I left school with only three GCSEs – at 23 I borrowed £5k and turned it into a £35m business


SCOTT Davies left school at 16 with three GCSEs and no plan for the long run – however now he’s working a £35m business that works with almost each main grocery store within the UK.

The 35-year-old began Hilltop Honey, a honey promoting business, with simply a £5,000 overdraft with his financial institution and a beehive in his backyard.

He began retaining his personal bees and promoting produce door-to-door, however the sticky stuff is now stocked by large title manufacturers like Tesco and Sainsbury’s. 

While Scott, from Newtown in Powys, admits he at all times had an entrepreneurial spirit, his street to success was not straightforward – however goes to point out that tutorial {qualifications} aren’t any indication of success.

He labored a variety of totally different jobs after leaving school and was laid off from his bricklaying job after the monetary crash in 2008 in addition to struggling a again damage that put him out of labor.

“I left school with three GCSEs and had no plans for further education or work,” Scott instructed The Sun.

“On the day I bought my GCSE outcomes all people was telling me I wanted a plan, so I ran a mile down the street to the native faculty and requested if I might enroll in considered one of their programs. 

Although he needed to wait to begin the year-long course doing furnishings removals within the meantime, he ultimately began an apprenticeship with a native firm.

When the worldwide financial disaster hit, Scott was laid off as demand for builders dwindled.

He then bought a job packing luggage at a coal yard till he suffered a again damage that put him out of handbook labour at the age of simply 23. 

Little did he know at the time that it would result in a buzzing business thought.

‘I had nothing – and nothing to lose’

“The only qualification I had was moving stuff with my hands, but I was always thinking about how I could make more money long term,” Scott says.

“When I was recovering from my financial institution damage I’d examine bees and thought they had been wonderful, so I purchased a beehive and saved them within the backyard.

“As I began to get higher, I thought I wanted to do one thing with my life so I got here up with three business concepts – beekeeping, promoting sports activities gear on eBay or Amazon, or opening a canine kennel on my mother and father’ farm.

“I decided to stick with beekeeping and came up with a plan to produce and sell honey.”

Scott did three half-day programs in advertising, accounting and business planning and then wrote up a business proposal for his financial institution and requested for a £5,000 overdraft to launch his honey business. 

“I was 23 years old, no University degree under my belt and no clue how to run a business – but the bank granted my overdraft and I asked my parents if they could give me three years living at home to try and make it work,” Scott says. 

“It was scary, but I had nothing – so I had nothing to lose.”

Over the subsequent three years, Scott grew from having one beehive in his again backyard to 50 beehives producing honey that he bought door-to-door in his area people and at meals gala’s across the UK.

He grew turnover to £250,000 and added one worker – however it was not all plain crusing as beekeeping is dear.

The business was barely worthwhile and he was only capable of pay himself an annual wage of simply £2,500.

Scott’s mother and father thought he wanted to surrender on the business – however in a stroke of well-timed luck, he had simply had a dialog with a provider that utterly modified the way in which he wished to function.

‘Pinch me second’

“One of my suppliers instructed me with the intention to earn money you both should be a beekeeper who produces honey in bulk and sells it in bulk, or a provider who buys honey in bulk and sells it in jars.

“It doesn’t assist to be each because the economies of scale are so totally different,” Scott explains.

“I additionally realised that to develop into a correct beekeeping operation you want a six-figure funding as bees don’t pay quick.

“So with no earnings, I needed to let go of the emotional attachment of retaining bees and give attention to advertising honey.”

Scott says this realisation and subsequent change of method revolutionised his business – a 12 months later he secured his first deal supplying honey to Holland and Barrett, and extra quickly adopted.

“The deal trebled the size of my business and then less than a year later I signed a deal with Tesco which took it to the next level and it’s just snowballed from there,” Scott says.

“It’s a mad second seeing your product in a actual store. People who’d moved throughout the UK had been sending me photographs of Hilltop Honey in shops all around the nation.

“It was such a proud, pinch me second.”

