Use algorithms to scale your startup

Calling all cheese lovers, this Sound Recommendation podcast episode is very for you!

Ed Hancock is single-handedly revolutionising the dairy business by providing his clients a novel cheese expertise.

cheesegeek, his subscription enterprise, makes use of a fancy algorithm to ship clients new cheeses each month, tailoring the choice to swimsuit their particular tastes.

By integrating a excessive stage of know-how into this enterprise mannequin, cheesegeek just isn’t solely creating a greater, extra personalised buyer expertise. It’s additionally chopping down on meals waste and taking a look at scaling up in a sustainable approach.

Ensure you have your cheese and crackers prepared for this episode.

Right here’s what we cowl:

For the love of cheese!

Bex Burn-Callander:

Ed, so great to have you ever on the present. And so excited to speak about cheese for the subsequent hour.

Thanks for being right here.

Ed Hancock:

Thanks very a lot for having me.

And once more, the chance for me to speak about cheese for an hour is totally pleasant.

Bex Burn-Callander:

Effectively, possibly we’ll begin with that.

So inform me about your ardour for cheese. How lengthy have you ever been, is it a turophile? What was the phrase you informed me, the official time period for a-

Ed Hancock:


Bex Burn-Callander:

How lengthy have you ever been a turophile?

Ed Hancock:

I’m formally a turophile. I’ve most likely been a turophile now for over 25 years.

I imply, I’ll have been a turophile for even longer, however form of unaware of it.

However the clearest reminiscence I’ve was once I was 11, going to France with my dad and mom, going to the primary tremendous eating restaurant I’d ever been to.

And after the meal, the cheese trolley obtained wheeled out, and I used to be simply blown away.

I used to be like, “What is that this? What are all these?” I’ve by no means seen something prefer it, I’ve by no means smelt something prefer it, the colors, shapes, sizes.

However then the knowledgeable who was wheeling them out, his data of the cheeses and the quantity of data on all of them was simply unbelievable.

And I stated, “That is a lot extra thrilling than pudding.”

And so from that second on I grew to become a little bit of a cheese nerd, I suppose.

After which I had the nickname, cheese monster, just about from then on via college and college. I’d at all times have a bit of first rate cheese within the fridge regardless of how skint I used to be.

It simply grew to become a trademark, should you lived with me, you knew there’d be cheese that shouldn’t be within the fridge, that was far too costly for a scholar with no cash.

It was at 11 years previous, that was positively, I believe, the reminiscence I’ve of that second, the “A-ha” second the place I used to be like, cheese is fairly wonderful.

Always remember your passions—you possibly can at all times revisit them later in life

Bex Burn-Callander:

However for many of your life, it’s been a ardour, however positively one thing that was not entwined together with your profession. You went off and you probably did different stuff.

So how did you find yourself combining your day job with this ardour?

Ed Hancock:

So once I was 13 years previous, you went to highschool, you’d do your topics, you then get to A-levels, and also you get to choose a brand new topic, which sounded fairly thrilling.

I believed economics sounded thrilling as a result of it sounded a bit totally different.

I used to be bored of the themes I’ve been doing up till then. And you then’re form of geared in direction of college.

Everybody’s like, “Proper, you’ve obtained to go to uni. Which uni do you need to go to?” It’s not like, do you need to go to uni? It’s robotically, which uni are you going to go to.

You will have the careers chat, which is mostly should you’ve been to the sort of college I went to, the careers chat is, “Effectively, your choices are finance, economics, accounting, medication.”

It’s a really small group, so everybody’s simply doing the identical factor.

So that you don’t actually have an opportunity to consider what else is on the market. You’re residing on this fairly tunnel imaginative and prescient existence. And I used to be funnelled in that approach.

So I went to uni, learn economics, got here out, went into finance. That was sort of what was anticipated all spherical and I didn’t actually give it some thought.

So for 12-15 years in finance, cheese was my night and weekend pastime.

