The network boasts a community of 250 thriving businesses, where brand owners are expertly
nurtured to boost growth and performance, solving everyday challenges, such as creating best in class
teams, taking logistical challenges off their hands and giving them scale.
Young Foodies proactively seeks out strategic partnerships and commercial alliances that aim to
flatten the competitive landscape for young brands. They are determined to give power and a voice to
the innovators and to make them as mighty as the brands they’re up against.
It won’t be news to you that I’m a big believer in challenger brands. It doesn’t take a specialist to see
that small, founder-led businesses are so much more ready than their big business counterparts to
innovate, be agile, respond to trends, and deliver what the consumer wants.
They have fewer stakeholders, a much easier decision-making process and, critically, internal processes
that give them room to think. In FMCG, small businesses account for 33 per cent of sales but more than
59 per cent of the growth in the supermarkets (McKinsey 2018) – that stat says it all.
But, while increasingly these agility factors are creating a winning formula for success, there is an
an unavoidable reality that comes with the getting started in business – and it comes down to basic maths.
Michael E Gerber put it perfectly in his book, E-Myth Revisited: “The problem is that everybody who
goes into business is actually three-people-in-one: the Entrepreneur, the Manager, and the Technician.”
Within every business, there are hundreds of tasks that need doing.
Take a food business: there’s the invoice processing; the on-boarding of new staff members; tasting the
products coming through the door; updating Instagram; organising the office wifi; briefing the branding
agency; driving hours for a meeting; checking products are displayed correctly on the supermarket shelf;
taking great product photography suitable for multiple purposes…and so on.
Now, imagine this huge range of tasks must be done by just three people in a tiny office in Camberwell
with no budget, no experience, and just an empty shell of Dropbox folders.
It simply doesn’t work – and if it does work it’s driving every person in that team potty, as they have to
do things that are fundamentally against their natural strengths as an individual. However, if the team
does not do these tasks, who else will? In a big firm like Nestle, you’ll have an entire team of people
making barcodes, or raising invoices, or ensuring the wifi is running smoothly; in an entrepreneurial
start-up, you have 1/100th of a person’s time.
If we want our nation to continue to lead innovation in food and drink, we must support these brands
and allow them to punch above their weight.
At Young Foodies, we’ve identified four ways in which we can make entrepreneurs mighty:
Foster a community and create a voice. Thousands of entrepreneurial businesses don’t really
get heard – there are too many of them that any noise is drowned out. We need to empower
these guys to be heard, as they’re saying incredibly important things. At the same time, by
creating a community, suddenly those 100 three-person businesses can feel like one 300 person
1. Foster a community and create a voice
Thousands of entrepreneurial businesses don’t really get heard – there are too many of them that any noise is drowned out. We need to empower these guys to be heard as they’re saying incredibly important things. At the same time, by creating a community, suddenly those 100 three-person businesses can feel like one 300 person business.
2. The right team with the right skills at the right time
Entrepreneurs are only as strong as the people within their four walls. They need support finding co-founders and teams where they might not even know what they’re looking for, let alone where to find them. Training and development programmes are limited in small businesses and recruitment fees are extortionate. Things need to change.
3. A backoffice they can rely on
Entrepreneurs simply shouldn’t be spending hours in their day processing orders or reconciling bank payments. It’s only going to hold back growth. They need backoffice support that truly understands them and feels like it’s in-house (even if it isn’t). The fewer to-dos on that list, the more the entrepreneur can do what they do best – be the entrepreneur.
4. Commercial firepower
How can we make a small business feel like they have the scale of a big business? The answer…attach them to other small businesses. Our community of small brands are turning over £100m and growing 70% year on year – suddenly you start from a stronger negotiating position when asking for a competitive rate.
If we nurture small businesses using these four core levers, they will be mighty – and this will lead to
innovation, creativity, and move the world forward. If we don’t, everything we want to happen will
happen, just much, much more slowly.