Greater Manchester Fastest 50: Q & A with Brent Cutler of Chemist.co.uk
08th May 2019
In the run-up to this year's Greater Manchester Fastest 50 Awards event, we speak to Brent Cutler, Managing Director and founder of Rochdale-based Chemist.co.uk, part of Frontline Healthcare.
Frontline, which was established in 2014, was named the fastest-growing small business in Ward Hadaway’s 2018 Greater Manchester Fastest 50. We caught up with Brent about the rapid growth of the online pharmacy business.
What inspired you to set up your business in this particular sector?
Whilst working for other businesses in the sector I realised there was a gap in the market for a pure play pharmacy leader. I discussed what was required to meet this challenge with the organisations I worked for but I was mainly greeted with indifference. In the end I decided to just get on with it myself. My biggest inspiration was the untapped potential.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
It’s always rewarding to create something from nothing and make it a success.
And the most challenging ?
The challenge for all entrepreneurs is what next! It takes so much energy to create something from nothing and nurture it through the early years. After a while, the risk-averse founders can get in the way of decisions needed to expand rapidly. The challenge then is to find your successors and hand over the reins.
Continuous growth is a big challenge. By next year we will have moved premises three times and each time we move we think we will be good to go for many years, only to find after 18 months we are running out of space.
What would you like to achieve for the business?
There is no doubt the business can be huge. When we started the business, we thought if we can sell £300k in our first year it would be a great start. In the first year, sales reached £1.5m and now the business is heading for £9m-£10m this year. When we talk about the next 5 to 10 years, we see our business growing to £100m, this is still only a fraction of the multi-billion-pound industry we service.
What areas does your business plan to invest in?
The main investment for us will be people. Secondly, building our chemist.co.uk brand into a household name.
How has being in the Greater Manchester Fastest 50 list helped your business?
Since winning the Fastest 50 award the profile of our business has increased substantially and this year we also appeared in the FT1000 Fastest Growing European Companies. As a result of increased interest in our future plans, we are early in discussions with our advisors on how we could bring forward future plans to achieve even higher growth.