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EXECUTION Let’s grow an ice cream business!

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Walter Hay

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Although you obviously know what you are doing I like the idea of growing your own knowledge of the process and gaining a lot more hands on experience.

This will equip you with the ability to choose what is really best for your business development.

Having your eggs in more than one basket is clearly working for you, and it could even be the best way to go. It might be a shame to cease any one avenue when they are working so well for you.

I can see you with a nationwide chain in the future.

If you do decide to go down the franchising route, read again Chapter 5 Franchise Law and Franchise contracts, particularly the reference to being sure to use the services of a real developer, not one of the countless brokers who claim to be developers.

Walter
P.S. The US developer that I mention could probably handle the process for you in the UK and save you a lot of money.
 

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PapaGang

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a lot of the wholesale has lead to more and more opportunities and help spread my brand in the area with people keen to advertise the fact that they are stocking my ice cream. With that said, I think it is sound advice to cut this.

For the food truck, I think it has one more season left in it before it gets relegated to events.
Amazing job!

I know a retailer that closed his wholesale sauce accounts because he realized that people were buying the product somewhere else and not visiting his main store, where he sold a lot more stuff. He realized that if he made his store the ONLY place to get the product, he could sell them other things besides his famous sauce. Result: more $ spent per customer visit.

Also, the food truck is a great way to venture out to new locations to spread the word. It's a great marketing tool for you and an easy way to scout new areas for expansion by looking at sales figures.
 

Tony100

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Oct 11, 2020
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Small update:

I've formally put in an offer for a second shop, roughly double the size of my existing shop. Still hasn't been formally accepted, but the parties seem very keen and I think everyone involved is quite happy with the terms and the prospect of me being there. Still, time for things to go wrong.

I've also hired a full-time gelato maker to hopefully take over all of the production and looking at a part-time position to also help completely free me from production and also add some more elements to our product range. They are both around 50 years old, so it's very interesting seeing older vs younger hires. Probably worth a whole thread of its own.

I'd also identified a third shop in another location, it's a great spot but already had an offer on it. However, the estate agent told me he thinks the deal is going to fall through. We shall see. It would be a big stretch on top of another stretch anyway, but I just can't help myself with trying to grow things and take on new stuff.

I feel that I might as well try and fill up my pipeline and that creating all this extra demand can only be good for the business, but I do feel like I have taken a big bite and forgotten my dentures at home. Which brings me to my biggest issue: managing supply.

I haven't been able to find a really suitable location to move production to yet and I am sort of running out of time. I potentially have the staff to manage the expansion but I soon won't have the space to do it. This is always the case, there is always a bottleneck and this year it's been nothing but going from bottleneck to bottleneck.

I am holding out to hear about a location that has the potential to be really good, but the person has gone cold. I also have a somewhat inadequate backup plan, which involves just asking my current landlord to use more space. This is the most can kick-y of the approaches but one that might have to do for this summer.

Overall things are good, at least things are making money and ticking along, just needs a few big pushes before we really reach some altitude.
Congrats on your progress. I just enjoyed reading your story.

What size space are you after for production? I'm not sure which part of the UK you are in but there is likely to be flexible space nearby. industrials.co.uk flexspace.co.uk (I've never used these 2 sites so can't recommend them) You're growing, need to find somewhere quickly and probably can't forecast the next few years accurately so flexible space might be suitable.

I run a wholesale (non food) business - our first premises was a 400 sq ft on a flexible business park. We later took on 2 further units on this business park bringing our total up to about 900 sq ft. They were all on one month rolling leases so when we ran out of space again, we only had to give one month notice on all 3 units.

We moved again in Nov-2020 to a different business park taking on one unit at 2000 sq ft on a flexible 3 month rolling contract. Unfortunately, recently the landlord has said they will increase the rent by 30% later this year so we're looking to move again. I suppose the downside of flexible space is that the flexibility goes both ways. If we refuse the increase, they can just give us 3 months notice. However, the first business park we were at was fantastic and never increased the rent, they were a local organisation.

Now I'm trying to decide whether to use flexible space again or sign a 3 year lease on a warehouse and benefit from the lower rent. Anyway, I hope the above info can be of use.

Lastly, maybe you've heard of it but realla.co.uk is a good site for finding commercial property.
 

Brrr

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Congrats on your progress. I just enjoyed reading your story.

What size space are you after for production? I'm not sure which part of the UK you are in but there is likely to be flexible space nearby. industrials.co.uk flexspace.co.uk (I've never used these 2 sites so can't recommend them) You're growing, need to find somewhere quickly and probably can't forecast the next few years accurately so flexible space might be suitable.

I run a wholesale (non food) business - our first premises was a 400 sq ft on a flexible business park. We later took on 2 further units on this business park bringing our total up to about 900 sq ft. They were all on one month rolling leases so when we ran out of space again, we only had to give one month notice on all 3 units.