Once I say pastime, I imply simply consuming cheese or going out and exploring, looking for new cheeses, however I used to be taking place a really, very conventional profession path.

However to reply your query, how did they loop again and intertwine?

Effectively, I believe 10-12 years down the observe and I sort of achieved what I got down to obtain faster than I believed. So I believed, 30-40 years within the business, however I most likely obtained there a bit of bit faster, and it gave me an opportunity to have a little bit of a pause for reflection.

Over time, I had been getting actually into the neuroscience of decision-making, how our brains sort of dictate quite a lot of our feelings that we really feel once we’re making choices.

Whether or not that be making good choices or unhealthy choices, but in addition that sort of spilled over into shopper behaviour and the way shoppers make choices, which in flip spilled over into why nice manufacturers change into nice shopper manufacturers.

So it actually obtained me enthusiastic about understanding the DNA of nice manufacturers.

I imply, there are many little tales I may put in right here, however I believe total to reply your query, the love of cheese has at all times been there. The love of nice shopper manufacturers actually developed and constructed.

Then I simply obtained to some extent in my profession the place I used to be prepared for one thing and the 2 form of got here collectively.

I simply thought, I need to get up on Monday morning and be tremendous enthusiastic about my week. And that was the naive little bit of me, pondering, “Oh, beginning a enterprise could be so thrilling. I’ll be my very own boss. I’m going to like Mondays.”

And you then realise fairly shortly that really you may get pleasure from your Monday mornings a bit extra, however you get pleasure from your weekends much less since you’re engaged on them.

That’s the background story to how I obtained from the place I used to be to cheese.

And it’s an enormous soar. I doubt anybody’s ever carried out that.

In search of out a brand new profession earlier than you’re pressured to

Bex Burn-Callander:

However was there a tipping level, as in was there only a actually unhealthy day on the workplace the place you had been like, “I simply don’t need to have a look at investments once more,” or did you get a subscription field or one thing else and suppose, “Why can’t they get this for cheese?”

Was there a quick sort of that’s it, I’ve reached the tip of this highway?

Ed Hancock:

There have been three issues, and so they had been sort of coming from totally different angles, however they converged on the identical level.

So primary was my native cheesemonger had closed down, and I used to be pressured to look elsewhere, and my native cheesemonger was nice as a result of I obtained to know them, I felt fairly comfy, and I loved cheese, however knew little or no about it.

Definitely not an knowledgeable in any approach.

So I began having to look additional afield and I began realising it’s truly fairly an intimidating business by way of 60 cheeses specified by entrance of you.

Often while you’re shopping for cheese, it’s the weekend or Christmas once they’re busy, so that you don’t actually have time to remain and chat. It’s simply not the expertise that I used to be used to.

So then I began attempting to discover supply cheese, and it was horrible.

So I believe that was one factor that obtained me pondering.

I believe the second factor was I learn a e book known as The place’s My Cheese, and that may be a full coincidence that the e book had cheese in it.

It’s extra a e book about form of fascinated by your profession and also you as an individual. And it’s about two mice and one mouse may be very joyful to eat his pile of cheese till it’s completed on this maze after which has no thought what to do, and he’s going to need to starve.

And the opposite mouse who realises this cheese is about to expire and goes trying to find new cheese earlier than it’s too late.

That form of struck residence with me. I felt that I needed to do one thing earlier than I used to be pressured, both as a result of I used to be sad or no matter it may be. I believed now’s the time to pre-empt that and try to search for one thing totally different to do.

The ultimate one was I used to be at a wine tasting, and so they had tremendous wines out.

The wines had been unbelievable, however the cheese was terrible.

I requested the man there, “The place’d you get the cheese from?” And he stated, “It’s from the grocery store subsequent door.”

I simply thought, “Wow, we’re tasting £40 bottles of wine and the cheese might be value a few quid.”

These had been three issues that basically stood out by way of issues that made me suppose, I may most likely do one thing higher right here.

Not making a call is the worst resolution you can also make

Bex Burn-Callander:

And the place did you begin?

