Here at Clothes2order we love to hear your inspirational business stories! When we started to make the uniforms for the enticingly named Secret Pizza Society, we wanted to find out more about them.
Meet Nick King, the founder of the Secret Pizza Society and hear his insights from creating the business from scratch.
My partner and I recently set up our first business, a Street Food enterprise named Secret Pizza Society. Now I’m sure you can guess what we specialise in – but to elaborate, we use secret ingredients and offer a unique twist on the classic recipes, selling wood fired pizza from our quirky Piaggio Ape van at markets, festivals and special events!
The business came about as we grew ever more disillusioned with the daily rat race, our high pressured jobs and being squashed on the tube! Shortly after the London Olympics we swapped our basement flat in Shepherd’s Bush for the slightly more affordable countryside of Oxfordshire. We’ve been building the business ever since and as we prepare for our January launch I wanted to share with you a few key things that I’ve learnt during setting up the Secret Pizza Society!
1. Write a business plan – but be prepared for your plan to change!
It won’t be the most exciting part of starting your business, but as we found writing a solid business plan, based on lots of research, can be very useful! Ours included everything from marketing strategies through to supplier costs and financial projections. The plan was approved by our accountant and financiers, but since writing the plan it has changed and been updated on an almost weekly basis! As the business develops, you may realise your initial expectations are inaccurate, over ambitious or perhaps even too conservative! We’re constantly adjusting our business to reflect the realities that we encounter, making sure they don’t negatively affect where we want to be. Our business plan has been a consistently useful guide, reminding us of how we’re going to achieve our aims – it’s been a source of confidence and inspiration for us -in taking the business forward.
2. Don’t be afraid to become a Jack of all trades!
If you’re setting up a small, manual business like us, it’s likely you’re going to have to wear a lot of hats – I’d advise you to be bold and face these challenges head on! So far we’ve been; designers, builders, painters, buyers, sales people… and that’s before we even get started on pizzaiolo duties or handling our marketing! Despite the odd frustration and more than occasional errors, these have all been incredibly useful experiences. Not only have we managed to save money across many activities (every penny truly does count!) but we’ve also found that the skills we’ve picked up are very useful in the long run. We may not have known how to build a website, make a chalkboard or fire up a pizza oven six months ago – but we sure do now and that’s just a tiny part of our repertoire!
3. Experience and passion is vital!
The owner of my first workplace once told me that he had only recently had his first decent night’s sleep, four years after starting the company! He had just employed an experienced Financial Officer and said, “I was finally able to relax, now that we’d hired somebody that knows what they’re doing!” That snippet of information stayed with me and I think of it occasionally now, when I’m lying awake either trying to wrestle with health and safety laws or figure out where to source rare ingredients! What has kept me going is the passion I have for what I’m doing. I believe this is vital in any new business. You’ll always be presented with easy-outs, or think of excuses to turn back from what you’re doing. Without really believing in your business, it would be only too easy to return to working 9 to 5 and getting a good nights kip! However the high of getting your first booking, or great comment from a customer more than makes up for it! We’re working with passionate people, who have great knowledge of their products and this has been true everyone from our ingredient suppliers to our oven builder and shock, horror even our accountant! The advice and experience of others has been vital to us and we plan to take full advantage of the relationships we’ve formed in the years ahead.
To summarise, there’s a lot of pressure, no downtime and money is tight, but I wouldn’t change it for the world! Oh and one last thing, do come and see us for an amazing pizza if you’re ever in Oxfordshire. All details can be found at www.secretpizzasociety.co.uk – we’ll hope to see you soon!
If you have a story to tell your fellow Clothes2order customers, we’d love to hear from you! Email us at email@example.com and tell us about you, your company, and your story.