The Heart of Bucks ‘Inspiring Buckinghamshire’ series gives local people from a range of sectors a chance to share their knowledge and insights to help inspire others.
Here we are speaking with Nick Coleman, Founder of Snaffling Pig & Co-Founder of Startup Logistics and Medical Supermarket
Tell us about yourself and your connection to Buckinghamshire
Originally from Essex, one afternoon some friends and I were canoeing through Marlow and the surrounding areas, and we just fell in love with the place. My wife and I moved here soon after, and we now have a son, Jack, who is three years old. 12 years ago, I co-founded Medical Supermarket with my business partner, Udhi Silva. We also founded the company Snaffling Pig together. During the lockdown, we started a company called Startup Logistics (storage and logistics) and Bounce Buddy (bouncy castle hires). All these companies are based in Bucks, which has been a great home to us.
What personal achievements are you most proud of?
Having a son! He was born right here in Bucks at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. When I was younger, I thought starting a business was the best way to make money, but you then realise you have more stress, less time and less money! Then when you have a child, you become so much less concerned with that side of life and much more concerned with giving your child the best life possible. I have been lucky enough to receive business awards, like the GB Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019 for Food & Drink, and many Bucks Business First awards over the years, but nothing beats kicking a football in the garden with my little boy! Having a child puts everything in perspective, and is certainly what I am most proud of.
What are some of the challenges you have faced, and how have you overcome them?
About two years ago, my wife Aimee was diagnosed with a brain tumour. It all happened so quickly and my wife was rushed to hospital – we were totally blindsided by it and Jack was only six months old. Up until then, we felt very privileged, but this just brought us back down to earth. The doctors were unbelievable and saved her life. All credit to the NHS, we are so incredibly grateful to our amazing health service. Because of this, I went through some therapy; it was a very mentally traumatic experience and I wanted to talk to someone about it. The opportunity to explore my thoughts and emotions helped me to understand what life was all about and made me more comfortable in my own skin. I realised I am who I am, and I have this one opportunity to make my life work.
What is the best advice that you have ever received?
The therapy that I had was an incredibly positive experience. It was so clever, just helping me get to the answers I already had by asking questions. I would recommend everyone takes the opportunity to talk to a trained professional at some point in their lives. Just by talking about everything in your life, you learn so much.
The best advice I have ever been given is to be comfortable with who you are. You see so many big companies who want to spend time on improving staff ‘weaknesses’. Really you should spend time focusing on your strengths and embracing your personality. That is when you will truly grow and develop.
Time is really precious, and lockdown has taught us that better than anything ever could. Time is the only commodity worth buying, so my advice would be to spend your money on things that save you time!
What is your greatest hope for the future for Buckinghamshire?
My biggest frustration is the educational system in this country, which is too focused on teaching ‘subjects’ and does not spend nearly enough time on proper life skills like leadership and money management. I hope and wish that schools and the wider educational system would introduce these into the curriculum.
I would love Bucks to embrace entrepreneurship as a career path early on. We need to give kids the confidence to fail and create a career path that isn’t the norm. In Britain, we have a culture that fears failure and there are so many other cultures across the globe that embrace the entrepreneurial spirit. I would love Bucks to be the shining light for entrepreneurial spirit in the UK!