StartupStories: Bestowed Kitchen’s Jeremy Wood on learning to say no as a new business

POSTED: 3rd November 2014
IN: Guides

This month street food focused Bestowed Kitchen, star of Aldermore’s Start-up Stories series, has started to explore other opportunities in the world of catering, and learned a few valuable lessons on how to choose which challenges to take on.

undefined“We’ve done a couple of catering events. We did one particular event which was a lot of hard work,” begins Jeremy Wood, reporting, “It was quite a learning curve.”

While Wood is keen to m

ake a name for Bestowed Kitchen in the local food industry, he is starting to look at opportunities more critically to ensure they are a good fit for the business. In particular, he is keen to avoid having to undermine his vision for good quality fresh food due to budgetary pressures, explaining that at one event this month:

“We had to do things that we wo

uldn’t normally do, and be a bit more creative with our ingredients to meet the budget. We had to make compromises that, when we sat down afterwards and reviewed them, we wouldn’t want to make again in the future.”

Beyond the food itself, Wood acknowledge

s that though many new business owners don’t factor their time costs into quotes at first, this strategy isn’t sustainable in the long-run.

“You can’t really run a business if it’s just literally covering ingredients costs and transport costs,” he says, adding, “The kind of events that had a higher budget where we were able to provide quality food and the kind of food we’re passionate about were definitely the ones we found more enjoyable.”

These experiences have given him the confidence to be more selective with the jobs he accepts.

“Don’t be afraid to say no,” advises Wood. “Have the confidence to say no if things aren’t right: if it’s going to compromise your brand or it doesn’t fit with your strategy and where you’re looking to go. That’s quite difficult as a small new business bec

ause there’s that tendency to want to grab every opportunity.”

For example, Bestowed Kitchen have recently been invited to take on a temporary contract in a pre-existing café in the business’ local park, but Wood chose to decline the offer.

“Although it sounds like a great opportunity on paper, we analysed it quite a lot and decided it’s not right for us at the moment,” he states. In particular, he cites inconsistent seasonal footfall and insufficient time for set-up and marketing as practical reasons why the venture might not represent a good business decision.

Wood notes that being in a position to turn down offers is one of the benefits of running a business alongside being in employment.

“There is a hindrance to having a full-time job and trying to run this business, but there isn’t the financial need to take jobs to pay the bills,” he reflects. For those not in this position, the young entrepreneur suggests, “Another thing is having the confidence to push back and say we can’t do it for this budget, but we can do it for this amount.”

Thankfully, the month has also seen some much more promising avenues open up for the business.

“We did some catering for a company in Kings Cross called Emu Australia,” Wood relates, seeing this type of catering job as a great winter alternative to the street food events Bestowed Kitchen focuses on during the summer.

“That could be something we look to do more of in the future: company catering. I think we’ll aim to do more of that in the next two months,” he concludes.

Entrepreneurs, how do you decide which opportunities to pursue for your business and which to turn down? Share your advice with Aldermore on Twitter.

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