiastic about letting their customers know that HubBox is available at checkout. In essence, every time we partner with a retailer, we benefit from their marketing and advertising budget and resources. So our core marketing technique is to win more retail clients!
Do you think it’s important for small businesses to export, any tips?
We don’t currently export, so not in the position to give any advice!
What’s the business app you couldn’t do without?
Slack. It’s brilliant! We use it all day long to communicate with each other, both in and out of the office. It ensures we can always be in touch – a necessity for any small business!
Describe your company’s culture in three words:
Inclusive, flexible, busy!
What would you like the government to do for small business?
Before talking about what more they can do, It’s worth pointing out that the government already fund and run a number of effective programmes to support small businesses in the UK. When I talk to counterparts abroad, it’s clear that we have many advantages that we can draw upon that small businesses in other major European economies can’t.
That said, I think the government could do more to help companies recruit young talent. I think the cost of recruitment is far too high, particularly given the rise of recruitment agencies – for every type of employee – charging fees of 20%+.
Who’s your biggest small and medium enterprise hero?
I really admire Mike Anderson, now at Chelsea Apps Factory. He has taken a number of companies from the humblest of beginnings to phenomenal success and is doing that right now at CAF. He was also the first person to mass sell free newspapers and did so despite the whole industry saying it would be impossible!
Where do you want the business to be in three years?
We want to continue to add our solution to bigger and bigger online retailers. We’ve had some big wins in a very short amount of time, so our challenge is to continue to scale the business appropriately and ensure we deliver the right solution in line with the customer wants.
What’s your top tip for keeping it lean and making profit?
Be the only person in the company with a company bank card!
Serious answer: we have two rules.
First, we treat all our revenues and monies received from investors as if it was our own personal cash. If you wouldn’t do something with your own money, you should certainly not do it with the company’s or investors’ money.
Second, before we invest in any new solution, we have to be as confident as we can that it will at least pay for itself. Everything we do is a set of bets, and the odds need to be good for it to be approved!