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22
May
Entrepreneur Interview
My entrepreneur of the week is Declan Droney, Business Mentor and founder of Kinvara Organic Smoked Salmon: www.kinvarasmokedsalmon.com | www.declandroney.com

I met Declan in 2001 at the Organic show at Olympia. We were both at a similar journey in launching our products into the UK food market.
I have watched his business escalate and succeed over the past 14 years and now he not only runs numerous SME’s but is also a business tutor, mentor and advisor.

Q 1:
What are the biggest challenges in your business?
A1: “ The banks (funding), Route to market: from producer to consumer and narrowing that gap. At the moment the producer and the consumer have no direct connection, they are both reliant on the distributor to put the product on the shelf. (My new business aims to change this)”

Q 2:
What is the most important piece of advice to someone starting a business?
A2: “ Don’t get it perfect, get it started; Engage with your early adopters: the first people to buy your product: engage with them and ask what problem is it solving? And what need is it filling?”

Q 3:
Did you use a strategy to map out your business? If yes, what strategy would you suggest?
A3: “ My strategy was to be the most prominent organic smoked salmon brand in the UK but in hindsight, it should have been aligned to a financial goal and should not have the risk of currency exchange exposure (Euro to UK sterling)”

Q 4:
How is the food business different now from when you started?
A4: “It actually is not; the difference is that the consumer needs have changed, regarding information about the product they are purchasing, and this change and need needs to be recognized and fulfilled”

Q 5)
Which course would you recommend to future entrepreneurs?
A5: “ I would not recommend any course apart from Lean start up and the business model canvas. A good knowledge of financial statements is essential. The biggest learning is a mindset change.

Last bit of advice?
“Understand the difference between a ‘hunter’ and a ‘farmer’ mindset in the business sense; know which one you are. If you are a hunter, you are more comfortable with the natural chaos of a start up. If you are more of a ‘farmer’ you will be better at managing a business after the growth phase; the farmer sways more towards consistency and everyday running.”

Be comfortable with mistakes; mistakes provide phenomenal learning!
Business advice by Pina Patane: www.optimumentrepreneur.com

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