Innovation and enterprise blog

The British Library Business & IP Centre can help you start, run and grow your business

03 July 2013

Starting a food business

Although 'Cooking Up Success' has come to an end for 2013, we still have some great stories from food and drinks businesses who have a wealth of advice to offer.

Innovating for Growth business, Blueberry Hill, share their story of starting a growing a small business:

"Oh, where to start?!

Setting up Blueberry Hill has been one of the most rollercoaster rides I have ever experienced! 

Neither Ella or I came from a food background, so as we looked at setting up the business, we were starting totally from scratch.  Although this meant we definitely ended up going the long way round on occasions, we have learnt everything together and both have a deeper understanding of how all our business processes work.

Before launching into the partnership we decided to test our working relationship, as although we were friends from university, we knew this doesn't always mean you can work together!

While still working full time, we started slowly by selling some home-baked goods at local markets over weekends. Baking through the night on a Friday after a long week at work tested our stress levels but allowed us to see how we each dealt with customers and the finance side of things. 

After a few months of this, and some long nights writing a business plan we decided to take the plunge, and Blueberry Hill was born.

Photo 4
Blueberry Hill creations

Things change on a daily basis, the business plan gets amended and nothing ever goes quite to plan so it can sometimes feel like a bit of a whirlwind. We have learnt that you have to be flexible and open-minded, but also make sure you stick as much to your plans as possible or it is super easy to get distracted! 

We definitely fell into the trap of starting to work in the business too much and not on the business, and are only really now, one full-time year in, forcing ourselves to step back and look as objectively as possible at what we have achieved. 

Our crucial tips for going into a food business are;

  • Do all the H&S paper work from the start because as you grow it makes life a lot easier;
  • Don't be afraid to following your gut as this is usually right;
  • Make sure you remember to take some time to yourself!"

Rachel Reynolds, co-founder of Blueberry Hill on behalf of Business & IP Centre

Blueberry Hill have taken part in our Innovating for Growth programme which offers London-based small businesses the opportunity to get £10,000 worth of free bespoke advice and support.



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