Will King:”The nature of competition and breaking into markets”

Will King, CEO of King of Shaves came to Marlborough on the 31st of January to provide us with an insight into his business and how other successful business’ work. At university he studied engineering, a common course for entrepreneurs as he pointed out that the CEO’s of Facebook, Microsoft and Apple all studied some form of engineering. A few years later he used his engineering skills to create a shaving oil, which no other firms had ever done before.

Beginning the talk with the question, “why do things happen?”, he stated that every successful business that we see around us today has a very good reason to be there. Using Apple and the ipod in particular he stressed the importance of having a unique selling point (USP) or else your business will not grow and never get out of the “valley of death” as he put it. The reason he gave for having a very good USP being even more important than ever is because of the internet and the speed at which information can be shared, making it very easy for people to copy you. However if you have a good USP then the internet will become a tool to expand the business to scale much faster than it was possible before. He used an example of the eye of a storm being calm and peaceful compared to everything around it being hectic and destructive and explained how this was what it is like for the business’ that have reached scale and are at the very top. “Once you are in the eye, you can define everything around you”, and he mentioned business’ such as SKY and Apple as those business that we enjoying life at the top.

Moving on to his business he talked about the development and rise of the King of Shaves brand. The King of Shaves wow factor, as he put it, was the oil based shaving liquid. He passed across the message that to start up a business you must believe in the product that you wish to sell and his passion for his products was clear to see. He bottled 10,000 of the first units as he couldn’t afford the costs and made a loss of £100,000 in the first 5 years. Because of his belief and a good product the business started turning over serious profits. Out of 40000 products sold each week there are as few as 20 complaints because the product was so good. Breaking into a market that was previously dominated by Gillette was no small task and one of the other must haves is good publicity. He used the likes of Andy Murray and Rodger Federer to post pictures online. The King of Shaves business spend a fraction of the money that Gillette spends every year because of the drive and skill he had and because he was able to get the word out about his business using the internet. He decided to sponsor a British athlete in the hope that he performs in the Olympic games this year.

He used the acronym SPACE to give us 5 key things to understand for business success:

S- Satisfaction of success
P- Passion and persistence
A-Attitude and Action
C- Confidence, commonsense and community
E- Enthuse and Enjoy

The talk was hugely inspiring as he was clearly very passionate about his product and business and he encouraged us all to “be the best that we can be”. This insight into an intriguing business world was hugely beneficial to all of us and we would like to thank him very much for taking the time to speak to us.

Jeremy Fisher (BH U6)

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