Starting the business
If you are reading this, welcome to the very first Blendsmiths blog entry!
We’ve waited until now to launch into our blog entries and for good reason, we wanted to bring insightful, useful and most importantly, interesting content to anyone listening (or reading in this case).
It’s been 12 months since we mustered the courage, opened our wallets and stepped into the unknown.
In truth, we knew little about running our own business but who does in the very beginning?
Just type into Google search the words ‘starting your own business’ and you’ll discover thousands of articles, books, videos and BLOGS related. There are some truly inspirational stories available.
But we thought we’d start by telling you our story, the gritty truth on how we started Blendsmiths and how the first 12 months have ‘really’ gone. We may even inspire some of you to take the next step in turning a great idea into reality or, we might just influence you to ‘stop right now’.
After all, owning a business isn’t for everyone.
Just to be clear for you readers, I’m Ryan the Co-Founder of Blendsmiths. Hi.
Our first bit of advice - Don’t listen to people who say ‘Don’t go into business with family or friends’ – Rubbish!
Go into business with people who have the characteristics that will make shit happen, possess huge amounts of drive and determination, and are calm when things aren’t going so well.
It doesn’t matter whether the person you go into business with is a friend, your brother, your mother or a stranger, the same principals apply.
Chris and I have known each other for the best part of twenty years. He has all of the above characteristics and more, hopefully he thinks the same of me!
There are many types of people who want to start a business:
- person who is a calculated thinker, and a risk taker
- person who is a calculated thinker, and not necessarily a risk taker
- person who jumps right in, regardless of the consequences (generally, this person doesn’t see consequences but only possibilities)
- person who thinks, thinks some more and thinks so much that they don’t do anything about the things they are thinking about (this person is allowing irrational thoughts to creep into their conscience)
Granted, some people have more to lose than others!
Chris is a calculated thinker and a risk taker, I am a calculated thinker but not necessarily a risk taker meaning I seek out a challenge but I’m not intuitively a risk taker when the perceived task at hand is greater than belief.
At this point, I’d like to introduce you to two personality trait theories first documented by American Psychologist Henry Murray and ‘Murrays System of Needs, 1938’, later popularised by David McClelland whose research was founded on Murrays theoretical basis.
Why? Because we both studied these theories at University, they are super relevant and theories we have taken into consideration throughout.
Need to ACHieve (NACH)
A person who has high levels of achievement motivation would have a tendency to strive for success, persist in the face of failure and experience pride in accomplishments.
Need to Avoid Failure (NAF)
The performer is motivated to protect their self-esteem and will avoid situations where they may possibly be evaluated.
We all possess different internal traits that ultimately dictate our daily decisions. The truth is, I host huge amounts of NACH behaviourisms consolidated and rounded off with NAF behaviourisms.
In this case, making what can seem a huge decision an almost impossible decision.
I needed a business partner with different psychological and emotional characteristics (and a sincerely positive and encouraging wife) - this can be the difference between simply starting the business or not……
When I called Chris in August 2017 about the idea of starting Blendsmiths. He simply went away, thought about it and came back to me one week later with ‘let’s do it’.
I didn’t even know if I was ready for it. How will we manage? What will happen if people don’t buy any of our products? It’s a lot of money – I should probably be buying a house instead!
All legitimate questions most business beginners will ponder.
Whether you are doing business on your own, with a partner or as a group – the greatest advice we received at the concept stage was the following. ‘How much money are you willing to lose’?
Look at that figure whatever it is, take into consideration losing it and are you comfortable if that was the case. If the answer is yes, then it’s time to get to work.
Make it happen
A friend of ours who owns a very successful design and innovation business once said to us ‘99% of start-ups aren’t coming to table with something new, they find a product that has huge potential and they bring that potential to life’.
We didn’t invent alternative speciality lattes, but we felt we could create something different and unique to what was currently available.
Blendsmiths reflects our personalities, own your idea and set your stall out. Use your personality to bring it to life, if you have a lousy personality – find people to help.
We’re fortunate to have a bunch of talented friends and family around us, trust me we’ve learnt on them for help from time to time. There are three things to take from this:
- We saved a few pounds at the very beginning by opting for this approach
- Don’t cut corners to help a friend out, only ask for help if the level of an offering is nothing short of excellent
- We were able to showcase the talents of our friends and family, at the same time elevating their profile
If you are thinking about starting a business and your budget is small like ours was, don’t be shy about leaning on people you know – no doubt they owe you a favour or two.
What is your thing?
Our number one objective is ‘affordable quality’.
The market for alternative lattes has been growing positively for a number of years but make no qualms about it, it’s a very foreign concept to most people, especially in the UK.
Blendsmiths had to make an immediate impact with potential customers, otherwise, the possibility was losing them forever.
- Create a product that tastes great, make people want more
- In a world where design is everything, you have to make your product stand out
- Excellent service. Customer service isn’t dead. You’ll be able to count on one hand great experiences from companies you’ve bought from – be on the next hand.
If we couldn’t achieve the above to a high standard, we wouldn’t have launched and the same applies if it’s a new concept to the market or a new product in an over saturated market.
Give your customers a reason to want your products.
“If we don’t have this product, we are missing out”
How many great products are out there that we don’t know about because we didn’t pick them up off the shelf? Wear a yellow sweater amongst a sea of black.
To be continued…..