So that you sort of thought, proper, I do know there’s a greater option to get individuals actually wonderful, top of the range, scrumptious cheeses, however what was the sort of the 1st step on this journey?

How did you get the entire thing off the bottom?

Ed Hancock:

The very primary step was I known as one in every of my finest good friend’s wives.

She’s a graphic designer, an unbelievable graphic designer. And I stated, “I’ve obtained this concept. I’m going to do cheese, however higher than anybody else.”

And I’m going to get the UK enthusiastic about artisan cheese as a result of although it’s solely 4 years in the past, even now to be sincere, there’s practically a thousand British kinds of cheese, however individuals may most likely solely title 5 or 6 of them, if that.

So there’s simply large disconnect.

So I used to be like, “I’m going to get individuals enthusiastic about cheese. Are you able to carry this to life? We’d like this to visually look very totally different from simply being a web-based cheese store.”

So she began to carry it to life, which made it fairly thrilling.

So I used to be very lucky to have her to drop an electronic mail to, and he or she put some concepts collectively, put the branding collectively and the brand.

In order that form of introduced it to life.

Then past that, I then simply ordered an enormous fridge and obtained it delivered to my mum’s home.

There’s going to be a theme right here.

So I’m an enormous believer in, you’re employed via your course of of creating a call, however you then’ve obtained to drag the set off and decide. So I don’t sit on choices for a very long time. I am going via my course of, after which I do it as a result of that approach you study rather a lot faster.

In case you make a foul resolution, you study from it.

However not making a call is the worst factor you are able to do, so not doing something. So I made a decision I used to be going to do that factor.

I obtained a fridge delivered to my mum’s home. It arrived on her driveway, and he or she regarded actually, actually unwell. The blood drained from her face. I believe it was two issues.

It was one, “Oh my gosh. What are you doing together with your steady profession that I’d encourage you to do in your complete life?”

And quantity two was, “This fridge actually doesn’t seem like it’s going to suit via my doorway.”

So fortunately it did nearly match, it chipped a little bit of the paint off, which I nonetheless want to repair, however I’ll get spherical to it.

So I had the fridge, obtained the gear, we put the web site up, which we constructed for £500, which is wonderful once I look again now.

Then I simply actually spent quite a lot of time on Google determining the place to get cheese from, easy methods to wrap it, as a result of I didn’t know easy methods to wrap cheese. I didn’t even know easy methods to lower cheese, there are particular methods of chopping and breaking down a cheese, and I simply learnt on the job.

When the primary order got here via in September 2017, I actually thought to myself, “Why have you ever ordered cheese from us as a result of I don’t know what I’m doing?”

However this beautiful woman ordered some cheese, on a three-month subscription, which I’ll always remember when that order got here via, and it was simply studying on the job.

That’s all it was, it was studying on the job.

However it was getting the primary issues in place to power us to maintain transferring ahead, onto the subsequent step, and also you simply hold taking the subsequent step till both it’s apparent it’s not going to work, or it turns into clear that it’s value attempting and taking one other step.

And we at all times obtained that.

So each time we did one thing else or tried one thing totally different or took a step ahead, we obtained the suggestions that the shoppers had been , that we had been getting the visitors, we had been getting orders and so that you simply hold going.

And that’s the very early levels of that began.

Market analysis doesn’t work for all companies

Bex Burn-Callander:

Did you do quite a lot of market analysis?

I imply, did you suppose, as a result of clearly you’re biased, you’ve liked cheese because you had been 11 years previous, however how do you know that there have been going to be sufficient individuals on the market that needed greater than the grocery store providing?

Ed Hancock:

I’ve a perception, and this doesn’t apply to everybody essentially or each enterprise that you simply begin or go into.

However I do have the idea that while you consider in one thing, and also you consider it to be pioneering, and also you don’t consider anybody else is doing what you’re doing—which is actually what I really feel with this.

