Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Georgina Phillips, director of The Condiment Company Ltd., located in West Marden, Chichester, West Sussex, UK.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are Condiment manufacturers making a wide range of sauces from Mayonnaises, dressings, and other traditional sauces to ketchup, BBQ sauce, pesto's, alcoholic drinks mixers, and ever-increasing scope of plant-based, vegan, free from, and reduced sugar equivalents. We manufacture in small batches for our own brand but also have a wide and varied range of bespoke customers that sell under their own brands in all the major UK supermarkets as well as independents. This keeps us very busy, the job is very varied and no day is the same. It is great and very rewarding to walk through both supermarket aisles and the food hall at Harrods and see products that have come from our facility.
Tell us about yourself
I always wanted to run a business, and I first got into this after moving away from 5 years of banking after having my first child. I started one day a week helping out with marketing when we were tiny, in a small rented industrial estate built for a start-up business - totally unsuitable for what we were doing. I initially joined as a Director to help out my Dad, who was then MD, as he wanted to grow the business. As the Commercial Director, we've gone from 5 employees to 25. We moved to a new purpose-built factory seven years ago and have since added an extension, a storage building, and are about to start work on some more facilities to help our expansion. My main role I always look at as the one listening to problems, complaints, issues, and stresses and helping to resolve them. Despite being at the top of the management pile, I see all of us working for the team of guys in production, making sure they have something to make, the equipment, ingredients, and packaging in to make it, and the skills to make it to the best of their ability. It gives you a great sense of achievement when customers compliment you on the products you make, and you achieve your daily, weekly, or monthly goals.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
It sounds funny, but one of the biggest things is having a workforce that are happy and positive, and this makes everything else work just a little bit better. Winning new contracts is always fantastic, but it's more rewarding when you see the final products go out the door, from development with our Chef to labeling, packaging, and dispatching it out of the door.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing goes back to decision-making, whether hiring or firing staff, buying a new computer system, or seeking investment for future projects; there is no crystal ball. Everyone has an opinion; it is finding your way and making decisions that are right for you and your business. We all make wrong decisions too, but this adds to the knowledge we base future decisions on.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
I guess that old saying of don't run before you can walk. We all hear of young businesses that suddenly go from nothing to major brands but often back story if the 5 or 10 years of work towards that point. Having said that, never give up; if it's something you believe in, go for, there will be knockbacks, but that adds to the knowledge base for future decisions. Lastly, listen to people that have knowledge that could help you. They may be someone in production that has thought of a better way to do something or even a competitor that has a small nougat of information you haven't thought of, don't be afraid to change your mind about what you're doing to make it better!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Make sure you have some fun!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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