Starting a new venture is an exciting, hectic time. A time when getting the right systems in place can be the difference between soaring and struggling. So when Tim Wright bought Unleashed for his new medical equipment venture, Aspiration Life, we asked him to blog on his experiences.
Here’s part one, on how setting up Aspiration Life for its March launch has gone — and why Tim decided to get inventory right from day zero.
When this blog goes live, Aspiration Life will have just started trading. It’s been a long journey to get this far.
My business partner and I built a medical equipment manufacturing business together from scratch and ran it for over 15 years. With Aspiration Life, we wanted to start something new — and incorporate everything we learned from our previous venture.
Moving away from manufacturing
There’s a need for affordable care products in the UK: for care homes, the NHS and individuals.
More and more people are going to rely on social healthcare in the coming years — care homes are just getting too expensive. Our products give people who can’t afford care homes independence. We help them live comfortably, without needing to rely on anyone to open food, get to the shops or get to the bathroom. And we provide care homes and the NHS with an affordable, reliable supply of crucial products too.
Making those products in-house requires a significant investment. You need to pay for equipment, then pay again to train staff to use it. And you have to manage downtime. If someone’s off sick — or leaves for another role — then you’re losing money.
So with Aspiration Life, we’re sticking to distribution. There are some incredible global manufacturers out there, making some top-quality products. We can bring those products to a wide variety of customers in the UK. That includes the NHS, care homes and any individual who needs care.
When we started putting things into place for Aspiration Life earlier in the year, I knew everything needed to be web-based.
We sell a range of different solutions: walking aids, rollators, trolleys, shower stools and more. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to get the help they need, so everything will be available online via Shopify.
At our previous company, we used Sage 50 and Sage 200 manufacturing. We invested a small fortune into servers and hardware, and I didn’t want to go through that again. You pay so much, for tech that will probably soon be out of date.
With Unleashed, everything is in the cloud. And the managed integrations mean that orders move from our website into Unleashed automatically — with the relevant information syncing to our accounting solution, Quickbooks Online.
The ability to control our inventory from anywhere is also hugely important. We’ve been over in China as we get the business up and running. Being able to make those trips without losing access to our systems has been invaluable.
Despite not trading until this year, we’ve been playing around with Unleashed for a few months. It’s allowed us to test everything out properly: the integrations, Bills of Materials, CRM.
I ran Sage for our last company, so I’m very familiar with those systems. One great thing about Unleashed is how easily I’ve been able to get to grips with inventory control functionality — it’s different to Sage, but I’ve been impressed by the flexibility.
I did a lot of research on inventory systems, with Cin7 and Unleashed coming out as the two leading options. Cin7 wasn’t as user friendly if I’m honest. I struggled with it, whereas Unleashed was much easier to understand from the outset.
As our sales and purchases gear up, that ease of use should prove invaluable. 2020 is going to be a big year for Aspiration Life, and we’re confident knowing that we have the systems in place to deal with it.
We’ll check back in with Tim later in the year to see how Aspiration Life’s first few months of trading with Unleashed have gone. In the meantime, take a look at how Lazer Lamps built a €10 million turnover manufacturing business with cloud inventory management.