Whether or not you have a look at the tech or the expertise or what we’re attempting to do for the complete business, versus simply our personal enterprise.

I believe generally it may be very exhausting for individuals to actually grasp the entire scale of what you’re attempting to do and so market analysis could be difficult, as a result of how do you body a query or a set of questions that adequately replicate what you are attempting to attain?

That in itself turns into a problem and sophisticated.

Under no circumstances am I equating what we’re doing to Apple, however should you hearken to the founders of Apple talking 30 years in the past, they speak about this.

They are saying we didn’t actually do market analysis.

What we did was we had an insatiable or unwavering perception that what we had been doing was wanted and vital for society, and we simply relentlessly went out and produced a product that we knew individuals would love.

So I get that that’s most likely the minority as a result of it appears possibly a bit reckless, however that’s how we’ve approached it.

We haven’t carried out heaps and plenty of market analysis.

While you don’t have an enormous amount of cash, there’s a value to it as effectively, and also you don’t know whether or not you’ve carried out the market analysis in the fitting approach, so it will possibly create extra questions.

So for us, we felt so positive and assured in what we had been doing.

Like I stated, we had been drip-feeding new issues on a regular basis, and we had been getting suggestions.

We had been getting clients coming again, and we had been getting phrase of mouth. We may see it from the place the orders had been getting positioned.

For instance, Manchester.

We had been seeing a great deal of orders in Manchester as a result of clearly individuals had been speaking about us. So we simply stored going, we simply stored getting in that approach.

I’ve by no means actually believed in investing rather a lot in market analysis. I’ve simply believed in “Let’s put collectively an unbelievable product that we consider goes to vary the face of cheese and let’s simply not lower any corners, and we’ll study fairly shortly if it’s not going to work.”

It takes a village to construct a scalable enterprise

Bex Burn-Callander:

You had been saying ‘we’ rather a lot.

Is that simply behavior, as a result of was it simply you at that time?

Ed Hancock:

Have you learnt what? That is fascinating as a result of another person stated precisely the identical factor to me not too long ago.

So the concept for this, it was me, simply utterly me, however I’ve at all times been one to attract on experience and abilities from throughout me to construct the enterprise collaboratively, whether or not it’s constructing an internet site, whether or not it’s operations, logistics.

I actually make an effort to make sure that it feels collaborative.

So I believe that’s most likely why I at all times use the time period ‘we’, and ‘we’ in the beginning meant me and my mum.

Then it meant me, my mum and Amy, after which Wealthy, after which Annabelle who joined later.

Now, ‘we’ is simpler as a result of ‘we’ means the corporate and the 14 or 15 of us.

However I believe that’s why I at all times use ‘we’ as a result of sure, it’s my thought, I began the enterprise, however from the very early stage it couldn’t have been carried out with out the those who have joined us on the journey. I like ‘we’, it’s good. It looks like a household, like a group.

The challenges of cheese—it’s a residing organism in spite of everything

Bex Burn-Callander:

You’ve made so successful of this in a extremely quick time. I noticed that, I believe final yr you turned over £1.5m. That’s wonderful, that was in simply 4 years.

That’s actually attention-grabbing, that fulfilment problem, as a result of I didn’t realise that cheese was extra specialist than possibly one other kind of meals supply or one other kind of subscription enterprise.

Are you able to inform me a bit about what makes it so troublesome handy this over to another person to package deal and submit?

Ed Hancock:

So to start with, a bit of cheese is sort of a residing and respiration factor.

So simply to make use of one instance, you’re taking a one kilo wheel of Brie.

So the minute you narrow into that cheese it begins to very, very slowly degrade. It’s now not ripening. It’s now you’ve stopped the ripening course of and this piece of cheese is rarely going to get any higher. It’s truly going to begin getting barely worse on an ongoing foundation.

So actually what your problem is, is to say, “I need you to be consuming that cheese as quickly as attainable after I’ve lower it.”

That’s the way you get the cheese tasting how we would like it to style, which is as it could off the cheesemaker’s maturing shelf.

