For the third year running, Yell is a major sponsor of BusinessZone.co.uk’s The Pitch, Britain’s biggest small business competition, which supports and celebrates small businesses from start-up to success. This year has seen finalists chosen from 4 regional events in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Over the next month we’re going to introduce you to those finalists, starting with Ross Dickinson, Owner/ Director of Emerald Plumbing & Heating and MD of Kibosh Ltd, to discuss his win in the Scottish heat, with his unique Kibosh pipe repair tool.
For any of our readers who aren’t aware of you, can you give us an intro to the business?
I am Ross Dickinson. I have invented a product called Kibosh™ which is a unique, instant and simple temporary repair for ruptured or burst water pipes. It requires no tools or training and can allow the pipe to be kept in use till a plumber can make a permanent repair. It can even be applied when water is still gushing out of the burst or rupture. In my everyday work and especially in the winter, I needed a product like this, but there was nothing on the market, so in December 2007 I had my eureka moment.
Check out the Kibosh demo videos on YouTube.
Where can we find you, and why did you choose to set up shop where you did? What attracted you to that area?
I am based in Walkerburn in the Scottish Borders and have always lived here. The Kibosh is being made by Cademuir Toolmaking in Selkirk, also in the Scottish Borders. I would like to see the manufacture and business staying in the local area and UK as much as possible.
Kibosh can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.
What inspired you to start your business?
I already own and run a successful plumbing business which employs two people. I enjoy being my own boss and when the Kibosh project started I found I had the energy and drive to see it through. I have learnt so much over the past few years and there have been many challenges. The emergency pipe repair will be the first of a family of products in the Kibosh brand and I look forward to building a good strong company and hopefully becoming a global brand.
What’s your philosophy in a nutshell? What would you say makes you stand out from the crowd?
I’m just a normal guy/ plumber who likes to succeed and see others succeed. Treat others as you would expect to be treated yourself!
Can you explain how your business works and what differentiates it from your competitors’ in the industry?
Being a plumber I see at first hand the scenarios people find themselves in, particularly the vulnerable and elderly. Some people are left without heating or water for up to a week and in commercial situations this can lead to reduced or loss of production and financial loss. Plumbers call out fees can be reduced or eliminated too. A Kibosh can be fitted instantly requiring no tools in the middle of the night or on Christmas Day by the home owner and the plumber can call to repair at a more convenient time leaving the pipe in use. On the flip side the plumber can fit a Kibosh and return when more convenient, especially in situations where water cannot be turned off. It is simple enough for unskilled people to use and trustworthy and attractive enough for professionals!
Do you have a signature product/specialism you could tell us about?
The Kibosh Emergency Pipe Repair is the signature product but other products will follow bearing the Kibosh branding. Mainly other inventions so watch this space. They will all be simple to use and mainly in keeping with the no tools idea!
What would you say is the secret to a successful independent business? What advice would you give to someone looking to follow in your shoes?
You have to work very hard because no one will do it for you. Go with your gut feeling and google people you meet ( Be diligent! ) You have to take some risks and don’t be scared to delegate or you’ll burn yourself out!
Can you share a few of your favourite local, independent businesses with us?
I have been very lucky to acquire a good team of people in my journey. They are all in external companies, very good at what they do and really want to see Kibosh succeed which is very important!
My accountant and Kibosh secretary Karen Graham and Rhiannon Barton, both from Braidwood Graham CA
My Lawyer, Craig Stirling. Partner with Davidson Chalmers LLP
Colin McMillan, Cademuir Toolmaking
Norma Corlette (My Mentor) Educator, Board Director, Entrepreneur
Angela Neal, Angela Neal Media
Alan Milne, designer at Lemon Digital Design
Dr Stephen Blake, Gordon Stark from Murgitroyd Patent Attorneys
Richie Connor and John Harkins from Scottish Enterprise
Lorna Watson at Borders Business Gateway
How does it feel to have won your heat of The Pitch?
It feels great to have won the Scottish pitch finals. It is such a great prestigious competition to get this far in. If I can win in London the timing couldn’t be better for me as we will be launching then too which would be amazing!
Are you confident about the final?
There will be a lot of pressure because it means so much and the benefits of the prize package are invaluable. If I can deliver the content well I will know I’ve given it my best shot. It is a great strong product but it’s up to me to “Pitch” it well!
If you could give one piece of advice for an Entrepreneur considering entering next year’s Pitch competition, what would it be?
It is a great competition to enter because you learn a lot about the business. The judges are top of their game and very successful so you make yourself ready for the questions learning on the way. It is good for public speaking confidence and experience too. It was a great networking benefit too on the night and I made good connections. Running your own business and being an entrepreneur, it benefits you talking and connecting to like-minded people and that is what The Pitch is all about. People who like business and want businesses to grow. It would be a benefit even being in the audience at one of the competitions!
Finally, following The Pitch, what can we expect from you in 2011/2012? Anything our readers should be looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to the launch. It’ll be a great feeling seeing the Kibosh in the shops. My local University and College are looking into prototyping Kibosh work wear as the branding is very well received so watch out for that next year. I believe Kibosh will be a successful brand with a great range of products and feel very positive about the future. Hopefully it will be a good boost for the economy which will be good for everyone.
The Pitch 2011 final is on 18th November, you can buy tickets for £20.
The four region finalists will be joined by a fifth, chosen by live public vote for the Wildcard Award - Voting ends 6th November.
The overall champion will win a package of business products and services worth £50,000, we wish them all good luck!