Setting up any business is stressful. When I set up Crafty Pies I was going from a job in finance to an industry I had no experience in, no contacts and no real idea of where to start. This was extremely overwhelming, with thousand of thoughts going round my head. So, I've decided to put pen to paper and talk about my experience; the successes, the mistakes and importantly the lessons learnt, to hopefully make it a bit easier for someone else setting up a food business.
Alongside this, I am going to be releasing a weekly podcast interviewing the experts: founders of food businesses I love to tease out the knowledge and skills they used to develop and grow their businesses. Each week every episode will be themed around a different topic related to setting up a food business spanning everything from brand and marketing principles to business models and financial set up.
I wish there had been something like this when I started Crafty Pies, so I hope by doing this series, I can help others wanting to venture into this industry start on a more knowledgeable foot than I did.
Although I learnt a lot, at the beginning of my experience, I wasted a lot of time and money (think thousands rather than hundreds) because I started without really knowing enough about what I was doing. It took a good 6 months to really get the business set up and if I were to set up another one I could do it in 4 weeks.
That's about 1400 hours.
I could have been using that time earning say £10 an hour somewhere.
That is £14,000. That is way more money then I used to set up the whole business!
That is the opportunity cost I gave up by wasting time and when you're starting a business every penny matters....
And of course, those hours don't include the stress, sleepless nights and not seeing my friends and family which is a whole different story.
Of course there is beauty in setting something up, 'grafting' and learning from mistakes, but let's face it, if you could do it a little bit more easily - of course you would.
That's why I think, learning from others' mistakes is the best business sense. You might still make your own but learning from theirs will quite possibly mean you're 10 steps ahead of the competition.
"I think, learning from others' mistakes is the best business sense. You might still make your own but learning from theirs will quite possibly mean you're 10 steps ahead of the competition."
So ultimately that's what this series is all about. Deconstructing the process of setting up a food business so you can learn from others what works and what doesn't.
I'm interviewing some pretty awesome people, We've got the founder of Gourmet Burger Kitchen that grew from one site to 60+, the founder of Honest Burger who built their business from a marquee and a grill to a national chain. The topics may alter as I dig into what they think is important to cover, but as a starting point I've thought carefully about all the things I wish I knew in the beginning to craft some questions and topics each week including:
Where to start: You want to start a Food Business? What Kind?
Identifying gaps in the market and should you set one up?
Branding and Marketing
The economics of a food business and how they vary.
Fundamentals about food, service and getting sales.
What to splash out on what to skimp on
How to test your concept
How to get customers
I'll be following up each podcast with a newsletter, giving my perspective on the topic (from experience) and the advice from the podcast guest. Hopefully this will give you some good guidance from a bigger and smaller business perspective that will help you kick start your venture.
I would love to hear any feedback you have on this - please reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org