Righteous Salad Dressings started in 2009, leaving a steady Corporate job in the middle of a recession. Four years later the company supplies over 700 UK supermarkets and is about to start selling into America Chains this year; along the way many mistakes have been made and lessons learnt, some of these are shared below:
You can plan all you like, prepare business plans for almost every possibility but there’s always that one curveball that you hadn’t anticipated. Initially the business idea was to sell ready-made salads but all too soon there were several logistical problems including high labour costs, quality control issues and time delays in the goods arriving in store. After some thought and reflection on these issues the decision was made to concentrate on selling bottled salad dressings only.
Business plans always look great when you’re looking at the forecasted figures. Once the business has been launched the figures can start to look completely different, sales income might not be to the level forecasted or expenses or unexpected bills can put a big hole in your finances. Make sure you have contingency monies planned for unforeseen events and that you are breaking even on even the most conservative sales scenarios.
Do it Yourself.
It’s all too tempting to spend precious money on employing staff, office equipment or some other business ‘must have’ but it’s best to wait until you have a more proven business record and the confidence that this will bring before any major investments. Until that time you’ll be wearing many ‘hats’ so enjoy and be challenged by the different experiences you will inevitably face.
Mistakes will be made and monies lost, the mistakes for your business are your responsibility alone but immersing yourself in all aspects of the business will help you achieve a far greater understanding of everything that is involved and help you turn it into the business you always dreamed of running!
Don’t Take No for an Answer.
One of the Supermarkets the company initially contacted was simply not interested, the buyer wasn’t returning calls or seemingly interested in the products at all. Approaching the problem from a different angle the Company sent a summer picnic basket with seasonal vegetables and the range of bottles salad dressings to the Board of Directors. Two Directors emailed back thanking them for the lunch and soon after the meeting with the buyer was set up and now the Supermarket stocks Righteous’ range.
As the company got bigger the next challenge was to find the funds that would support its growth. The banks were simply not going to lend any money at all so a different approach was needed or as it transpired a different way of financing. Crowdfunding has been growing in popularity in recent years and is an innovative way for new or start-up companies to raise finance, it allows individuals or companies to invest and own shares in your company in exchange for the money the company needs. Righteous raised £75,000 in this manner which funded a TV advert, helping to raise sales by 85% in the process and another £150,000 was recently raised in this way to fund the growth of the business both in the UK and Overseas.