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Be your own boss

by Charlotte Anderson | Dec 05, 2019

Why now’s the time to set up your business  

With a new year, comes new year’s resolutions and for people with dreams of setting up their own business, it can be the perfect time to take their ambitions from idea to reality.

Traditionally, people set up food and drinks businesses as the warmer months set in; as the great British public come out of hibernation and we see both footfall increase in restaurants, pubs, cafes and coffee shops – as well as people looking for outdoor caterers for their summer markets, festivals and private parties.

With this in mind, winter provides the perfect opportunity to establish your business, to experience the growing pains without a captive audience and to give your business a sold foundation on which to grow and build your reputation.

Where to start?  

One of the main benefits to NCASS membership is the people. No, we’re not tooting our own horns here (although we do think we’re pretty great) – we’re talking about the personal account manager assigned to every member upon joining the association.

Our account managers know this business inside out and have helped quite literally thousands of business owners set-up, grow and scale up their business. This service is invaluable for new and would-be business owners, particularly in the first few months when you’re unsure what equipment and licenses you need, you’ve never cooked for a bigger group than your family on Christmas Day and you’re feeling a little daunted.

Sifting through the formalities  

Setting up your business in the winter gives you a great opportunity to make sure you’re fully compliant before you hit the ground running. There’s no getting around the fact that there’s a lot to sort, but doing it now means that once you start trading, you can be safe in the knowledge that you’re compliant and ready for that all-important environmental health inspection.

Grab a cuppa and have a read of our Winter Admin Checklist right here for our top tips on ensuring compliancy. Doing these things sooner, rather than later, particularly in the quieter months, gives you the opportunity to truly focus on these things without panicking that it’s taking time away from customers, delaying your opening or resulting in your missing out on events.

Marketing and online reviews  

Good marketing and branding are instrumental to your success, which is why doing it quickly and creating your brand in a rush so that you can apply to that event you like the look of next month, isn’t a good idea. Setting up your business when the industry is at its least busy gives you the chance to trial some logos or approaches to social media engagement without it affecting your profitability. As longstanding NCASS member and all-round street food legend, The Rib Man, claimed at last month’s Street Food Live:

“Anyone can sell food in the sunshine, so consider starting your business in the winter and if you can make it work for you, despite the weather, you’ve probably got what it takes to make the business succeed was useful for new or potential businesses.”

Use this time to set up a website, network via social media and consider working with a designer for things like logo and menu design. Ticking all these boxes might feel like a lot of red tape but what you’re really doing is setting yourself up for success. Doing all of this in the winter also means that you can gather some good reviews and advocates ahead of the events season when independent caterers are in particularly high demand.


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