When it comes to starting a business, it’s hard to know where to start. What kind of life do you want? What’s the market opportunity? Should I….
Enough. I’m feeling tired already. I just want to invent a chocolate bar and spend my days in a Willy Wonka like trance. Failing that, I’d happily sip coffee (at my own coffee pop up) in London’s vibrant markets, chatting with strangers whilst thanking the higher powers that I’m not in an office.
Of course that’s not how today’s foodpreneurs* are actually living because they also have to work hard, make tough decisions and do other.. business.. kind of things. But if you’re interested in starting a small business, better yet, a small business that fits nicely into the food category, then here are five of London’s finest to share their learnings so far.
*Note – Whilst I have interviewed these people, I did not get their permission to label them ‘foodpreneurs’.
Annie Morris, co-founder of Spoon Cereals
I’d say the three most important lessons were firstly trying to find the simplest solution to a task. Often it’s quite easy to over think things and you can make life a little bit hard for yourself.
Secondly, learn to say ‘no’ more often because I think what we’ve often done to begin with is try to make the most out of every opportunity that’s come our way but sometimes that’s not always the best opportunity for your business strategy.
Thirdly, that time is precious. Make the most of allowing your ideas to get made more quickly as a small business as there is no hierarchy for them to go through. And also, making sure you can find time to switch off. It’s easier said than done but I think it really helps with your productivity and creativity as well.
Spoon Cereals have won a Great Taste Award and earned the backing of the BBC Dragon’s Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones. For Annie’s full interview click here.
Gary Keery, co-founder of Cereal Killer Cafe
Don’t listen to the negativity. Yeah believe in yourself and believe in your business plan. If you have faith in what it s that you’re doing, if you have firm belief that your business will succeed then there’s nothing that can stand in your way.
Cereal Killer Cafe is the UKs First Cereal Cafe. Now open @ 139 Brick Lane, Shoreditch and Mezz 2, Camden Stables Market. For the full interview click here.
Pippa Murray, founder of Pip & Nut
I think one of the most important lessons is to know that you can do it and to have self confidence in the fact that even if you feel like you’re lacking in some skills you can still learn those things that you’re missing.
Also, to ask lots of stupid questions. It’s amazing how much you can get from people if you can just be interested in them and ask lots of questions.
Pip & Nut make nut butter in a jar for your home or a squeeze pack to snack on the go. Tweet @pipandnut for your nearest store. For Pip’s full interview click here.
Richard Wilkinson, co-founder of Doisy & Dam
To ask for help. Ask for help from anyone and everyone. We’ve created a kind of pseudo advisory board of retail experts who we buy a coffee or a beer for now and again so we can pick their brains, and without their advice we’d have never survived.
Another lesson we’ve learned is definitely to choose your business partner carefully. We’re so lucky in that we’re old friends who get on really well, we can shout at each other without it being a problem. Also, we have complimentary skills. My background’s in finance and business and Ed’s is in sales and marketing so we split those roles early on and it’s really helped us to become as efficient as we can be.
Doisy & Dam chocolate is packed with nature’s superfoods. Find them in Whole Foods, Ocado, Planet Organic and more. To listen to Richard’s full interview click here.
Anna Mackenzie, co-founder of Cuckoo
Have an amazing co-founder if that’s possible. I don’t know how people do it on their own, and that way you have someone to share the good and the bad times with. It’s also important to have a strong wider team around you and have that outside perspective and opinions, and it’s important to listen to that advice.
Having a lack of experience is positive in many ways as we it means we do things creatively and differently but it’s good for that sort of naivety to be balanced out with previous experience and knowledge as well.
Cuckoo Bircher muesli is a blend of jumbo oats, linseed, creamy yogurt & juicy fruit. Find them in Selfridges, Waitrose, Tesco & more. For Anna’s full interview click here.