The Business Owner: Simon Watson, Pondip Limited
The co-founder explains why he invests heavily in marketing and that every pound counts
Company: Pondip Limited
Founders: Simon Watson, William Fisher and Ian Hislop
Proposition: The leading publisher and retailer for any beginner and intermediate angler in Europe
How is your business different from what’s already out there?
Pondip is a central hub for the recreational fishing community. Providing unbiased fishing advice, reviews and offers. There is a lot of online tackle shops at the moment, but none of them reach the level of discount we offer on our Pondip deals scheme. We also provide free tackle to selected customers that sign up to our Tester Scheme to provide honest reviews that are fed back to the manufacturers. None of the online shops do that!
How did you finance your business?
Personal investment and angel funding
What is the most important thing to keep track of in business and why?
Cash flow. Without it, we have no business.
What is the biggest day-to-day challenge you face?
Knowing exactly what is going on with business each day given that the team is so wide spread. We communicate regularly and have tools like Trello which allow us to track site development work.
What marketing techniques do you use to attract new customers?
We have invested heavily in our content marketing strategy. We have built a team of content providers, and publish their content to our blog. This blog is highly optimised for SEO and allows our company to rank very highly on big generic fishing search terms. The traffic generated from these terms accounts for more than 60% of our traffic. The content marketing continues throughout our social media communities. Places like Facebook and Twitter are where lots of our customers first hear about our business.
Do you think it’s important for small businesses to export, any tips?
Yes, if it makes sense for the business. Logistically it’s never been easier to export to other countries from the UK. We see lots of interest from mainland Europe and America, as they struggle to obtain the top fishing brands which tend to reside in the UK.
What’s the business app you couldn’t do without?
There several apps that allow me to monitor and control my business whilst on the move. In no particular order… Facebook Group Manager, Mailchimp, Shopify, Skype, Linkedin, Email, Google maps,
Describe your company’s culture in three words:
Trustful, respectful, & passionate.
What would you like the government to do for small business?
To be honest, I don’t have too many complaints about the government as they seem to be very proactive and encouraging when it comes to new businesses. However I have only been in business for a short while, so I guess I have lots more to learn!
Who’s your biggest small and medium enterprise hero?
I don’t have a hero per-se, but I admire anyone that can take any business from conception to fruition. Simply giving it a go is not enough, you have to dig deep and grit your teeth in order to be successful. Those that have done that and continue to do that I admire.
Where do you want the business to be in three years?
I want the business to be recognised throughout the industry as thought leaders in the angling space, profitable and turning over £3m per annum.
What’s your top tip for keeping it lean and making profit?
Be diligent and measure the performance of every single marketing pound you spend. We spend 99% of our marketing budget digitally. We deeply track everything that happens on our site, which means we can measure the effectiveness of any traffic we are are sending there and from which source.
Using a CPA (cost per acquisition) target it means I know how much I am willing to spend on buying traffic (typically clicks from Google Ads, or Facebook Ads), in order to convert that click into a customer.
There are loads of articles written on the subject of CPA, so I advise searching around and reading up on it. There is no excuse for not measuring this critical KPI. Get it wrong and you will burn cash faster with diminishing results. Your business will ultimately run out of cash sooner or later and fail. Get it right and you scale it, and make a profit!