Do you remember your first birthday? Nope, well funnily enough, me neither but I do remember Vive’s first birthday and for today’s blog, we thought we’d kick back in the sun, sip a protein smoothie and reflect on our first year as a business. If you’re interested in making a bit of money, would love to run your own business one day or just adore all things food, then read on. If not, read on anyway, or at least leave the page open and pretend to (it helps our Google ranking).
It may be a bit cliché to say that it’s been a rollercoaster ride and here at The BeeVive, we’re not very cliché so for us, the ups and downs have been less a rollercoaster and more like a drunken kangaroo bobbing up and down on a pogo stick. An electronic one at that!
Despite a range of apparently apt business degrees, A-levels and even Scottish Highers behind us, plus a year at The Peter Jones Enterprise Academy in Manchester (see blurry image below), where our co-founders met, tried their hand at a couple of businesses and learnt from some of the brightest and best business people around, we’ve learnt an immeasurable amount in twelve months.
Everything from the importance of hiring the right people (shout out to Emma, our resident Queen Bee), how not to negotiate on margin and how to bore people with a weekly blog about porridge (yes, that’s you - thanks for reading). We're proud of our very start-up nature, providing a happy and fulfilling place to work and have a great working culture. Like a vulnerable carcass lying in a desert, we've had to fight off the vicious vultures feeding on our start-up budget whilst investing in the right opportunities that will genuinely allow us to grow.
That’s before even getting to our good friend, production. Let us just provide a bit of context here: a common way to cut initial costs, reduce workload and focus on the fun, brandy side of things in our industry is to outsource production. Typically, this is to some factory up norf’ with cheap labour, low-cost rent and automation to the extreme. Well quite frankly, now we know why this is such a well-trodden path. In the early days and much like the toys in Toy Story, our machinery was known to come alive when we weren’t there and took it in turns to mess us up as much as they can.
However, like a boxer on the ropes, we learnt how to respond to each blow, stuck true to our high-quality, unique and premium principles and have consequently yet inadvertently, become master engineers in production equipment. We still produce, package and distribute our products ourselves (see pictorial evidence below).
Whilst the ‘Vive Engineering’ arm never quite took off as a concept, we have learnt the importance of what is termed as ‘pivoting’ and that’s why we introduced our hugely successful protein powders earlier this year whilst maintaining our core Vive principles. We’ve also learnt the importance of listening to our customers, retailers and those in the industry and are incorporating these, as well as all our learnings over the last year, into some NPD (that’s New Product Development to you and me) and we’re extremely excited about the next stages in our development. Like, extremely, extremely excited!
Before we really put you to sleep and kill all of your entrepreneurial enthusiasm, we’d like to put it on record that this experience has been the most challenging, yet personally rewarding and all-round best experience of our lives. If there was one thing we could guarantee before we started, it was that it was never going to be easy and if it was, then everyone would do it and we wouldn’t be pushing ourselves enough. After all, as life is all about learning, learning about life.
The road ahead...