One of the best qualities a young entrepreneur can have is the ability to spot an opportunity and grasp it with both hands.
That was certainly the case for Dan Salehi, who saw an opening in the haulage industry and acted upon it, taking the brave step in setting up S&B Haulage with his business partner.
Dan’s story begins in Iran, where he was born before moving to the UK aged four.
“After leaving Iran I grew up in Anstey, Leicester, and went to the local schools. I then started an apprenticeship from the age of 16,” he explained.
“I’ve had a lot of jobs before I started doing what I do now! There wasn’t anything specific that I was in – I just took on any job possible back then. I was about 21 when I got my HGV (heavy goods vehicle) licence and that meant I could start driving lorries.”
At this point in time Dan was working in the quarry industry, but can recall a conversation which first led to his business idea being formed.
“I remember speaking to a few of what we call ‘owner drivers’ – one-man-band types of people,” he reflected.
“From speaking to them, it was clear it was quite a niche market to get in to but you can do really well from it. So that dragged me in and I started putting my business plan together, figuring out how much money I’d need. A friend of mine is also a lorry driver, so we decided to merge together and become business partners.”
The business idea was there, but as with any start-ups, thoughts soon began turning to the logistics and importantly, the costs involved.
“There are a lot of costs to consider when starting a business in this industry,” Dan said.
“Luckily, about a year before I started my business I found out about The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity through my hairdresser, Nick. I was telling him that I needed funding and he recommended the Charity, as he had started up with an STWLC loan himself.
“So, when the time came, I started my application for the interest-free business loan. The interview process keeps you on your toes, which is a really good thing. It’s a very smooth process, with lots of guidance along the way. On the website there’s a page which signposts you to people who can give business support, and thankfully I had a really good advisor.”
Some good news then followed for Dan, with his application successful and interest-free business loan approved.
“The loan I received was £10,000,” he remembered.
“This really helped with several start-up costs we were faced with, including things like vehicle deposits.
“I’d 100 per cent recommend the Charity,” Dan continued.
“In all honesty I wasn’t in a great position financially at the time. I had a job, but my credit history was very bad. If it wasn’t for the Charity, I wouldn’t have been able to get the funds I needed to start up. I’d explored other options without any luck, so STWLC was just perfect for me.”
So, what does the future hold for Dan and S&B Haulage?
“I just want to grow my fleet as much as possible and step into different aspects of the industry,” Dan concluded.
“It’s not easy running a business. Getting a business plan together in the first place is one thing, but it’s completely different in the real world when you’re out there. Hopefully we can keep progressing the business and look forward to a successful future.”
If, like Dan, you have a business idea which needs funds to get off the ground, consider our interest-free business loan. Available up to £20,000, our loans are completely interest-free for nine years, with nothing to repay in the first three years.