Business journey: Harry Bliss of Champion Health
Galvanised by the loss of his friend to suicide, Harry Bliss co-founded Champion Health to change and save lives in the workplace. From celebrating their first customer, to lessons learned, Harry tells us about his business journey.
Tell us about your business, what does it do?
Champion Health’s mission is to change and save lives in the workplace.
Developed by world-leading academics, GPs and technology professionals, we provide innovative and unique workplace health solutions to suit every organisation. Our solutions focus on all aspects of workplace health and wellbeing, from mental health to physical health and everything in between.
We work closely with businesses every step of the way, to assess employee health, identify the issues that matter and offer solutions to help employees thrive, helping to create a workplace culture of wellbeing.
Not only do employees benefit but the business does too, as our evidence-based solutions are fully compliant with HSE legislation and result in a significant return on investment. It’s a win-win all round!
What did you do before you started this business?
I worked for the largest corporate health and wellbeing provider in the UK.
What inspired you to start up?
I was underwhelmed with the delivery and cost of service in my previous role. I realised that it could all be delivered digitally, therefore eliminating cost and time as barriers for companies. Additionally, in 2018, I lost a friend to suicide following an acute bout of workplace stress. He was 40 years old with a wife, two children and a highly successful job.
Following this tragedy, and galvanised by the wider epidemic of employee ill-health throughout the UK, we set out on a mission to change and save lives. All of our solutions have been designed with this at the forefront of our mind.
Where do you get advice, support or help?
I’ve been extremely fortunate that very experienced business owners have offered their advice along the way. We’ve never had to pay for advice, because the people we want around us are those that believe in what we do. I would love to acknowledge them all in here but we’ll be here all day.
How did you access any finance you needed?
We accessed an equity loan from an angel investor. I think there is a significant problem in having too much money from the outset, as it puts undue pressure on an entrepreneur in addition to the likelihood of being less resourceful. We wouldn’t have created what we have if we initially raised £1m.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Honestly – getting our first customer. People underplay what a big achievement this is and it’s easy to forget this milestone when you’ve got a plethora of new clients.
How do you differentiate your business from others?
We deliver a scalable, digital-first service which measures employee wellbeing. The industry average engagement is between 1-4% traditionally, whereas our engagement rates have been >70%. This is down to us focusing on a proactive approach to wellbeing, rather than being reactive to a health problem occurring.
What’s it like to be your own boss?
I wouldn’t change it, but it does come with its challenges. There are very long days, a lot of pressure and high expectations (usually set by myself). I think entrepreneurship can be glamorised to some extent – not many people see the graft before the success.
Where do you see your business in five years’ time?
Our plan is to have global expansion within five years, especially in the USA. In this time, we also aim to be a market leader for proactive workplace health solutions in the UK.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
There are three pieces of advice I’d give:
1) The hardest thing is to start. Bad decisions don’t necessarily lead to a lack of success. Indecision definitely does. It’s natural to make mistakes working on any project, but it’s how quick you can learn and adapt (and not make the same mistake again!)
2) Ideas are much easier than implementation. Coming up with a potential solution to a problem is straight forward. Getting it to the point that it is delivering real impact is hard. When it comes to implementation, look to launch early and learn from your customer feedback.
3) Be fixed on your mission, but pivot on the way you achieve that. Early on in Champion Health’s journey, we set out on a clear mission to change and save lives. That has not changed. However, we have pivoted multiple times as to how we achieve this. Initially, there wasn’t an online assessment with company health reports and analytics. We have succeeded so far by being adaptable.