Don’t just take my word for it, here’s another daunting tale of setting up a business
It’s sometimes difficult to escape the feeling of shouting into the wind when trying to explain why start-ups aren’t the best way of doing business. I recently re-watched the film ‘The Big Short’, which follows the story of several characters who predicted the financial crash in 2008. One individual played by Steve Carrell spends most of his time meeting people making money in the housing market and he’s amazed how almost nobody can see where it was all heading.
So in a nutshell, it was great reading an honest appraisal of someone who had also gone through the gauntlet of starting their own business. I will paraphrase their story below yet I would encourage anyone to read it in full here as it’s rare to hear start-ups being so open about their experiences.
Richard Canterbury is the founder of The Love Taste Company. They sell packets of frozen smoothies, which are a great idea for those wanting to avoid the loss of nutrients in pasteurised smoothies sold in most supermarkets. Richard started selling smoothies at Borough market and went on to set up a smoothie bar in the Saatchi & Saatchi reception. Yet despite the bar’s success, it was an incredibly lonely existence especially during Christmas when sales dwindled and Richard had to remortgage his flat to keep the bar going.
Richard persevered though and managed to set up a chain of smoothie bars in a number of gyms and health cafes. However, there were problems with quality control as workers would measure out all his smoothies differently. This led to him going into his smoothie bars, measuring out the right portions of fruit and placing them in bags in the freezer…this as you can imagine was his light bulb moment.
Yet Richard still had to remortgage his flat for a second time to fund the launch of his business. As the Love Smoothie company caught the interest of customers, he had to raise more capital to pay for employees, office rent and furniture. Despite these huge challenges, you can now find his frozen smoothie sachets in Ocado, Pret a Manger and Virgin Active and he has even created a range of froze sachets that include frappes, fruit teas and even bone broths!
But the money, loneliness and risk involved in this whole venture must be difficult to justify. You only really appreciate how much is on the line when you’re in too deep to get out. And while Richard and his company are clearly a success, I don’t think he would disagree that it could have easily been very, very different.