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Entrepreneur Life – Interview With The Founder Of Precision Hydration

Precision Hydration founder Andy Blow interview with Sundried

Sundried is an independent UK business that was founded by entrepreneur Daniel Puddick. We encourage the growth of small businesses and want to empower consumers to choose ethical companies rather than defaulting to multi-national corporations and faceless conglomerates.

We spoke with 'sweat expert' and founder of electrolyte supplement brand Precision Hydration Andy Blow to talk about building a successful business off the back of a true passion and learning how to balance work with life and travel.

In a nutshell, what is the story of Precision Hydration? What motivated you to develop the idea?

As an athlete (I used to race triathlon at a decent level) I really suffered in the heat in places like Kona or even in southern Europe. I'd often get severe cramps and drastically under-perform when compared with races in cooler conditions. Eventually, I learned that as well as sweating a lot, I lose a lot of sodium in my sweat (about 2-3 x the average) and once I'd corrected for this in my fluid and salt intake in races it was like night and day for me. I was able to do much, much better in long, hot races from then on.

As I was also working as a sports scientist and coach back then I was very interested in the physiology behind what was going on and started to look into it to see if what I'd learned might also help other athletes. This gradually lead me into the world of sweat testing, sweat testing equipment, and eventually also hydration products. From that process, the business that is now Precision Hydration emerged.

What was the biggest challenge you faced when setting up this business?

Probably a lack of experience or any sort of training in running a 'proper' business. Whilst I'd run a small consultancy business, with a single partner, running a larger operation where we needed to coordinate manufacturing, sales, marketing, staff and invest quite a bit of money to get off the ground was a bit of a baptism of fire.

How do you manage a healthy work-life balance?

I'm not sure I always do. However, a key thing I've learned in the last few years is that balance does not have to mean that everything is 'balanced' all of the time. I enjoy (and find it productive) to work very hard for prolonged periods but I have started to recognise that I then have to take some extended breaks to recover and recharge. In the last 4 years I've taken most of December off each year, for example, and gone abroad with my family and this has worked really well. I have also become a dad twice in the last 5 years and making time for my kids has been an important catalyst to change my lifestyle. My office is also now ~800m from home whereas I used to have quite a long commute and this has really helped.

What's been the most exciting part of developing Precision Hydration?

At first, it was the travel that running the business demanded. We're incredibly fortunate to work with many top professional sports teams in the UK and USA in particular so I get to go on the road quite a lot and see some cool places and meet some amazing people. I've spent a lot of time in LA, New York and most places in-between and that has been a great buzz. However, more recently as the PH team has expanded it is more about the challenge of building a long-term, sustainable business that employs some great people and is a fantastic place to work. That is what excites me now. 

Precision Hydration founder Andy Blow

What does the future hold for Precision Hydration?

In the next few years, we're planning to do much more research into all aspects of sweat, hydration and performance as it is still an area of science that is not fully understood. We are employing someone full-time in a research role and to work with a top University in the UK to achieve this. The aim is that the outputs from this role will inform how we improve our current products, guidelines for usage and give us ideas for new products in the future as well.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

Back yourself, with your own money whenever possible. 'Skin in the game' is critical. Early on, try lots of small things out, discard those that don't work and double down hard on those that do. Listen to the advice of others, but decide what you think you should do and then commit 100% to it. Read a lot (start with 'Shoe Dog' if you've not read it already). Carve out time to just sit and think on a regular basis. Get comfortable with uncertainty. Prioritise customer service.

Quickfire Questions

  1. Coffee or tea? Coffee, strong with a dash of cream.
  2. Summer or winter? Summer
  3. Ocean or mountain? Mountains
  4. UK or abroad? UK (as long as I get to go abroad a few times a year. And don't get me started on Brexit...)
  5. Sweet or savoury? Savoury
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