Dec McLaughlin of Dec McLaughlin Nutrition talks to us about the support he received from the Business & IP Centre at The Mitchell Library and why it was invaluable when developing his business.
Tell us a bit about your background
Recent graduate at the University of Edinburgh studying a Masters in Medicinal Chemistry. I’ve used a significant amount of my scientific background to help me in developing my nutrition business.
Marketing and Business Development Officer at BackHug based in Edinburgh. We’re a rapidly growing start-up providing robotic massage tables for use in offices, gyms and public spaces.
What inspired you to start your own business?
A couple of summers ago I was enjoying a weekend stay in Arran with my parents. They’d mentioned that they were keen to lose some weight over the next few months and had no prior experience. I’ve always been passionate about staying fit and healthy and naturally I took the opportunity to offer a hand and ensure that they didn’t fall foul of the typical dieting fads and restrictive approaches. It was a few months down the line when they had lost an incredible 25kg between them that I came to appreciate just how much of an impact I could make.
Over the same period, I had started a nutrition coaching certification out with my studies. One evening after taking a break from revising a Chemistry lecture, I started working on my nutrition course only to realise that upon looking at my lecture slides and the nutrition textbook there was no difference – it was pure BioChemistry. A few months later and Dec McLaughlin Nutrition was born.
Tell us more about your business
I’m a sole trader as it stands, working on all areas of the business in between the working hours of my recent role as well as during the final 2 years of my Masters degree. Due to the nature of my work, the business is relatively small in size, focusing primarily on a small number (4-5) of 1-2-1 clients who I will work with over long periods (typically 2-3 months+) as well as a series of nutrition workshops and events (including cooking classes on occasion!). The sector is Health, Wellbeing and Fitness which is no surprise and my main target market is busy professionals (40-55+) who are looking to simply enhance their current wellbeing with a simple, scientific and sustainable approach to nutrition.
Business & IP Centre Glasgow
How did you hear about BIPC @ The Mitchell?
I’ve grown up in the West End, having stayed a few minutes’ walk away in the Park Circus area, and have come to know The Mitchell very well. Having moved back to Glasgow over the summer of 2018, I found that I needed to find a comfortable environment in which to work on the business as opposed to coffee shops or my bedroom! One day whilst working, I came across a large banner when entering the library, and with a quick Google search the rest was history.
What steps did you take to get involved with the BIPC?
I had previously met a few members of a local start-up group who meet in city centre locations to work as a small collective. One of the members introduced me to one of the BIPC members of staff and I quickly booked an induction for the day after.
What resources have you used at BIPC?
The service I made best use of was Mint UK where I was able to search the extensive database in order to find potential contacts, especially in the corporate space where I could start work on discovering ways to add value from a health/fitness perspective. I also gained significant value from the Business Industry Guidelines, allowing me to ensure that the work I was doing on the business matched existing standards
Have you attended any events or one-to-ones at BIPC?
I booked a one-on-one session relatively early on to ensure that I could ask the burning questions I had about my own business as well as to get advice on many areas from marketing to finance. I was also lucky enough to come across a series of excellent workshops from the Google Garage team.
How did BIPC help you grow your business?
Working at the Mitchell and getting the support I did came at a crucial time in my business development, especially in ensuring that I was on the right track with my marketing and client acquisition as I was transitioning from 1-2-1 coaching into more of a corporate focus with workshops and workplace wellbeing packages.
What have you achieved by using the BIPC?
I made a significant number of valuable relationships, not least with fellow small business owners who I was able to offer nutrition support in return for photography packages as well as website building expertise. I also acquired a significant array of new skills from digital marketing to branding as well as communication in a corporate context.
What are your business goals for the next 2 years?
I’m working tirelessly towards gathering a small group of 1-2-1 clients who I can work with for significant stretches of time (6-12 months+) allowing me to free up more time to expand my reach through workshops and cooking classes. I’m aiming to achieve a monthly revenue in excess of £5000 as well as establishing myself as Scotland’s go to ‘Nutrition Guy’ for small business owners and start-ups. I would also love to release a product range of healthy snacks, especially for us busy business owners often jumping between meetings!
What would you say to someone who is thinking about starting their own business but doesn’t know where to begin?
As cliché as it is, just starting is immensely powerful. I’ve just returned from a 6-week trip to Zambia during which I had the chance to complete my first (and maybe last) ever bungee jump. Similar to being stood on the edge dreading the next move, there’s nothing more powerful than the mantra of ‘hurry up and fail’. As strange as it sounds, it’s been a massive help for me as it removes any pressure or focus on getting things right and allows you to build positive momentum which is the name of the game.
Find out more about Dec McLaughlin Nutrition at https://www.decmclaughlinnutrition.co.uk/