We moved again in Nov-2020 to a different business park taking on one unit at 2000 sq ft on a flexible 3 month rolling contract. Unfortunately, recently the landlord has said they will increase the rent by 30% later this year so we're looking to move again. I suppose the downside of flexible space is that the flexibility goes both ways. If we refuse the increase, they can just give us 3 months notice. However, the first business park we were at was fantastic and never increased the rent, they were a local organisation.

Now I'm trying to decide whether to use flexible space again or sign a 3 year lease on a warehouse and benefit from the lower rent. Anyway, I hope the above info can be of use.

Lastly, maybe you've heard of it but realla.co.uk is a good site for finding commercial property.
Probably 1000sqft for now and the next 12 months, ideally 2000sqft to really future-proof it.

The 2k sqft seems like a particularly awkward size to find, at least in a 30-minute radius from me, checked the links you sent but unfortunately they don't really seem to cover my area much.

Thanks for sharing your experiences though, it's always good to hear how other people are doing things. I don't mind the idea of flexi space, but to be honest there is quite a substantial investment required on my part (eg. three phase plugs, walk in fridge & freezer, sinks & plumbing) that I would like to find somewhere that is a bit more settled.

And yeah, realla is great and always use it to look at retail units in areas although estate agents have told me that the pricing is sometimes completely off.
 

Tony100

Contributor
Oct 11, 2020
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UK
Probably 1000sqft for now and the next 12 months, ideally 2000sqft to really future-proof it.

The 2k sqft seems like a particularly awkward size to find, at least in a 30-minute radius from me, checked the links you sent but unfortunately they don't really seem to cover my area much.

Thanks for sharing your experiences though, it's always good to hear how other people are doing things. I don't mind the idea of flexi space, but to be honest there is quite a substantial investment required on my part (eg. three phase plugs, walk in fridge & freezer, sinks & plumbing) that I would like to find somewhere that is a bit more settled.

And yeah, realla is great and always use it to look at retail units in areas although estate agents have told me that the pricing is sometimes completely off.
I'm struggling too with finding this size workshop. I think it is because of how well online businesses have been doing during the pandemic, it is increasing the demand for workshops. If I had the money I would be building 1000-2000 sq ft workshops to rent out.

Fair enough, I see why you want somewhere more long term. Though some of these flexible places you can choose a longer lease length up to 5 years so don't rule it out if you come across somewhere. You could search whittlejones.com too (again, never used them so can't recommend)

Someone introduced me to a guy who grew a family business into a £100 million a year distribution business. His advice for signing leases while growing was to find a warehouse on a business park with lots of neighbouring units. So if you have to sign a 3 year lease on a 1500 sq ft warehouse and outgrow it after a year, you can rent a neighbouring unit as well for the remaining 2 years.

Have you read Duncan Bannatyne's book by the way? He had some badass moments guarding his territory while running his ice cream business lol. It's a good read.
 

Brrr

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Update on the business.

Production
I was waiting on the person to get back to me on renting out his space. 1 text, 2 texts, 2 texts & a call, 3 texts & 2 calls. Nothing. He came to my shop to say he would show me around the next day, sure enough, he didn't show up.

I was feeling really deflated about the whole situation but in the meantime, a brand new unit came up. Great location, great price (same as I am paying now), and about 5/6x bigger than the space I currently have. I called the estate agent and had a viewing the same day. Sometimes you just know that something is exactly right and it was ticking all the boxes so I basically made an offer there and then.

I sent the email that same evening outlining the terms and then later in the week spoke to the landlord about the place. She already knew my business, which always helps and we seem to be moving ahead with it already. Hoping to get the paperwork done in the next 4-5 weeks and move in a couple of weeks after that.

Big lesson: Keep your options open, even if you have a really good lead you have to cover yourself and give yourself options. It's really hard to look at a "worse" option rather than "hope" for the best, but pragmatism wins the day in the end.

Sales
Sales are still decent, weather has been shocking in the UK, but it's given me some breathing space to do other stuff. Hoping to reopen my food truck soon which should take everything up a gear as well. It's nice that this can run so well without me being there every second.

Waiting to hear back from my second shop as my solicitor found some things on the initial agreement that were not great (feels good to finally have found someone good at this) so I've had to push it back a second. Hopefully this still all goes through alright.

Next steps
The future challenges are going to be almost all to do with organising everything and bringing everything I've been building into some kind of order. Creating systems and having the right kind of hires in the next 6 months is going to be very important. It's very weird having things still be so fluid with their timeline, but frankly I don't have the experience to really put some hard numbers on when each thing should happen in the next 3 months (and a lot of it is out of my hands).

Additionally, the more time passes the lower the financial pressure of undertaking both projects at the same time will be but I feel like I should always be a bit ahead of where I actually am.

I find that you get to the point where it's almost 50:50 on actual problems vs psychological management of oneself. Luckily I feel like I am getting better at both.

If anybody has any good book (or other) recommendations on building up teams and systems, I'm all ears.
 

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