La storia del lancio e del successo dietro il caffè Seasons

Opening your own business can be a daunting task. And to run a successful business, you have to learn from those who have done it before. Starting and running a coffee business requires niche knowledge and the right skills.

Seasons Coffee Founder shares with us how he started the company, challenges he and his team faced and what still keeps them in business.

Seasons Coffee was developed in 2010 by Phillip Illingworth-Binns. After being in the catering industry for over 20 years and running two successful restaurants, he was well-aware of the standard and quality that consumers expect within the hospitality market. Opening his own establishment therefore represented a natural progression, and one that has delivered significant rewards in the six years that have followed.

Why and how Seasons Coffee was started

After changing his career direction from catering to sales within a well-established coffee company, Phil quickly began to discover that he could offer a better product and service by taking the plunge and setting up his own venture. Aided by his range of industry knowledge and the courage of his convictions, he started Seasons Coffee and has not looked back since.

What have been the biggest success factors?

There are many things, but offering training and ongoing support to our customers is one of the most important. Here at Seasons, we offer free barista training to all of our existing clients, and this is one of the unique selling point that affords us a competitive edge in comparison with our rivals.

After all, we understand the crucial role that baristas play in representing a brand and delivering a variety of beverages to the highest possible standard. This requires numerous skills; from strong communication and appreciation of customer service to technical proficiency, and without these attributes you cannot hope to create high quality drinks on consistent basis. After all, you can sell the best and most expensive coffee on the planet, but when executed badly it can damage your business and brand tenfold.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced launching and running Seasons Coffee?

Once again there are many, but the biggest challenge was definitely establishing the business with extremely limited funding and resources, as Phil was forced to act as a one man band and become everything to everyone in a very short space of time. This was overcome by determination and a clearly defined vision, as Phil believes wholeheartedly in his product and its potential in the market.

In fact, it is this challenge that has driven Phil to refine and actively improve his product proposition over time. At Seasons, we work very closely with the private label roastery that we use, and when the green coffee is delivered to them it is tasted by a team of Q graders to ensure it is of sufficient quality.

We only grind freshly roasted coffee beans and always complete this process within 72 hours of roasting. The fineness of the grind is carefully matched to the customers brewing method for best results, creating a product this is truly without equal in the market.

Which do you think is most important: the right market, the right product, or the right team?

Without a shadow of doubt; the right product is king in this industry. Coffee is a very competitive market, while it has also become a very fashionable and yet affordable part of people’s everyday life. Without the right product or a proposition that makes sense to consumers, you will find it almost impossible to achieve success (or a profit, for that matter!)

As Seasons Coffee has grown over the years alongside our ever-expanding catalogue of blends, the team that we employ has also become increasingly important. Customer service is central to everything that we do, and our own unique philosophy dictates that ‘our consumer’s success is our own success.’ This is value that we adhere to at all times, as it is aspiration that continues to unite brands and customers alike.

Final words for aspiring entrepreneurs

Above all else, we would say that the important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure in life is to not try at all, regardless of your ambitions or the precise objectives that you wish to achieve. Once you find something you love to do, strive to become the best at doing it and use this passion to gain a competitive advantage in your chosen marketplace.

Come David Jones e il suo team hanno lanciato con successo Sun Jones (un'agenzia di design creativo e di branding)

Launching any business is hard. Attracting and retaining clients is even harder. In our Founder lessons series this week, David Jones reveals how he launched and successfully built Sun Jones, a creative design and branding agency to help businesses communicate effectively with their target audience.

Sun Jones was founded and it’s managed by David Jones, an entrepreneur who has been in business for over 15 years and has run a number of different businesses in that time, including the UK’s first on-site canvas printing retail outlets. (If you’re wondering where ‘Sun’ comes from, it’s the last name of David’s wife, who has supported David throughout his career).

Sun Jones specialises in design, branding and web design for SME clients across the UK. Clients tend to use Sun Jones when launching a new venture or rebranding an existing business, although we do cater for general design and web requirements too.

Most projects include brand development (brand naming, visual identity, marketing collateral etc.) and designing or redesigning the client’s website. We also work with clients on a regular basis for ongoing design, web and marketing requirements.

David also worked for the UK’s largest photography chain prior to going into business, as well as the UK’s largest high street print franchise. David draws on his experience to provide clients with a well-rounded view on how they can achieve their objectives and goals.

Why and how Sun Jones started

Sun Jones started as a result of David’s passion for design, combined with a focus on helping businesses achieve their goals and objectives. In particular, David found that brand development was a crucial cog in the success of most businesses and decided to hone in the proposition, marketing the business as a specialist in this area, rather than trying to be everything to everyone.

Over time, we’ve developed a structured branding process that ensures a greater chance of success once a project is complete. As Steve Jobs once said, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works”.

What have been the biggest success factors

Since incorporation, we’ve had the good fortune of working with some incredible clients, big and small, and seen the impact of our work on their businesses.

Every client that experiences any form of success, whether it’s an increase in turnover, job creation, client retention etc. is a reflection of the quality of work we carry out and the relationships we’ve developed. For us, there’s no better reward than helping another business succeed.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced launching and running the company

Where to begin? Starting a company is massively challenging in so many ways, but the rewards tend to balance it all out if you get it right. In the early stages, generating a pipeline and building up a client base was the biggest challenge.

Which do you think is most important: the right market, the right product, or the right team?

It’s got to be the right product, hasn’t it? You can have great people and perfect market conditions but if the product isn’t up to standard word will spread very quickly.

Final words for those chasing the startup dream

Starting a new business requires stamina, determination and lots of positivity.

It also helps if you’re well-funded to begin with. Businesses that start with no cash quickly run into cash flow issues, especially if you depend on the business for a salary.

As a rule of thumb, you’ll give your business a much greater chance of succeeding if you can trade for 6 – 12 months without drawing a salary.

Naturally, I would also add that you have to nail your proposition and get your branding and marketing right. Don’t jump straight into getting a logo and website. Take the time to explore what it is you’re offering your customers.

What problem do you help them solve? Spend as much time as you can developing your proposition and in turn, you’ll find it easier to attract the right customers and become a profitable business.