Last week on the MOO Twitter account we ran a question and answer session with Fraser Doherty of Superjam. It was nice and simple – just tweet a business advice question with the #askfraser hashtag and we’d send them over to be answered.
We had some great questions come in, discussing lots of different aspects of building a business – from choosing a name to expanding the operation. Here’s Fraser’s advice and answers:
Sirena_m: What are some of the ways you keep yourself from losing control when handling the tough areas of your business?
Running a business can be stressful – there’s nobody there in the morning to make you go to work, there’s nobody to tell you what you need to do next; it’s down to you to motivate yourself to keep going. The way I do that is by making sure that what I am doing absolutely feels like what I should be doing with my life. It sounds cheesy, but if you don’t truly believe in what you are doing, it’s not going to be easy to motivate yourself when things aren’t going so well.
Leemac85: I would love to #askfraser for any tips on pitching a business idea/concept to a panel of entrepreneurs.
You need to be clear on what you are trying to get from the pitch – investment? advice? an order? You also need to be clear on what the other side has to gain from working with you. Take time to understand who they are, what their ambitions are and, if you’re asking people for advice, there’s no point unless you’re willing to actually take on board what they say to you – especially if it’s not what you wanted to hear.
Brackishbowties: What’s the most important thing to focus on when targeting retailers?
The buyer will want to know that your product is going to perform better than whatever they have on the shelves now and that it is going to attract new people to the category, rather than just taking sales away from one of their other lines. You’re also going to have to make them believe that you are going to put a lot of effort into promoting your brand – getting it onto the shelves is one thing, getting people to actually take it off is another!
Mxdbrdmickens: How did you decide the name for your business
I wanted a name that was completely different from all of the very traditional, family names and French names that most of the jam brands have. Something that was fun and that was a reflection of me, my values and what I was trying to do. ‘SuperJam’ to me sounds fun, quirky and it says pretty clearly that we are doing something different to all of the other jams on the shelves!
Rhubarbandrose: Great podcast! What is a typical working day like for you?
Thanks! Nowadays, i’m spending most of my time working on getting into new stores – we now sell SuperJam in 7 countries and later this year will be launching in the US. I also spend time working on new product ideas and also organising SuperJam Tea Parties for the elderly!
MaxwellJohnLove: How important is a name or tagline for a brand? How much time should I spend?
I’m not sure how important a tagline is but it is definitely important that you can summarize your concept in a sentence in language that anyone can understand. If you can’t do that, your idea is either too complicated or you haven’t spent enough time thinking through why anyone should buy it.
Mummymakesfudge: At the moment my kitchen table enterprise is just me – at full capacity! When did you admit you had to expand and how did you do it?
Like you, I got to the point that I couldn’t cook any more jam in my parents kitchen! I wasn’t in a position to set up my own factory so I spent a lot of time finding a factory that believed in my idea and were willing to produce my recipes on a big scale.. maybe you could do the same? Good luck!
TheDIYLibrarian: How many people are now employed by SuperJam?
Since we don’t own a factory, we just have a small team of five people who are working on packaging, international expansion and running the tea parties.
Scottgwd: Lots worry about fear of failure. Did you dream about success and did you fear it?
I meet a lot of people who have an idea for a business but are too afraid to take the first steps of giving it a shot, and that is a real shame. In reality, you shouldn’t have anything to be afraid of – nobody is going to laugh at you, you’re not going to go bankrupt and even if things don’t work out as you’d hoped, trying will be fun and you’ll hopefully learn something. However, there are risks involved, which is why it is important to start small, rather that remortgaging your house!
This interview goes along way to confirm the fact that fear is what stands between success and failure. People have ideas, but they are afraid to take the leap.
And I think this quote by Helen Keller is appropriate: ”Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.”
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