Belate Me Not: Lawrence Suss
Automated flower service for men
Tell us what your business does:
BelateMeNot.com is an automated flower delivery service for men. Our service allows men to log three special events in the year – her birthday, Valentine’s day and their anniversary – on which they can send a bouquet of flowers to their girlfriend or wife.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
The idea came from personal experience! On too many occasions, I have caught myself forgetting the most sacred days in the year for my marriage. That annoying feeling of having to buy flowers last minute on Valentine’s day helped me to formulate the idea for this business.
I have always wanted to try out a subscription start-up model and spotted something similar in the States, which convinced me this could work.
How did you know there was a market for it?
I did a bit of research and found that the multi-billion pound floral industry was missing out on a niche: men. There was no site I could find that solely focused on men, and to some degree played on the stereotype of how men do normally forget these important days.
However, I guess my best market research was speaking to my own mates, who have all at some point forgotten their wives’ birthday or anniversary. The business model focuses on helping such men save time and money.
What were you doing before starting up?
I was trying and failing at other business ideas! I have tried everything, but never tried giving up.
When I first embarked on this serial entrepreneurial journey, I purposefully taught myself skills that I knew would be handy in the future. So, while launching a few ideas, I also taught myself web and graphic design.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Since I was at high school, I’ve wanted to be an entrepreneur. I started in school by buying jewellery and selling it to the girls in my class. My father was an entrepreneur, so I guess it’s in my blood.
How did you raise the money?
The beauty of online businesses is that starting up can be relatively cheap. The fact that I taught myself how to code websites helped me save money in an area that most entrepreneurs have to spend a lot on. I am now focused on finding funding for the marketing, but my first focus was to get the site up and running.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
With this particular site, my greatest challenge was finding the right floral company to handle all my distribution etc. This is a new concept to the UK, so they would have to really understand my business model to see the potential in partnering with me.
The second challenge was the fact that I had to learn coding, in an attempt to keep my start-up costs low. That was the biggest pain!
How much do you charge?
Our annual subscription is £105. This includes any three bouquets, all of which come with free delivery.
What was your first big breakthrough?
My first breakthrough was the meeting I had with the directors of a floral company, to pitch my proposal. This is one of the UK”s most respected and largest floral companies and I was a young guy working from his iMac in his living room. The fact that they loved the idea and agreed to the partnership was a great relief.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
1) When you have the idea, just go for it. You’ll regret not trying more than you’ll regret failing at the idea. 2) Learn web design (/date a web developer!) 3) Never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever give up. 4) Read ’3′ again.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
In five years I hope to have expanded the concept to Europe and the US, partnered with Moonpig.com and become known as the guy from Croydon that singlehandedly disrupted the floral industry.