The Entrepreneur’s Cookbook: recipes for starting a business

Starting a business isn’t quite as simple as whipping up a quick omelette. We’d say it’s more like making a soufflé – unpredictable, exhilarating, and with fantastic rewards if you get it right. But how can you avoid getting your fingers burnt when starting up a business?

Worry not – we’ve spoken to some top food entrepreneurs about their secret recipes for start-up success. Whether that’s a way to make your brand stand out, the importance of believing in your own method, or getting customers rooting for you, our experts share their advice for a business that turns out right every time.

Believe in what you’re doing

Justin Clarke is the MD of Taste Festivals, a global food festival that brings together the top restaurants and chefs. His advice is to have a product that means something. Use your passion to build a following, be prepared to listen and shape your product based on your customers, but more then anything to believe in what you’re doing.

Differentiate yourself

Paul Lindley is the founder of Ella’s Kitchen, a leading children’s food brand. His believes that building a brand that people love comes from differentiating yourself, and communicating what you offer that others don’t.

Know your story

Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley are the founders of the brand Hemsley & Hemsley and are recipe bloggers for Vogue. They advise living and breathing your product’s story – that way, people will understand it right off the bat.

Know your market

Rose Price is the head buyer for Ocado, one of the UK’s leading online supermarkets. Her key ingredient for success is knowing your market and your unique selling point – in order to get through the door of the retailer you want to trade with, you need to be better than your competitors.

Learn to delegate

Nick Birkett of Poncho8 left his job in the City to co-found Poncho8, voted best burrito in London by the Evening Standard. He believes that delegating is key – we all have blind spots, but we don’t always realise what we’re bad at.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes

Simon Preece is the Director of Effectiveness at Elmwood Design, the world’s most effective brand design consultancy. He advises thinking about what your product makes people feel, and what they want to do as a result.

Do your homework

When pitching a story or seeking coverage, it’s vital to know who you are approaching – that’s the advice of Mina Holland, Editor of Guardian Cook. She advises researching their publication, and the types of columns and features they’re likely to run.