Vivi Nation: a year on

Following the milestone of our first birthday in August, we reflect on our first year.

Since we began our Vivi Nation journey, it is fair to say that much has changed. First and foremost, we are still alive. Not only are we alive, we are thriving, and have recently announced the launch of our first sports challenge event; Run with Vivi in April next year.

Since becoming a limited company, we have added another member of staff, Tom Foster, to our team, as well as launched our first range of cycling and running kits, taken part in our first couple of cycling tours, and garnered a growing following on our blog and social media channels.

As issues such as obesity continue to rise, the need for an active and healthy lifestyle will increase. We feel that this can best be achieved by pushing the human body to its maximum. Greatness is not just about reaching your goals, but demolishing them, and everyone has greatness in them.

It is fair to say that our objectives and mission have changed slightly since we began. When we started, our goal was to inspire participation in sport, period. We swiftly realised that the scope of this was far too big, so have honed our approach and messaging to focus primarily on running and cycling. We genuinely care about our customers, we want people to live long and healthy lives, and truly believe in the power of sport and exercise, both physically and mentally.

So what have we learnt?

Start small and excel in the basics. Our short term goal was ambitious to say the least, and we just didn’t have the resources to do it. Having a clear vision for the future is important, and after some intense planning meetings, a lot of coffee, and ‘market research’ (which essentially involved partaking in cycling and running), we have become a specialist in a very niche area. Change was, of course, inevitable on our journey, but a clear vision from day one helped us create the viable and realistic business we wanted.

Ensuring that you have a fully functional website; I can’t begin to explain the problem we have had with our website, having opted for a budget approach during our formation phase. What we were left with was a website developer who completely failed to grasp the meaning behind Vivi, and a website that wasn’t at all operational. Eventually, we found ourselves another person and now manage our own site in-house, giving us far more control.

Stay in control of finances. Fortunately, we have a very on-the-ball finance person, Michelle, who keeps everything in check. From meeting other start-up entrepreneurs, I know that finances can often spiral out of control and become an earthquake for new businesses. As well as financial skills, marketing is essential to get a business to market. We quickly established a blog which continues to grow in readership every month, and offers customers useful insights, tips and generates the core of our social media content.

Our team is a close knit bunch. Myself (Vivi founder with debatable marketing/PR/content skills and an amateur triathlete), Tom Verghese (our in-house doctor and sports enthusiast), Michelle Fox (our operations and product development specialist) and our latest addition, Tom Foster (our sports management grad, cycling keeno and personal trainer) make a great team covering a wide variety of core skills. We are a team that believes in our brand and fully supports the entire ethos behind Vivi, which in Latin means alive.

Ultimately, we are doing something we are passionate about, working with like-minded people. Our end goal remains the same, we want to have a recognised portfolio of sport events, and be a go-to company for cycling, running and fitness topics, cycle tours and active apparel. There have certainly been moments of stress and clashes in direction, however we have loved doing something we believe in, helping to make a difference.

This time next year I hope to be writing about our next phase of business growth. We will have completed our first couple of sport events, and the aim will be to grow the team and product line, whilst expanding in the cycling and running sector. Cycling tours, in particular, are a key focus for us in the future. Having recently cycled the Netherlands, Belgium and Northern France we know exactly what it takes to deliver a seamless package to our customers, and this is something we are keen to grow moving forward.

Thank you to everyone that has supported us in whatever form: whether you have worn a Vivi Nation cycle jersey, visited our blog or interacted with us on social media, you are the lifeblood of our business.

If you like the sound of what we do, then check out our website at www.vivination.co.uk or get in touch via our social channels or at [email protected].

Chris Smith
Founder of Vivi Nation, sports enthusiast, occasional triathlete, keen cyclist and optimistic Liverpool FC fan.

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