Name of Business: HayMaxTM Limited
Your Name and Age: Max Wiseberg 52
Tell us about your family: Partner (in life, work, crime, everything) and 2 children, 11 and 10.
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition? I was a sales director, Christine gave up working to stay at home with the kids.
When did you launch? 2005 on the web site, 2006 into Independent health food shops, 2007 into Waitrose, 2008 into Boots, Tesco and co-operative pharmacies, 2009 into Holland and Barrett and Lloyds Pharmacies. We’re hoping to be in Asda and Morrisons in 2010.
How did you get started? I made the product for myself over a period of years because I was sick of not being able to find anything that worked consistently for my hayfever.
What research did you do before launching? I emailed 700 contacts from my previous job and offered them free product for honest response on questionnaires
How have you funded the business? I was involved an an MBO at my previous business which provided us with enough cash to fund the business and to fund our life until the businesss could start paying us.
How do you promote your business? What has worked best? Lots of PR, lots of advertising. To ensure that enough people know about HayMaxTM and go into the big stores we need to do national advertising, and most of our expenditure goes on this. Magazine ads work best but we have also done TV, Radio, leaflet drops in doctors’ surgeries and we have a commission only telesales team who do work for us when we need it. Dr Chris Steele has been a great help since he found out about how good our product is. We did our own PR to start with and when we got busier we outsourced it to a company called Excellart. They are great because we only pay them if they get an article published. So instead of paying a significant retainer for an agency – with no guarantee of results, we just pay them when something is printed. And they do a good job – 40 articles last year! Advertising doesn’t have to be very expensive, bargain hard and buy late!
What has worked well about your business? Getting into the big stores.
What has been your biggest challenge so far? How have you dealt with it? Getting an order for more pots than we’d ever made before which needed delivering the following week. There was no way we could manufacture enough in time in our home factory (the kitchen). We were prepared for this eventuality and had already been in contact with a couple of companies who could manufacture for us. One of them was able to do it in the timeframe required and we’ve worked with them ever since.
How do you fit in work with the family? We work from home. It does present its challenges but it also means we can both see the kids when they get home from school. We both see them off to school every morning, and we all eat together as a family every evening. If we have to do some more work it’s no problem to do it after the children have gone to bed.
What advice would you give to someone else wanting to work in this area? Don’t underestimate the work involved, but go for it. Try to maintain the balance between home and work. The reason for doing this was to be in charge of our own time. There’s no point in doing that if the business takes over. You have to keep reminding yourself of that.
Your website link. www.haymax.biz
Special promotion for Family Friendly Working readers: 3 for the price of 2 on our website