How I Launched the UK’s Largest Loyalty Card Business

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My VIP Card Limited
Team Size

3 FT employees, 24 franchisees

Revenue

7k per month on average

Location

UK Wide

STart Date

Dec 2017

Joining us today is amazing Maddy Alexander-Grout, the founder of the UK’s largest loyalty card business My VIP Card

My VIP Card helps people save money when they shop locally and supports the UK’s local areas with over 4500 discounts, cashbacks and vouchers. 

Since starting in December 2017 Maddy has built a recognizable brand and has launched 24 franchises so far. Read on below to find out more about Maddy’s journey.

Maddy Alexander-Grout

INTRODUCTION

PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND THE BUSINESS YOU STARTED.

I started the business purely by accident! I suffered from a crippling mental health condition after the birth of my first child, I wanted to create something that helped mums to get out of the house and connect with their community and get support. I created a parenting forum and found that the more we went out the better we felt.

I started to speak more to local businesses and realized they needed help too and My VIP Card seemed like something that would help everyone. It started as a hobby, 3 years later we have won 13 awards, been featured in the national press, and have 24 franchisees!

WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE AND HOW DO YOU STAY PRODUCTIVE?

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I block out my time, I have set times for meetings and set times for sales, admin etc. I also without fail have an afternoon nap! It keeps me sane and gives me a bit of me-time.

THE JOURNEY SO FAR

PLEASE DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF LAUNCHING YOUR BUSINESS.

I totally started the My VIP Card from scratch on a shoestring. I used small local businesses for all of my design, website and production needs! And negotiated discounts with them and added them to the card as I went along.

The VIP in MY VIP Card actually stands for very important parents, it is about looking after yourself financially,  and putting yourself first occasionally! 

We only recently hired staff, but we will be aiming to hire more in 2021, we have also just taken on investors, exciting times! 

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT AND YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE SINCE YOU STARTED YOUR BUSINESS?

My two biggest achievements to date were being selected as one of the small business Saturday #smallbiz100 this year, and winning the entrepreneurial spirit award at the great British entrepreneur awards a few weeks ago.

We have had tons of challenges over the years, people copying our business model, flattering but annoying at times, cash flow, tech difficulties, botched website and of course pregnancy! That was tough but I decided not to take maternity leave so the business didn’t suffer! Hardcore! But glad I did it! I had a very well networked baby! 

WHAT STRATEGY DID YOU USE TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS? AND HOW?

We are rolling out My VIP Card in every major city in the UK, so we are looking for new franchisees, our model is very affordable with some great earning potential for the right people, we are currently completely redeveloping our website and app, and launching some new products to the market next year.

WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF BUSINESS?

We aim to be in every city in the UK by the end of 2021, we want to be a household name and have cards in every household helping people to save money when they shop local and support their community. We will need more support as we grow! So definitely looking at taking on more staff.

RECOMMENDATIONS & FINAL THOUGHTS

ARE THERE ANY RESOURCES OR TOOLS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHERS THAT HAVE HELPED YOU RUN YOUR BUSINESS?

I am currently reading Boss It by Carl Reader, definitely recommend for any business owner.

WHAT OR WHO HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST INFLUENCE IN BUSINESS AND WHY?

I love Sara Davies. She is a really successful entrepreneur, mum and has an amazing business! I think she would be lovely to meet in person, hoping one day I can! Also Holly Tucker from not on the high street. That woman is a legend, and she swears just as much as I do!

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER WOMEN WHO WANT TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS?

Do one thing every day to push your business forward. It doesn’t matter how big or how small, it all adds up, and keeps you motivated.

Be present, say yes! Do as many things to get in front of your ideal clients as you can. But make sure you know who your ideal client is!

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?

If you think about running a business, it’s super liberating! It is hard work and stressful but I love that I run my business around my kids and that I am doing something I love! If you don’t love what you do then don’t do it!

Violeta Semenova

Violeta Semenova
Founder
theBizLadies

Welcome to the Biz Ladies interview series!

If you’re new to these series, I interview women entrepreneurs on how they started their business, what was the idea behind it, how they got where they are, the struggles, the reality and more.

By sharing their stories, we want to inspire other women to get started.

If you are interested to share your own story on the Biz Ladies LET ME KNOW!