Spotlight on LSI

We asked Lloyd Simpson of LSI (Lloyd Simpson Incentives Ltd) to share the story of his business and what drives him.

What do you do?

LSI are one of the leading Promotional Merchandise and Corporate Clothing suppliers in the UK. We work with our clients to help them “Make an Impression” with their existing and prospective clients - basically we put your logo on merchandise solutions that work.

We can personalise any product you can think of that you may use at exhibitions, product launches, customer rewards, prospective gifts or even “door openers” to receptionists.

Why do you do what you do? (How did you get into your field? What drives you?)

In 1987, I left school at 17 with 6 ‘O Levels’ and headed for the bright lights of football; I was offered an apprenticeship at Halifax Town and all I could see were fast cars and the twin towers of Wembley! However after similarly impressing Rochdale and Hamilton Academicals with my footballing prowess (and being released) I returned home, and attended an interview with Jarvis Porter Promotional Products in Leeds - it was my first ever interview and I got a job selling pens. I progressed to external sales rep within a year and within 2 years I had been headhunted by the industry leader in Manchester.

In 1993 I met Phil Carrick (ex Yorkshire Cricketer) and I joined him to run his promotions business in his testimonial year. It was here I got an insight into how to run a company and I suppose as I felt I was doing everything, I decided to go it alone and set up LSI in November 1994 at the age of 24 with a £20k overdraft. LSi started in a 3m x 3m office in Hunsworth, with my mum doing the typing while I worked all the hours to get things off the ground. Within 3 months we had picked up an order worth £480k for diaries from Theakstons (still the single largest order I’ve ever been given) and it set us on our way, I was able to re-invest the profits, move premises and take on more staff, and the rest has been a steady reproduction of that year on year.

What drives me? – I love what we do, I love the fact that we create ideas, promotions, and products and by working closely with our clients we get the sense of achievement and teamwork and are able to share in the success. But strangely as we approach our 20th anniversary and having moved into fabulous new premises, I don’t feel we’ve finished achieving, I want LSI to be the best at what we do, and I think the challenge of improvement, and trying to master something keeps me interested daily.

What's your greatest success story?

There have been so many large contract wins, great orders like the Theakston diaries which changed the course of LSI, but I believe it’s the people I have met over the past 20 years that’s given me the greatest pleasure. I have been able to travel and make contact with people in the UK and around the world as part of what I do. We work with them as suppliers and customers and over time they have become extremely good friends.

Tell us something we may not know about your profession?

Promotional Merchandise is everywhere! Take a look around your office - brands and slogans are around you all day every day - the medium works!

What's the most important lesson you've learned whilst building your business?

It took me 7 years to realise this ….. “you can’t do everything yourself!” Get good people around you, delegate and stick to the knitting!” It’s too easy to branch out when its going well and get side-tracked - stay focused, stick to what you’re good at and use specialists in their field when you need their expertise. It saves time and effort and will always be money well spent!

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