How we turned £750 into a global seven-figure business
Following an appearance on Dragon's Den, Mo Bros reveal how they achieved £3m in sales and gained 200,000 customers - with just £750
Names: Kunal Dattani (29), Keval Dattani (33) and Savan Dattani (24)
Company: Mo Bros
Company description: Mo Bros is a family-owned business that creates high-quality products and accessories to help men groom their facial hair. We've helped more than 200,000 fellow Mo Bros in 78 countries sport the best beards and moustaches they can.
Started in: 2014
Describe your start-up barrier:
We managed to launch our beard grooming business with a self-funded investment of £750.
One of the toughest challenges for a start-up is finding initial investment capital and then re-investing the profits into the business to support growth.
We overcame this problem by spending plenty of time analysing and researching the market we were about to enter, making sure there was sufficient demand for our products. We also kept our overheads and expenses to a minimum during the start-up phase through self-innovation – we even built some of the machinery we use ourselves!
What were the practical steps you took to successfully scale your business with £750?
Keeping overheads low
We used our own personal equipment, for example laptops and computers, for the business. We also paid ourselves the minimum salary we needed to survive during the first six months.
Re-investing profits back into the business
We started with £750, then doubled this to £1,500, then £3,000 and so on. We kept re-investing every pound into the business to ensure its rapid growth.
Researching the market and challenges
We spent the majority of our time looking at the market, scoping out gaps and niches. We found there was plenty of free information available online, and we used this information in combination with paid research tools, which allowed us to scope out our market size and competition.
It was important for us to use this information to understand how we could create a unique position in the marketplace for our products. We also used this data to select our key distribution channels.
Learning and doing as much as possible on our own
We launched our own website, designed our own brand and created our own formulations. We studied and used every bit of combined experience we had to execute our initial launch.
The most important aspect here was to launch a product that reflected our individual core values.
Times are constantly changing; it’s important today more than ever before to stay adaptive in business. For Mo Bros this meant learning our market inside out, and tweaking, refining, and optimising as we went along.
In the early stages, our core strategies were to monitor customer feedback, use research tools to launch new products and manufacture products in-house.
Getting family and friends involved
The biggest expense and time-commitment to our business (and most businesses) is recruiting employees. At the start-up phase, we relied heavily on the skills and time of family members to get hands-on feedback.
During our busiest periods, we had our parents volunteer to work on the picking and package line at our warehouse. Our father even used his engineering skills to help design some manufacturing equipment for us.
Using free online resources
It’s now easier than ever to get free help online, whether it’s about finance, mentoring or research. Initially we launched our products on eBay which was free for us to list on, meaning that we could get selling quickly and risk-free.
Once we realised there was a market for our products, we then made the decision to invest our money and time into launching a website. We also made full use of social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, which allowed us to promote our products to new customers.
What was the outcome?
Since November 2014, Mo Bros has gone from a £750 investment to having sold more than £3m worth of products to over 200,000 customers in 78 countries. We have a team of 11, plus seven dedicated staff members at our outsourced manufacturing facilities in Yorkshire.
What three key questions should other companies ask themselves when seeking initial investment capital?
- Do you need to raise finance?
- How much finance do I need?
- What form of finance is available and most suitable to my business?
What one piece of advice would you offer to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business?
Create a detailed business plan. The number one reason businesses fail is due to a lack of planning.
Is there anything you would do differently?
In the second year of trading, our business grew so fast and we soon got caught up with the day-to-day running of the business, which ultimately meant we lost focus on our business plan.
If we were to launch the business again we would definitely re-invest our profits into building a strong team who would support us in building our vision.