I'd love to say we invented the idea of brewing using bread but it's been around for a long long time.
At Crumbs we wanted to do our bit for the growing problem of food waste but also make the bread the hero of our product.
Although I've worked in the booze industry, I was no more than an enthusiastic home brewer. We needed real expertise from day one and we were lucky enough to secure the support of a highly experienced brewer.
A significant amount of testing allowed us to be confident that we a) got the most out of the bread, b) could scale our process up beyond very small scale brews and c) had a product that tasted great!
Investing extra time and money up front to get the product as good as it could be from the start was key.
Crowdfunding went some way to help with this, but I'd be lying if cash wasn't still a constant challenge. We only bottled our first commercial brew in June 2017. It was daunting to have invested in creating 6,000 bottles of beer when we had no clue how fast they would sell. I'm glad to say within eight weeks we sold out the first batch and within six months we'd added two more beers to our range with the help of a crowdfunding campaign.
Our growth is obviously limited by the amount of leftover bread we can lay our hands on. There is plenty of it around (44% of all bread produced in the UK ends up being wasted) but we need to ensure don't lose the importance of the quality of the bread in our story.
It's almost too easy to start a business these days. As a result it feels like everybody is at it and, more confusingly, there are hundreds of agencies and, let's face it, charlatans all claiming to be the best choice to help you grow.Enterprise Nation is made up of a smart, objective, passionate group of professionals who can help you navigate this maze and, even better, inspire you with what you can achieve.
I saw the challenges my wife faced with her accountant. I knew I could offer a better service and clarity to small businesses at fixed prices with clear outcomes. I founded SRK Accounting in 2011 and moved one year later from my desk at home to a desk in a Soho, London office share.
In 2013, I took on my first employee and reached 50 clients. By 2014, we had 100 clients and a team of six, plus a back office in India. By 2022, we're aiming to be a £10m turnover company, with multiple offices and at least 1,670 raving fan clients.
We've empowered small business owners by teaching them financial essentials so they can achieve success on their own terms.
We also believe we're doing our bit to help reduce SME failure rates in the UK. Outside London, Birmingham has the highest rate of start-ups but also the highest failure rate. It's my personal mission to try to improve these stats by providing advice, support and resources to increase start-up success. As an Enterprise Nation adviser member, I empower small businessess by teaching them financial essentials so that they can achieve success on their terms and make their organisation standout in their marketplace.
My top tips for business success are: take advantage of all the free resources available, read every single day and make connections wherever you can and share your own knowledge with others.
I was raised in a kitchen and creating a food business has always been a dream. Having studied the biochemistry and neuroscience of food, my experiment was to create the sense of indulgence we normally associate with fatty, sugary foods, but in something which was totally healthy. Premium nut butters and snacks, inspired by mindful eating; Hopefully the magic formula has worked!
We launched with Whole Foods Market in February 2017 followed by Selfridges and various premium delis.
The business is getting ready for the next phase of growth and as a founder I need to let go parts of of it to my awesome team members, and focus on the more strategic parts.
Embrace the journey, it's an amazing opportunity to get to know yourself better than you could have ever imagined.
The temptation to run this marathon at sprinting pace is there, and I've definitely tried to accelerate on occasion, only to realise that there are crucial milestones to achieve first. Embrace the journey, address negative behaviours if they're there, and get rid of the bad stuff that weighs you down.
It's important to participate in as many events as possible and make a lot of friends who are on the same journey. This network will be precious at many points!
I think of Enterprise Nation as a portfolio of mentors. With the Enterprise Nation membership you can get pretty much any type of help you're looking for, from the more technical details to introductions to industry experts, down to ‘sanity checks' when you feel a bit wobbly (and there are lots of those moments).
I was washing my children in the bath (aged five and seven at the time) and thinking, ‘Why am I still using a product with a picture of a baby on the front and why am I still washing them when they should be doing it themselves?'
My business partner, Karen, and I researched the market and thought there was a gap. We found a manufacturer, pulled in some favours from a design agency we knew and started taking the range to retailers.
With our Enterprise Nation membership, we pitched to Boots and eventually got listed in 400 stores nationwide. We also attended many events, which are great networking opportunities. It gave us the chance to talk to other brands in a similar situation to us, which is always helpful!
We're so proud to be stocked in Boots, Waitrose, Ocado and on Amazon. The next step is to start exporting. British brands are really popular abroad at the moment and we want to capitalise on that.
Make quick decisions. We've made some mistakes, but we've always been able to correct them.
Having worked in large corporates previously, we're both enjoying the freedom to make quick decisions. It means we can act fast to respond to consumer or customer feedback. It's also important to talk to everyone. It's great to get advice and everyone have always been willing to help us and share their experiences.
At Enterprise Nation we love hearing about entrepreneurs' successes so much that we've collected the stories and best advice from 100 brilliant small business owners in a free eBook. Get inspired to to start and grow a successful business today!Download the eBook
Everything we do is to support small businesses. Once you become a member, you get access to our community of fellow people running their own businesses and all of our amazing small business advisers. Whatever your business situation is, we're here to help.