Hilltop Honey now employs 115 individuals and has an annual turnover of £35million, with earnings earlier than curiosity and tax coming in at between 6% and 10% of his annual turnover.

The business has grown between 50% and 100% 12 months on 12 months, with subsequent 12 months’s turnover projected to achieve a whopping £50million. 

Scott now pays himself considerably greater than the £2,500 he was beforehand taking from the business and is ready to help his spouse Ffion and their three youngsters, Evie, 6, Eddie, 4, and Xander, 7 months.

He’s additionally proud to supply jobs for the local people he’s lived in all his life.

‘Bringing employment again’

“We do have some people working from home but a large proportion of the workforce is based in Newtown, where I grew up, which is awesome,” Scott says.

“We moved into a new manufacturing facility 18 months in the past, which was beforehand utilized by Laura Ashley earlier than they went bust.

“It left 400 individuals out of labor and was fairly disastrous for the city, so it’s nice to have the ability to use the buildings and convey employment again.”

Looking again at the business he’s grown with none seed funding which many small companies typically take – and with simply a £5,000 overdraft – Scott could be very pleased with what he’s achieved.

He has no plans to promote the business regardless of receiving presents most weeks and as an alternative has much more formidable plans.

“We work with every major supermarket in the UK apart from Asda and Lidl but for me the future is still very much about growth and scale,” he says.

“We want to turn heads and export our product outside of the UK. We’re also looking at diversifying our product range, we’ve recently introduced Agave and we’re working on honey-based energy products.”

Scott says he additionally hasn’t let his love of beekeeping totally die – and hopes he can reincorporate hives into Hilltop’s future.

He says: “We now have around 50 beehives, which my dad tends to – but the dream in the future is to have a bee farm or honey farm and eventually get back to having a significant amount for mid-Wales.”

How to begin your individual business

For anybody interested by beginning their very own business Scott advises leaping in with two toes and not being afraid to get issues unsuitable.

He says: “There’s a million reasons for you not to start but have the belief that you’ll find the answers, even if you don’t know everything to start with.”

He additionally advises anybody struggling to get a business of the bottom to be “brutally honest” about whether or not there’s a market.

“Ask your self if the concept is actual, if it’s working and if there’s a genuinely distinctive product that clients need.

“Once you’ve bought that, give attention to that distinctive promoting level and construct from there.”

There’s a lot to think about in case you’re interested by beginning your individual business.

From developing with the proper money-making thought, to the legalities that come with getting arrange, you’ll need to ensure you’ve lined your bases earlier than taking the plunge.

Alan Thomas, UK chief government at Simply Business, beforehand shared his high ideas for beginning a business with The Sun.

(*23*)Know your buyer inside-out

Knowing your viewers is essential. Start by asking your self in case your thought might assist make their life easier, or fill a hole that rivals presently aren’t.

Testing your services or products and iterating primarily based on suggestions is a good way to make sure you’re constructing what’s proper in your buyer.

Doing this early, earlier than investing too closely, will help to validate your business thought and save a lot of cash within the course of.

(*23*)Sort your legalities

Make certain you’re on the precise aspect of any guidelines, laws, and legalities. Registering your business with HMRC ought to be a precedence and it will inform how a lot tax that you must pay.

You can do that on-line at gov.uk. You’ll additionally have to determine on the construction of your organization (sole dealer, restricted firm or a partnership). 

Legally you may additionally require business insurance coverage, comparable to public or employers’ legal responsibility insurance coverage.

A public legal responsibility coverage protects towards harm to 3rd get together property or people, whereas employers’ legal responsibility is a necessity when you have workers.

(*23*)Create the proper advertising plan

This is the place web sites and social media come into play. Consider what platforms work in your business and go from there.

You don’t want a presence on all of them. Also, don’t ignore the ability of flyers, native PR, and good previous phrase of mouth.

(*23*)Give your self a interval of transition and reflection

It’s straightforward to get caught up within the tempo of beginning up, however it’s vital to dedicate time for reflection and evaluation.


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