Julian Haste

Enterprise success stories

Julian Haste

  • Degree: German with Italian
  • Graduated: 1997

What is your business all about?

Global market research supporting researchers in 2 main ways.

  1. To help with new business development, generating leads, meetings and quotes. Essentially we are simply introducing and recommending them to their future customers.
  2. We help source best quotes and solutions globally for researchers, covering all methodologies, being able to target healthcare professionals, patients, consumers and B2B respondents to help answer surveys.

What is your business’s unique selling point? What is your main form of advertising? Who are your main competitors?

We are independent and first sales support agency specialising in our industry and there really is no reason why you wouldn’t want to be working with us in some form or another. Main form of advertising is website, word of mouth and PR news.

Where did your idea come from? What is the start-up story behind your business?

The idea came from having worked within the industry for 15 years and getting frustrated by lack of service. I spoke to some potential clients to check what they thought and everyone was positive and helped me to take the leap of faith. You have to just give these things a shot. I had been thinking about it for years and years and there really isn’t any best time to start but now and start talking to people about your idea and shaping it and when you feel ready, you really just have to launch but you will be doing it already anyway so the decision should be easy.

If you started your business whilst at University, juggling your academic studies with your new business as well as still having a social life must have been a challenge. How did you accommodate the three and what did an average day, if you had one, looked like for you?

I didn’t but it is a good idea to start something, especially selling something online as this gives you good experience.

What things helped you learn how to run a new business? Has there been anything or anyone in particular that has helped you along the way?

Reading plenty of business books always helps and being a student of business and reading articles online too. I just always want to keep learning so it is all about having a healthy appetite for learning. Learn from other peoples mistakes and you might make less. Other business owners are helpful and the right networking groups too as well as your best friends and your family too. You need as much support as you can get.

What support have you received from the University? Were there any particular curricular or extra-curricular activities that were instrumental in you and your business development?

None but I wishes I had also read Business! People skills is always important and I was always a member of clubs and played sport.

What do you think has been your key to success so far?

Attitude and 'will not fail' temperament are keys to success. Being able to decide quickly and get on with it. Do not procrastinate!! If it works great, if it doesn’t just get on and do it differently until it does. Constantly reshaping and refining your business to what your customer wants is key.

Have you made any mistakes along the way? Is so, what have you learnt from these? And further, if you could go back in time, are there any things that you would change or would do differently?

Yes, one isn’t human without making mistakes. Main thing is about trust. Always get things in writing and contracts in place.

Yes, I would have definitely read Business at Exeter as this is useful to understand law, tax, contracts and business terms.

What can we look forward to in terms of your business? Have you got any future plans for it?

Yes, being at the forefront of the global market research industry we constantly look to develop and add things. We are for example developing our own online communities and online panels, probably patients and B2B panellists to begin with. In fact if the University if interested I would be happy to talk about helping you to have access to your own online B2B panel for example.

What advice do you have for University of Exeter students who are looking to start their own business?

Depending on what it is, it is always best to work in that marketplace or work for a couple of years to get some inside experience and also to build up a network of contacts who will also be useful to you once you have set up. You will find building a network is the most important thing you can do and you will have to also be selling every day too and think twice before setting up with someone else. It is best if you do it self. Normally people go into business together as they lack the confidence. Be bold and go for it.