My business partner and I decided to begin visiting coffee roasters. The process started by first compiling as list of our top 5 coffee roaster [See below for our list] We then sent an email out to them explaining what we did and why we wanted to work with them. After arranging back to back meetings with the various roasters we then created as list of what we wanted out of a roaster, whether that was free training, ongoing support, or more importantly if we got on with them.
Life Lesson #10 Relationships are hard work. Take your time to get to know someone. And ask lots of questions. Read more →
One thing I am learning is that things seem to take longer than expected. For someone like me, who is very impatient the delays with the project are very frustrating. One thing that we are now having to deal with is planning consent. Listed building consent is required if a building has special characteristics or features that are worth preserving. The premises that we are looking at have been deemed to have this and for this reason, we’ve had to write a letter explaining what we want to do [See below]
On the 18th of February I gave myself a self imposed timeframe of 2 months. This was the 2 months notice period that my wife had after handing in her notice and for us to decide if we were going to setup our new business or go travelling. The deadline was set. If we didn’t find a premises before the 18th of April, we would go travelling around the world. If we did find a premises, then we would begin our journey as owners of an Espresso and Brew Bar. As it turned out, we had decided to go to Ibiza for a week the day after my wife’s last day at work. A few days before I received the following letter.
As I wait to hear back about the property that we are interested in for my new business. I have had some time to think and reflect. Whilst doing so, I came across this great video from Best-selling author Seth Godin who challenges entrepreneurs to get out of their comfort zones and embrace vulnerability.
I just had an email from my solicitor outlining their fees. [See Below] My initial thoughts were WOW! I’m in the wrong industry. The fee structure is based on my understanding that they are making sure that nothing is missed in terms of the terms of the contract. It all seems very complicated on the one hand and very simple on the other hand. Either way the process of communication has started.
See initial solicitor letter below:
Having seen the property that we want we’ve begun the negotiation process with our property agent. One thing I’ve learnt is that you have know what you want. Stick to you top and bottom line in terms of what you want out of the deal. Essentially the property agent is working on behalf of the landlord and wants to get the best deal at the best price. Remember the following:
It is best to negotiate as much as you can with your agent before instructing your legal team. This will not only save you time, however, more importantly it will save you money.
Life Lesson #6 Stay focused.
After a month or so I finally got to visit a site that my wife and business partner had been interested in for sometime. The location is in a prominent Harrogate location opposite the Royal Baths Complex and near to the Harrogate International Conference & Exhibition Centre. The premises comprise a self contained lock up shop unit with a feature arcaded entrance and display windows with a small store and staff facilities.
The specifications are follows
The property is in need of a total refit and is subject to a listed building consent. I am finding the process rather is rather exhausting in terms of trying to make sure that your figures are correct and whether or not you can afford to move forwards with the project. Only time will tell. It is however a rather exciting time also.
Life Lesson #5 What you think is the right thing, may turn out to be even better.
My wife handed her notice in on the 18th of February. What does that mean? Well it means that what we plan to do with Hoxton.North has become real. We now have 2 months until 18th April to find a premises.
I have also created a self imposed time frame on ourselves so that we can get clarity on what we are doing. This is a great way of completing tasks.
To find out more about setting goals, why not check out. http://lifetick.com/
You can also try reading my ebook ACTION TRIGGERS which is all about getting things done.
Life Lesson #5 Keep things simple
I recently contacted various estate agents to book appointments to view a few premises. Having had high expectations about what I was going to see, I was rather disappointed with the outcome. The premises were smaller than we had anticipated and the location was not in the right place.
This was our first viewing. With retrospect we would have been very fortunate to have found our ideal space on the first viewing. The journey towards finding the right place continues.
Life Lesson #4 Listen to feedback and trust your instincts and the right location will come along.
When it comes to business, I’ve found that you can over think things and not actually focus on the business. The same theory can apply to writing a business plan. There are so many websites, books on the market that suggest that your business plan should a huge document covering every aspect of the business.
