Getting The Right Flow for Business Success
We talk new beginnings, break-through moments and European domination with entrepreneurs and LEO clients, Kevin Egan and David Forde, as they show us around Water2Buy Limited.
Facts at A Glance
Local Enterprise Office Supports
Kevin Egan & David Forde
Making water filtration easy
Mentoring, employment and web development grants
Blanchardstown Dublin 15
Water2Buy Limited is a start-up, ecommerce business which have developed water treatment products for domestic use that are easy to install. Founded in 2014 by Kevin Egan and David Forde, the company now employs five people in its premises in North County Dublin. They were recent finalists in the Fingal Local Enterprise Office Awards and have over 50 different products and customers in 22 countries including Germany, France, Spain and Poland. The company’s website is Water2Buy.ie To see the Water2Buy story, watch the video highlights here.
Kevin, tell us about your business and how it all got started?
Water2Buy design, manufacture and sell water filtration systems for the domestic market. We are an ecommerce business and we are currently selling in 22 different countries.
David and I have known each other through business for years and we saw the opportunity to start an ecommerce business that brought together David’s background in water filtration and mine in web design. We officially launched the business in 2014, but of course, before that there was plenty of ground work in terms of developing the product, the brand, manufacturing, supply chain and securing those initial sales to prove that the whole system worked.
What were some of the challenges you encountered in the early days of your business?
The early days are very exciting because there’s always something new going on. From getting new product stock, creating logos, launching the website, getting our first sales, it’s all wins, it’s all high points. One of the key challenges we faced was taking a business that is based in English and translating it to different countries with different languages.
We designed our products to be as easy as possible for the end user to install and so customers with no previous experience or specialised tools, can install the devices easily in their own homes. This meant that the instructions we supplied had to designed to be really easy to follow and then we needed to get them translated into different European languages.
We are continually working on simplifying these instructions and we are now at the stage where we have removed the need for text and translation completely and we now use simple images to indicate the steps involved.
What are the challenges that are particular to running an e-commerce business?
Running an e-commerce business is quite a simple business model to run. Once you get your product and pricing right and build trust in your brand, it is possible to reach a large market. We use established market places, like Ebay and Amazon, as well as out our website to reach our customers which means that our products are visible to customers when they are making the decision to purchase.
What was your big ‘break-through’ moment?
Our big break through moment came when we started to sell products in Germany. We had already secured sales in Ireland and in the UK, so we knew our product and concept worked. The next step was to launch the products in Germany. We quickly started to receive orders and when we achieved €50k worth of sales in just three months from Germany, we knew we had a model that we could replicate all across Europe.
Your Local Enterprise Office (LEO) has supported your business. Tell us about these supports and what impact they have had?
Our Local Enterprise Office in Fingal is great for providing peer support. They want to see you do well and to help you succeed. We were also approved for employment and web development grants and we took part in the LEO Enterprise Office awards and became finalists. It was great to get external feedback for the team and it showed us that our efforts to build a great business were being recognised.
What’s next on the business agenda for your company?
To have another break-through moment! Our current turnover is €1.5 million and our goal is to increase this to €5million over the next three years. We are launching our own, new marketplace shortly which we’ve developed to take our company to the next level. This will provide customers with a one-stop shop for water filtration products and it will bring us closer to achieving our mission to be the number one supplier of water filtration products in Europe.
What’s the best piece of advice you got about running a business?
Do it, enjoy it and be fearless!
Water2Buy’s Top Tips for Business
Top Tips around keeping on top of costs and cash flow…..
“Build a cost stack. Use a spreadsheet to add up every cost associated with selling your product. Use estimates if you have to. Take the cost price, add the cost to market it, your overheads, vat, delivery costs and a profit margin. You end up with the price you need to sell at to make a profit. If, when you compare this price to what other products are on sale, you will quickly realise if your prices are viable to make a sustainable business. This exercise is a great exercise for understanding your business and your margins.”
Top Tips around getting the best out of your team…..
“Every other business is competing with yours for talent. You need to properly reward your team for their contributions. Measure productivity, measure what a team member contributes to the bottom line give them the opportunity to get rewards. If you can establish a connection between a team getting rewarded and profit, then you will win. Invest in your team, grow them and keep them, it’s far easier than having constant churn. “
To see Water2Buy story watch the video highlights here: