Working with your children on a chilly Saturday morning food fair or owning a company employing dozens of skilled people making; branding; packing, selling and much more is to be a risk-taking entrepreneur.
Competition is vital to any market, keeping it fresh and its product vital to customers. It encourages new generations of any age to enter the market with a belief that they can make a difference. And consumers, always attracted by signs shouting NEW, INNOVATIVE and FRESH will be tempted to try something different and maintain their interest in the particular sector. However, while a new idea need not reinvent the wheel, it should at best make something extraordinary out of the ordinary.
Market to museum
Innovative thinking revolutionises markets. For example, while still a schoolboy in Scotland Fraser Doherty breathed new life into the jam market with his SuperJam products. Boasting the tagline 100% Fruit, Fraser has seen his Gran’s secret recipe go from being sold at local markets to being exhibited in the National Museum of Scotland labelled as an ‘Iconic Scottish Food Brand’, and all within ten years.
Fraser has now launched a line of SuperHoney and SuperTeas to ‘go with beautifully with cakes, scones and jams’, runs free tea and scone dances for the elderly and is a popular speaker at business events.
The rise and rise of farmers’ markets, food festivals and celebrity chefs has awaken a fierce interest in organic produce; home-grown ingredients and provenance. All this has created endless opportunities for new businesses, often started in a home kitchen with business plans mixing with homework on a kitchen table covered in a fine layer of flour, a reminder of the 200 cupcakes made for tomorrows farmers’ market.
Creating a new company need not break the bank. Well-known national and global brands set up in the past few years conceived in home kitchens include chocolate maker Louis Barnett Chocolate – made in Shropshire, England and sold around the world including the home of chocolate, Mexico, and Birmingham-based Moorish. Julie Waddell began Moorish by making smoked humous at home for her young family and now has a range of smoked dishes including with lemon and dill, chilli harissa and aubergine in many outlets including Waitrose, Ocado and Fortnum & Mason. Such innovation and success encourages other budding entrepreneurs to get going and keeps the marketplace fresh and exciting.
Many cash-rich, larger companies leave the innovation to smaller, more adaptable companies who are less averse to risk and have smaller corporate structures allowing decisions to be made quickly. Through buying the smaller company, the larger enterprise buys a proven track record of success, innovation and sales without having to spend on risky research and development or a product that may well fail in the marketplace. Far better to buy a single, risk-taking company incubated in a home office than spend heavily on many ideas and ‘innovations’, many of which will be quickly consigned to market history.