Welcome!

News Feed Item

Steffan Rygaard's 5 lessons in entrepreneurship

LONDON, Feb. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Steffan Rygaard, director of Vision Direct Ltd, started his business in 1997 working from a box room in a shared house, with just £1,000 and a credit card. Today the company employs 40 people, operates through much of Europe and has a turnover of around €20 million. So what's the secret of his success?

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140204/MN58676)

Firstly - crucial for all new businesses - he'd spotted a gap in the market. "The idea was simple," he says. "Contact lenses were extortionately expensive and unattainable in the UK other than through opticians. The industry was almost a monopoly. I pioneered the idea of direct sales of optical products to the consumer, starting with replacement contact lenses, through VisionDirect.co.uk."

Rygaard's initial £1,000 start-up funding came from four people - himself, his father, a long-term family friend, and "someone with industry knowledge" - and the company was split four ways. However, within six months he'd bought back all the shares.

Vision Direct gained huge publicity almost immediately, with reports in the Guardian, Independent, Daily Mail and Times, as well as coverage on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme and the BBC's 9 O'clock News. The commentary centred on the optometry profession's shock that the company was selling contact lenses online with no eye testing involved. Not only that - it was considering legal action.

Despite Rygaard's argument that the company would only supply contact lenses to customers who already had a prescription, and would send them reminders to have their eyes tested regularly, Vision Direct was successfully prosecuted by the General Optical Council in 1998. The company had to pay a fine of £50,000.

But this was not the end of Vision Direct. Consumer feedback and further press coverage revealed strong support for the company's services, with many people fed up with the high prices charged by opticians for contact lenses. Independent columnist Oliver James was unequivocal in his opinion:

"Until last week I have been an enthusiastic user of this wonderful service. But then, last Thursday, came the news that Vision Direct has been successfully prosecuted… On the technicality that because [they] leave it to the honesty of their public to declare whether they have had a test in the past year, the company was held to be failing to act responsibly. What gives the lie to this argument is the simple fact that in Denmark, Germany and several other nations, direct mail lenses have been acceptable for some time."

Indeed the fact that the service is perfectly legal in other European countries (as well as the United States) led to Rygaard moving the business to the Netherlands, from where it now operates, having grown from strength to strength since its controversial beginnings in the UK.

Rygaard is keen to share what he has learned about setting up and running a business with others who are starting out. "I learnt some truly harsh lessons," he says. "I would like to pass these on to all entrepreneurs that dream of starting a company. These are five gems that I have never forgotten on my journey."

So here are those gems, in Steffan Rygaard's own words:

Lesson 1:

Get funding of some sort because you need it for growth. Don't be naïve - if you start a company you will need to pay yourself.

Lesson 2:

Make sure your bank manager knows you well. You will need a bank to help alleviate the working capital facilities.

Lesson 3:

Do not hand over signing power. If you take on directors or anyone with authority, think very carefully about what they are allowed to do. 

Lesson 4:

When you employ your first members of staff, ensure you manage their expectations. Keep in regular contact with them and treat them as equals.

Lesson 5:

Check every invoice. There is nothing wrong with being tightfisted. Remember that you started with nothing, so don't give away too much.

And finally, Rygaard adds one more piece of advice: "Always try and find time to talk to people. There is always something you can learn."

Follow Visiondirect on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and our blog.

By Jens Håkanson on behalf of Steffan Rygaard

Media Contact: Gareth Woods, Visiondirect.co.uk, 0044-(0)8447454545, [email protected]

News distributed by PR Newswire iReach: https://ireach.prnewswire.com

SOURCE Visiondirect.co.uk

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
Traditional on-premises data centers have long been the domain of modern data platforms like Apache Hadoop, meaning companies who build their business on public cloud were challenged to run Big Data processing and analytics at scale. But recent advancements in Hadoop performance, security, and most importantly cloud-native integrations, are giving organizations the ability to truly gain value from all their data. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, David Tishgart, Director of Product Marketing ...
Join Impiger for their featured webinar: ‘Cloud Computing: A Roadmap to Modern Software Delivery’ on November 10, 2016, at 12:00 pm CST. Very few companies have not experienced some impact to their IT delivery due to the evolution of cloud computing. This webinar is not about deciding whether you should entertain moving some or all of your IT to the cloud, but rather, a detailed look under the hood to help IT professionals understand how cloud adoption has evolved and what trends will impact th...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and G...
When it comes to cloud computing, the ability to turn massive amounts of compute cores on and off on demand sounds attractive to IT staff, who need to manage peaks and valleys in user activity. With cloud bursting, the majority of the data can stay on premises while tapping into compute from public cloud providers, reducing risk and minimizing need to move large files. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Jeschonek, Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, discussed the IT and busin...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
"Qosmos has launched L7Viewer, a network traffic analysis tool, so it analyzes all the traffic between the virtual machine and the data center and the virtual machine and the external world," stated Sebastien Synold, Product Line Manager at Qosmos, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Fact: storage performance problems have only gotten more complicated, as applications not only have become largely virtualized, but also have moved to cloud-based infrastructures. Storage performance in virtualized environments isn’t just about IOPS anymore. Instead, you need to guarantee performance for individual VMs, helping applications maintain performance as the number of VMs continues to go up in real time. In his session at Cloud Expo, Dhiraj Sehgal, Product and Marketing at Tintri, sha...
As ridesharing competitors and enhanced services increase, notable changes are occurring in the transportation model. Despite the cost-effective means and flexibility of ridesharing, both drivers and users will need to be aware of the connected environment and how it will impact the ridesharing experience. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Timothy Evavold, Executive Director Automotive at Covisint, discussed key challenges and solutions to powering a ride sharing and/or multimodal model in the age ...