With a wide range of products, training, and support services under their belt, Heliguy are one of the most recognised and respected brands in the UK drone industry.

A leading DJI retailer in the UK, the company partners with world-known brands and acts as a trusted distributor of their products national and international level.

Heliguy joined the Scaleup North East programme in 2018 with the vision to tap into a new pool of expertise and guidance that will help the business achieve their growth ambitions going forward.

We caught up with Scott Henderson, Operations Manager at Heliguy on their experience of the Scaleup programme, the business challenges they were facing and the  support they have received through the programme.

Scott, Heliguy has experienced a significant time of growth ever since it was established in 2008 and it continues to grow nowadays. Tell us about your business and your journey so far.

Heliguy is the online retail brand presence of the company Colena Ltd, which started life as an RC Helicopter specialist in Northumberland. At Heliguy, we have always been focused on specialisation, with a higher level of support than the industry average. In 2013 a decision was made to relocate closer to Newcastle to expand the business into the emerging 'Drone' market. We were unknowingly a part of this sector all the way back in 2009 when we built large RC helicopters capable of computerised autonomous flight.

We evolved the business, expanding the technical and training teams to build more units and to train people in what we already knew, giving them a head start in the evolving services sector. We reinforced this with CAA accreditation and other external processes such as ISO 9001. Heliguy offers a better retail experience and unmatched support.

What are the biggest obstacles you’ve had to overcome on your way to establishing a successful business in the North East?

We have had to compete with the manufacturer who sell directly into the UK.  We have also had to compete with grey importers undercutting the pricing structure set out by the manufacturer.  Growing competition has been a factor in Heliguy adapting ahead of the curve. 

With all these in mind, we have grown year on year to be one of the most recognised brands in the UK drone industry.  This has been achieved through excellent customer, accurate stock management, great online content and the ability to support and training consumer and enterprise clients about the benefits drones can bring to any walk of life.

What caught your eye about the Scaleup programme?

We were attracted to the experience from the advice we were offered.  The programme has opened our eyes to alternative methods and processes.  We liked the seminar approach and active involvement in topics for growing businesses.  This has given us time to re-evaluate our standing.

How did the programme help you to overcome challenges and strengthen business position?

We are using the advice received as a foundation to create a business strategic plan, leading to departmental plans and eventually individual plans for all our staff.  This will help us all row in the same direction as the business grows.

What advice would you give to others in the North East that are looking to scaleup their own business?

Understand your business plan.  Without this you are a ship without a rudder.  Staff need direction to perform to their best, utilising the knowledge and experience from the scaleup programme to be better versions of themselves.

What's been the best business advice our Scaleup Partners have ever given you?

Delegation.  Our management was guilty of not doing enough.  Even if your staff can only do 60% of the job as a standard, trust is needed to be given to ensure tasks are delegated fairly.

Get in touch to find out how the Scaleup North East programme can help your business reach new heights, 0191 516 4400 or apply today.

RTC North is delivering Scaleup North East in partnership with North East Local Enterprise Partnership, and is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.