The 3am lightbulb moment that lead to the creation of a business

Malcolm Sloan shares his 3am lightbulb moment that led to the creation and launch of Sports Injury Fix...

Who knew that some of your best ideas would come to you at 3am, sat on the sofa with a screaming newborn – surprisingly it proved to be extremely good thinking time.

Having moved location a lot over the years I could count hours that I have wasted trying to find a physio that truly understood my sport, triathlon, rather than looking at me like I was mad and telling me to stop. During my search I started to learn about other professions that could also help such as Osteopaths and Sports Therapist etc. I quickly learned that it was as much about the person and what they specialised in as their profession.

From this, an idea came to me - wouldn’t it be great to have them all in one place, explain the differences between the professions and let you search by expertise in your sport and/or injury?

This is where Sports Injury Fix was born! It wasn’t long before I bought the URL and found someone that helped me create a website which allowed me to test whether there was a market for my business idea.

We’re now 18 months into our journey (and have welcomed another baby). Sports Injury Fix has over 1,290 businesses listed comprising of over 1,900 therapists who have signed up offering vast expertise. The feedback we have received from people has been incredible which in turn has provided us with lots of insight and enabled us to shape the website to maximise its help reach its potential.

What have I personally learned in my journey an entrepreneur?

Getting insight and feedback from your customers is key. I no longer fear feedback, instead embrace it and use it to develop my business into something my customers want. I’ve maintained a full-time job throughout the creation and growth of Sports Injury Fix which highlighted to me the importance of having help and support from others around you.

Today the business grows from strength to strength. We are continuously increasing our numbers and have a monthly column with Men’s Running UK Magazine. We are also running 'the treatment room’ at the National Running Show with several our members. Sports Injury Fix have been nominated and shortlisted as finalists in the Wales Federation of Small Businesses Digital Business of the Year, Sir Michael Moritz Start of the Year, Cardiff Business Awards Innovation Business of the Year and the Wales Start Up Awards Technology Start Up of the Year awards.

What advice would I give my former self?

If I could travel back in time to day one of my entrepreneurial journey and have 15mins with my former self I would reassure myself that parenting gets easier with time, enjoy the moment and relax! I’d also tell myself to stop worrying, instead channel that into something positive and take action.

More than ever we are encouraged to ‘fail fast, fail cheap’ and learn from your failures. The sooner you start talking to people and doing your market research the sooner you learn whether you have a business people want. This also allows you to pivot your original idea to have greater appeal and be something your customers would like better.

To finish, I would also remind my former self that not everybody is your customer and is going to understand what you are trying to achieve so don’t be disheartened, understand the context of their comments, and remain focussed.