How to know when your business is really an expensive hobby. Lesson 2: trying to avoid the middleman

“The art of good business is being a good middleman”. While there may be some truth in the words of Michael Gambon in ‘The Layer Cake’, I would assume most start-ups want to avoid any form of middlemen (especially if they involved the gangster which Gambon played).

Jo and I thought we were being savvy by saving money avoiding the middlemen in Lashbrook Lassis, however, it was just another sign of our ill-fated enterprise.

Cutting out the middleman

Middlemen get a bad rep. We believed the more they could be cut out, the better. We didn’t resent middlemen, though we certainly couldn’t afford to pay such people to help sell our drinks. What this meant was instead of using distributors, Jo and I would have to go shop to shop delivering our drinks, or pitching our drinks or both. It was incredibly time consuming and often we only visited about 10 shops a day, which was nowhere near enough. All the while, our funds were running lower and lower.

Middlemen for a start-up will take the form of anyone who alleviates some of the grunt work. I wouldn’t say you should avoid all menial tasks in your business, though I would say that if you’re doing the lions share (as Jo and I were doing), then it’s likely that your company will fail to prosper.

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