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Meet the soldier turned coffee roasting entrepreneur

Meet the soldier turned coffee roasting entrepreneur
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation
 

Posted: Wed 31st Aug 2022

Mark Hepworth had a successful career in the army but he had to leave due to illness.

He was encouraged by his doctor to find a hobby so he took up coffee roasting. That hobby became a business with the launch of The Flat Cap Coffee Roasting Company.

Mark shares his inspiring story and explains how he has been inspired by the Amazon Small Business Accelerator.


The free Amazon Small Business Accelerator e-learning programme is advice from more than 30 business experts in over 200 bitesize videos.

If you're already an Enterprise Nation member, log in to your learning dashboard. If you're not an Enterprise Nation member, you can join the Amazon Small Business Accelerator for free here.


How did you come up with your business idea?

"I very successfully served in the British military for 23 years but mental and physical illness unfortunately cut my career short.

"I have four children and three have additional needs. My wife and I try to demonstrate that even though there is adversity, it can be overcome. My PTSD has taken my family as low as can be but part of my journey after leaving the military created a passion for coffee.

"A doctor told me that I would never work again due to my mental health and to get a good hobby. We chose home coffee roasting.

"During my recovery I worked closely with Help for Heroes and attended a pathfinder course.

"With the help of a mentor introduced to us by Help for Heroes, we created a business plan, found premises and got the start-up funding together. We purchase speciality and high quality coffee through UK based importers which fits our brand ethos.

"The Flat Cap Coffee Roasting Company was born in 2019, just a few months before the coronavirus outbreak. Fortunately, our income expectancy was low and we rode the pandemic by pushing online sales, which come from word of mouth, quality reviews and customers who search for coffee suppliers in our area."

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

"The coronavirus pandemic was a massive hurdle. We had just started to notice a real interest in our coffee and had begun to convert coffee shops into selling our products. In response to physical shops being closed, we diversified our business by going online and selling direct to consumers.

"Like many businesses, the cost-of-living crisis is having a massive impact. Yet again we find ourselves looking at how we can adapt to meet a big challenge. We are looking at the business and working out what more we can offer, such as coffee experience sessions."

How has the Amazon Small Business Accelerator e-learning programme has inspired you?

“We now have a steady income stream and are looking to build this through education from sources such as the Amazon Small Business Accelerator.

“I find the success stories of other business owners help to inspire me and drive my passion, especially when things are difficult and tricky. The founder is the best advocate of a business and has the most passion.”

What are your plans for the future of your business?

"To grow our market and increase sales whilst maintaining our brand belief. Going forward we want to extend our online customer reach and build our coffee shop sales.

"Brand recognition and trust are so important to us. The customer feedback drives our passion for success."

Which other entrepreneur inspires you?

"Sir Richard Branson.

"I love the story of his dilemma with struggling to get seat back TVs fitted on his planes. His solution was to source new planes which is remarkable. It shows the genius of that man. Bravo!"

What are your top tips for business success based?

"Keep going, believe and love your brand.

"My other tip for start-ups is to fully understand your market. You need to know how it works and how you can exploit your market potential. What do you offer that is different and if not, how are you better than your competitors?"


The free Amazon Small Business Accelerator e-learning programme is advice from more than 30 business experts in over 200 bitesize videos.

If you're already an Enterprise Nation member, log in to your learning dashboard. If you're not an Enterprise Nation member, you can join the Amazon Small Business Accelerator for free here.

 
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation
 
Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.
 

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