In order that’s the core of the problem.

We may portion it up and retailer it, however it wouldn’t style pretty much as good. However it’s like that factor I stated earlier about chopping corners.

That is an instance of it the place we would like you to style the cheese completely recent in order that while you feed again, you go, “That’s the finest piece of Brie I’ve ever tasted.”

And so all of our processes are with that in thoughts, and that’s why we will’t outsource as a result of not solely is it meals security dealing with on the one facet, on the very fundamental high stage, however past that’s speciality chopping down cheese and packaging it and sending it out.

So we do it ourselves and that’s the speciality of it, and that’s why we will’t actually outsource to anybody else.

Bex Burn-Callander:

That’s completely fascinating. I really like the concept of cheese being this residing organism.

Utilizing algorithms to create a tacky private contact

Bex Burn-Callander:

And also you used the instance there, Ed, of Brie.

Now you’d stated earlier that there are a thousand totally different varieties, so how on earth do you resolve what to place in these bins?

And for these individuals which have been with you for 2 years, you don’t need to be giving them the identical stuff on a regular basis.

Individuals have totally different preferences. I hate smoked cheese, so I might be cross if I obtained numerous smoke cheese.

So how do you resolve what goes in? It simply appears mind-boggling.

Ed Hancock:

So the place to begin is, let’s say of these 1,000, we have now round 200-250 that we all know at anyone time that individuals will get pleasure from, that we love, that at the moment of the season it’s going to be good.

So on a stay foundation we’ve obtained round 250 that we’re sending out.

Now of the remaining 750 a few of these are mass-produced. They don’t tick our field. A few of them we simply don’t suppose are literally ok, or actually not ok for that point of yr. So from these 250, that is the place the algorithms are available in.

So that is the place once I first set the enterprise, I’m sitting there in entrance of my spreadsheet for our six subscribers, and I’m understanding every thing in my head.

So I’m like, proper, on my spreadsheet what did they’ve final month? What did they’ve the month earlier than?

So that they’ve obtained to get new cheeses. What order ought to they be in? What’s seasonal? And it took me 45 minutes per particular person.

So actually it was from that second you’re pondering, effectively, look, this isn’t going to scale by any means. I constructed algorithms in fund administration and I believed, effectively, actually that is what an algorithm is for. It’s to automate a course of that’s handbook.

On this case it’s getting my mind or decision-making automated via a mannequin, and in order that’s what we did.

So to reply your query of how will we resolve? Effectively, the algorithms resolve it, however the algorithms symbolize the selections that I might make, or a chief specialist would make.

So that each time you order, instantaneously it runs all of those calculations to say, effectively, these are the cheeses you’ve had earlier than, can’t have them once more.

It’s spring, so we need to get a goat’s cheese in there. That’s obtained to be in slot one since you need to have that first, the order’s proper.

You say, proper then you possibly can’t have a tough goat’s later since you’ve already obtained one goat, so that you’re going to make it balanced. You’ll be able to’t have these two cheeses as a result of these are each accessible within the grocery store.

You don’t need to have greater than a type of.

I imply, there are quite a lot of these parameters, and it runs these instantaneously, and that’s what decides the 5 cheeses you get every month. However then laid on high of that’s any preferences you’ve given us.

So such as you’ve simply stated, should you’ve ever emailed us saying, “I don’t like smoke cheese, by no means ship it to me in any respect.”

In your dashboard it’s going to say, “Don’t ship this buyer smoked cheese.”

Likewise, some clients may say, “That cheese I had final month is so good, I need that each month.”

So then that one’s obtained a stick in that slot, after which that is also considered.

So it’s one other a type of examples the place, why make it so troublesome? As a result of each different cheese enterprise on the planet sends everybody the identical 5 cheeses each month. It makes it a lot simpler. It actually does.

Typically I dream about that. Let’s simply try this.