This is true in part, however for the vast majority of SME’s, a business plan should be a working organic document that evolves and changes as the business does. The business plan I used for Hoxton.North was a 16 page document that covered the following points:
2.0 Financial Information
3.0 Funding Required
3.1 The Deal
4.0 Market Opportunity
5.0 The Product
5.1 Product Description
6.0 Sales and Marketing
6.1 Sales Strategy
6.2 Target Market Segment Strategy
6.3 Market Needs
6.4 Industry Analysis
7.1 Competitive Edge
8.0 The Business Model
8.1 Buying Patterns
9.0 Management Summary
9.1 Management Team
9.2 Management Team Gaps
I would suggest keeping it short [About 20 pages max] and keeping to the main points.
Life Lesson #3 Keep things simple
It was a few days after New Years day. Everything should have been ok, however I just couldn’t sleep. I’d had this feeling the night before my wedding. The feeling of uncertainty as well as excitement about the future. I realised that something was about to change and I knew that this year was going to be bigger than most. I’d been thinking about the idea of creating a lifestyle space for coffee enthusiasts most of the christmas period.
I started to play around with names that meant something and eventually came up with Hoxton.North - It said what we wanted our space to be. It was a juxtaposition between everything we loved about London and wanted to create up North. The idea and concept would grow over the next few months, however for now, we were happy with our new name. Life Lesson #2 When choosing something be sure you will be happy with it for more than year.
Over the last 10 years I have realised that one thing has been a constant and that has been coffee. As an entrepreneur you tend to spend your time in various places you can call your office. For me London has provided me with various offices that I could call my office away from home.
Since moving to London I have spent many hours in coffee shops working on my various ideas, concepts and business’s. When I was thinking about my next venture it became apparent to me that most of my ideas came when I was in a space that was informal, relaxed and had an atmosphere of collaboration. In London, particularly around the much talked about Silicon Roundabout one can feel this energy in the various cafes, coffee shops and meeting spaces. What I have decided is that what every I create it will be a product or service that is collaborative and engaging. For now the ideas keep coming. Life Lesson #1 Keep Going
Over the last 4 years I have been blogging about the latests news, reviews and opinions on the business, media mobile, technology and social media market space whilst also running my owns business’s. I have come to the realisation recently that one can not serve two masters at once and have therefore decided to focus on writing about my own entrepreneurs journey instead of writing about what else is going on. Don’t get me wrong. I will still write about and comment on things that are of interest to me, however I want to be able to make the website relevant and informative for people to fully understand what is involved in being an entrepreneur.
Over the last few years I have designed, developed and marketed various products under the thinkbigbebig group. All of the ideas have been valid and relevant for their time, however for now in terms of the thinkbigbebig Entrepreneurs website. I shall be writing specifically about what I am doing and what it means to be an entrepreneur. When I first began the blog in 2008 my intentions was to document my journey as an entrepreneurs.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for taking the time to read all of the blog post that I have written. I hope that you will continue to find the blog of interest as I chart my journey and ongoing life lessons.
Great short video about how to stay focused and inspired:
If you are looking for a new stylus that can write both on your iPad and iMac screen, you might be interested in the newly designed iPen2, which is currently over on the Kickstarter website.
iPen 2 is a universal stylus and mouse which has been designed for both iMac and Apple Displays running Mac OS & Windows. Watch the video after the jump to learn more about the iPen2 project and see it in action.
Great video by behindthebrandTV· who interview Tim Ferriss about his new projects. What’s even more exctiting is that I will be going to see Tim Ferriss @ TechHub – StartUp 2013 to talk about his the 4 Hour Ethos. Enjoy this insightful video
When it comes to the New Year there is nothing better than reading a good book. Well today’s book suggestion comes in the form of Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative. The book suggests that you don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side.
When Mr. Kleon was asked to address college students in upstate New York, he shaped his speech around the ten things he wished someone had told him when he was starting out. The talk went viral, and its author dug deeper into his own ideas to create Steal Like an Artist, the book. The result is inspiring, hip, original, practical, and entertaining. And filled with new truths about creativity: Nothing is original, so embrace influence, col- lect ideas, and remix and re-imagine to discover your own path. Follow your interests wherever they take you. Stay smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring—the creative you will need to make room to be wild and daring in your imagination.
You can also check out a short video he did for TED about this below.
As the year of 2012 draws to a close, I wanted to give you an overview of my year. The way I approach my New Years Resolutions is to write them in the first person, past tense. This creates an action orientated mindset that drives you forward to succeed with your goals. I hope you have had a great year? All the best for 2013.
2012 NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS