What it takes to start your own business: Piers Bambridge on creating a career you love
Piers Bambridge, founder of Edinburgh based entrepreneurial firm Pike + Bambridge, reveals how great people, hard work and passion for change brought his vision to life.
1. What prompted you to start your own business?
As with all good business ideas, Pike + Bambridge began with a simple goal - how could we improve the experience of acquiring a new vehicle. We felt like there was a gap in the market in terms of providing an educated, informed service to individuals and businesses buying vehicles. So, in July 2012 we set out to change the way people and small businesses buy and lease cars.
2. What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
Setting up with very little capital, no customers and no suppliers was our biggest challenge! In the end, the business was funded with the savings from the two partners, myself and Nathan Pike. We had to learn fast - there is much more to running a business than looking after customers. We also compete in an industry that does not yet have the regulatory control that it should, which is frustrating.
3. What are the most important lessons you've learned?
Its been a learning experience, interacting with the motor industry. It has so many idiosyncrasies, which make it sometimes a challenge to deliver the type of service we are committed to. We began our learning with the most important resource to any business, and that's people. The more people we spoke to, the more difficult this industry of ours seemed; whether it was the complexity of financial agreements, overwhelming and confusing sales pitches or, simply, being ignored whilst in vehicle showrooms.
This fuelled our desire to become the most qualified team we could be, becoming experts in finance, HMRC tax guidelines, and analysing small businesses in order to deliver the best service possible. And most importantly, we continue to listen. At Pike + Bambridge, we believe that good business is built on great foundations. It relies on trust, built over time, culminating in a solid working relationship.
4. What are the future plans for your business?
Consolidation in the Scottish market is key for us, as well as expanding our offering to professional services firms in the shape of cash allowance employee benefit schemes, and directors/ partners car schemes.
We may supply vehicles, but our methods are more in line with a professional services firm; expert, ethical, advisory. After all, car buying is often one of the biggest expenditures you, or your business, will make. We have a team of listeners, as well as experts, committed to helping our customers make the most informed decisions, no mean feat considering we supply vehicles from over fifty-six car manufacturers.
Now, as we did at the very beginning, we look ahead to the future, and to evolving the way that people buy cars.
5. What advice would you give to anyone wanting to set up their own business?
Surround yourself with great people, and invest in great quality advisors. For us, accountants are our best introducers and we spoke to Brian Hay Smith at Mazars, who continues to be a great help, as well as Kevin McGlone at Brodies, who has been a great advocate for what we do. Friends and family have also been a huge help. We’ve recruited a great team, who go above and beyond for our clients.
Discover more car expertise from Pike + Bambridge
About: Pike + Bambridge
At Pike+Bambridge we are passionate about our purpose; to change the way people and small businesses buy and lease cars. We have a commitment to a better car-buying experience and our growing team of experts continue to offer a personal service, as standard.
This blog is one of a series of articles from our commercial partners.
The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of ICAS.