Real business story

Success doesn’t have to be defined solely by your sales

The path to being successful in business isn’t linear and a company owner’s definition of success will evolve over time.
Dhruvin Patel – Ocushield

Dhruvin Patel firmly believes in finding employees that buy into your company’s culture and mission

Evaluating targets regularly, having an end goal and being prepared to sacrifice some level of financial performance for success in other areas can help you on your way.

Securing your first orders

When Dhruvin Patel founded Ocushield in 2015, his plan was to create a solution to limit exposure to the harmful blue light emitted from smartphone and laptop screens.

“Success when starting a business is acutely concerned with what you’re trying to create. So for me, initially, it was about making a product and going from design and development to having it ready for mass manufacturing,” said Dhruvin.

“And I had to make sure I had a thousand customers that were willing to pay for the product, because if you’ve got no one that will buy it, what you’re making is effectively redundant.”

"As great as it is listening to the likes of Richard Branson, their advice doesn’t immediately help you when you’re starting out, because of the disparity of their experiences."

Dhruvin Patel, founder, Ocushield

Sacrifice financial performance

Earlier this year, Ocushield secured American telecommunications giant Verizon as a stockist and its products are already available via the electronics retailer Best Buy.

“Naturally, once you’ve developed your business, you measure the value you’re creating by the amount of customers you acquire,” said Dhruvin, adding that his definition of what it means to be successful has definitely become more sales-focused over time.

Still, Dhruvin argues he’d be happy to sacrifice some short-term financial figures if it meant success in other areas of business. One being deeper penetration within the direct-to-consumer (D2C) market and acquiring more customers outside of big, retail partnerships over the long term.

Another area is building a successful, incentivised and fuelled team – Dhruvin believes that you need to have employees that buy into your company’s culture and mission. You shouldn’t have your team working like robots, whose sole focus is trying to raise the top line.

Don’t lose focus

Looking ahead, the plan for Ocushield is to more than double its workforce to 25 employees within the next three to five years, and have a global market share across D2C and retail channels.

According to Dhruvin, both having an end goal and regularly reviewing your key performance indicators (KPIs) along the way can help keep your definition of success in check.

For example, keeping a tab on sales figures can shed light on whether your marketing, distribution, brand and customer service strategies are having an incremental impact, or whether they need updating every three or six months.

While it’s also important to be ambitious with your grand vision, you shouldn’t necessarily use established entrepreneurs and renowned business owners as a benchmark for how to be successful.

“Find someone who’s maybe 12 to 18 months ahead of you. As great as it is listening to the likes of Richard Branson, their advice doesn’t immediately help you when you’re starting out, because of the disparity of their experiences. You need someone who’s recently been in your position and can provide you with some actionable guidance,” Dhruvin said.

  • location: London
  • business size: 1-9 People
  • business type: Health & care services

Top three takeaways

As great as it is to increase the top line, consider other areas of the company that need to be successful, such as company culture.

Plan what you want to achieve in the next three to five years and focus on that.

Comparing your journey to those of established entrepreneurs can skew your definition of success. Someone who’s only slightly ahead of you on the business journey can provide you with reassuring advice.