Would you start a business on the back of a bet? When my business partner Udhi Silva, who I co-founded Medical Supermarket with back in 2010, set us the challenge to see if we could set a business up on just £500, I had no idea how this would unravel into a fantastically fun and vibrant fun brand.The Snaffling Pig Co. has created a community and affinity beyond our expectations, and we’re now selling this posh pork crackling to Selfridges and Ocado. This year’s projected turnover of £800,000 has exceeded our expectations too. So, how did it happen?
Raising the betRunning a business gives you a great opportunity to learn a vast number of lessons very quickly. Entrepreneurship is not forgiving and unless you’re willing to adapt and roll with the punches you’ll be out of business quickly. Three years into starting Medical Supermarket, Silva and I had learnt a huge amount and our business was a lot stronger for it. Rod Stewart said it. “I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger,” and the beauty of business is that you can always start again. So we committed £500 each with the plan to each start a company from scratch using the lessons we have learnt to grow them to a £1m turnover businesses within two years.
What the £500 was spent onSilva spent the £500 on starting an off-shore outsourcing business focused at helping UK companies reduce their admin. Based in Sri Lanka, his team of staff are specialising in data collection and aged debtor chasing. I on the other hand wanted to build an fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) business based on a fun, exciting brand that consumers can engage with. I thought about the times when I have the most fun and which products I interact with. Pub + mates + meat snacks = good times. It was then piggin’ obvious that the humble pork scratching had been left unappreciated for years, and, with a cult following, it was perfect for improvement. The £500 went towards finding the right pork scratching supplier to turn my dream into a reality.
What we’ve learntOne of my biggest learnings is that you must surround yourself with people who are far better at their jobs than you are. That’s where Big Andy, my uni mate came in (Andy Allen is The Snaffling Pig Co. “head of mischief”/creative director). He has the ability to bring a brand to life and allows me to focus on the sales and operations side of the company. He came on board very quickly and set to work creating a brand that people fell in love with. With a great concept behind us, we innovated the packaging and turned the humble meat snack into a highly sought-after gift, riding a zeitgeist, by using glass Kilner jars. To be front of house in Selfridges Food Hall within one year of trading is piggin’ exciting. Having a great brand means nothing if you can’t get it out to people. Silva has built a fantastic warehouse operation so we obviously collaborated. That enables us to deliver anywhere in the country next day for free, meaning we have no reliance on wholesalers, making us super-lean operationally. No matter who you are, if you want our product you can get it. There are so many great businesses out there that don’t have the fundamental distribution in place, and they end up covered in dust. That’s not happening to us. Our plan is to go piggin’ stratospheric.
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