One night, frustrated at having to queue for over 10 minutes at my local pub and missing out on catching up with my friends, we decided there must be a better way to avoid the long waiting times. Orderella was born from this ‘light bulb’ moment, an app designed to end the famous British past time of the queue. Again this is not the start of a joke.
Starting a business is never easy, there are many pitfalls you will experience along the way, but if you have the right idea then you’re a good way there. It may sound simple, but, of course, it never is. The key is not to narrow yourself to just the area you operate in now.
The night we came up with the idea for Orderella, you could have counted on one hand all the things we knew about the hospitality industry. Primarily from an investment background, hospitality was not my forte, but we highlighted a problem that affects us all, no matter what industry we operate in.
We all like a drink, but hate queuing don’t we? Quitting my job was a gamble but I genuinely believed that we’d discovered a real gap in the hospitality industry, even though we didn’t really have the experience apart from being customers. So trust in yourself and don’t let your background hold you back.
For any new company, the first year is always going to be tough and in truth, the odds are actually stacked against you. Around 90% of start-ups fail in their first year, so just to survive your first twelve months is something to be proud of. For us, the first year was all about laying the ground work, not running before we could walk and keeping things simple.
When you have a great idea you want to run at 100 miles per hour, but first you need lay the foundations of your business and do your due diligence. One of the main reasons I think we survived our first year was that we kept everything simple and didn’t try to do too much too early.
We had loads of great ideas for expanding the app’s functionality but to get it off the ground we felt it was important to start doing one thing right and then building from there. Our app is focused on providing consumers with a simple service that lets them order drinks that are available at the pub or bar and avoid queuing.
For the venues themselves, our payment platform takes away the pain of having to handle payments, the only element of a sale that doesn’t offer any value to them and allows them to just focus on improving the customer experience. If you try to do too much too early, it could result in too many spinning plates leaving you stretched and not offering the best service you can. Build your business up slowly and walk before you run.
It’s really obvious advice but try and know everything about the industry you’re in moving in to. Putting in the background research and the leg work now, will inevitably pay off down the line. Go to industry events, join LinkedIn groups, talk to people within your existing networks, read trade media, it all helps.
Also, learn who the big players are, who you have to compete against, but also who you can partner with. We’ve been lucky enough to have secured great partnerships with some big names such as Guinness and Jägermeister, and have even brought the CEO of Jägermeister onto our board in a non-exec role.
A piece of advice I could give all budding entrepreneurs out there is to not be afraid to approach the big names if you genuinely feel you have something that could benefit them. But only do it if you think that will benefit you as well, it has to be a two way street.
I moved to London because it is the best city in the world to start a business. If you have something that fits a gap in the market then the possibilities are endless. It’s all about focusing on planning and ensuring you have the right resources in place to move forward.
Do that and you should be on a solid footing to move forward