However then I remind myself that we don’t like making issues simple, however the reason being as a result of if we’d gone down that route, then we’d be sitting right here at present, Bex, and I wouldn’t have a transparent USP to speak to you about, as a result of we’d simply be doing what everybody else does.

We’d have branded it a bit in a different way and have a enjoyable tone of voice, however the choices that we made again then have gotten us thus far now, three years later, the place I can sit right here and genuinely say that we provide a product that’s unparalleled, not simply inside cheese, however I’d even say it’s up there with anything within the direct-to-consumer space.

Whether or not you’re speaking about flowers with Bloom & Wild or Gousto with prepared meals, that administration of subscription, the bespoke personalisation, having the ability to let you know that we’ve picked this cheese only for you.

All of those components that we will now get so enthusiastic about, they began three years in the past, and it’s taken that lengthy for us to get the place we’re at present.

So there are quite a lot of choices that go in, quite a lot of computations, however the result’s you’re feeling such as you’ve obtained one thing that’s purely distinctive and particular to you as a subscriber.

Know-how might help you to scale your enterprise on a world stage, cut back wastage and enhance your service

Bex Burn-Callander:

And also you wouldn’t think about that you simply’re speaking about cheese, that it could be such a high-tech enterprise, however truly constructing a high-tech again finish, beginning with the algorithms, but in addition every thing that’s then been constructed on high of it.

Inform me about the way you’ve truly created a complete world of tech which goes to take you into much more bold territory sooner or later.

Ed Hancock:

The primary huge factor is scalability.

So I’ve by no means actually got down to arrange a pleasant enterprise, like a household run enterprise, that stays small. And by the best way, there’s completely nothing by any means unsuitable with that. It’s simply my path wasn’t ever to arrange a small enterprise after which simply tick alongside for a very long time.

I’ve at all times needed to scale, as a result of I’ve at all times needed to sort out cheese within the UK, however then past.

So I’ve at all times needed to get artisan cheese to everybody mainstream.

So scalability is the important thing factor.

So what the tech allows you to do is to duplicate at scale a really complicated mannequin, which is everybody getting a novel subscriber journey.

In order I discussed earlier, you possibly can scale it rather a lot simpler if everybody will get the identical 5 cheeses, however the best way we do, it’s fairly intensive.

And to have human beings do that will not be attainable. You simply have too many individuals having to make these choices, and everybody getting totally different cheese, it’d be a nightmare. Simply fascinated by it truly scares me a bit.

So having the tech means that you can do that at scale, to offer this buyer expertise at scale.

However past that, it means that you can additionally take this mannequin within the UK and apply it wherever else on the planet. So all you really want is a database of cheese, and every of these cheeses tagged in line with its model and what it may be paired with.

That data goes in, after which it simply runs it, because it runs it right here, with German cheese or with Portuguese cheese or with French cheese.

And so you possibly can have the cheesegeek expertise wherever you go.

For me, that’s so thrilling to suppose that you might, simply together with your cheesegeek app, journey to Portugal and order Portuguese cheese, artisan cheese, to be delivered in 24 to 48 hours, with no obligatory data of Portuguese cheese, or any cheese for that matter.

So it’s that unbelievable democratisation of artisan cheese, which the tech facilitates. It makes that attainable.

However what the tech’s additionally carried out, which we didn’t truly take into consideration once we began out, it was at all times simply meant to be an allocation system.

However what the tech’s additionally carried out is it’s enabled us to have extremely low inventory wastage, for instance.

Our tech can perceive our inventory all the best way right down to how huge a bit of cheese is, and what number of parts you will get out of it, primarily based on the orders which have already come via, and primarily based on the pipeline of subscriptions.

It’s why a subscription mannequin is so thrilling since you get that runway of visibility of demand.

So our inventory system has an extremely granular understanding of present inventory, and in addition what we’re going to want for the subsequent week and two weeks and three weeks.

So wastage is extremely low. It’s a by-product of our tech.

It additionally signifies that the cheese is as recent as it will possibly presumably be, as a result of cheese is coming in to exit, as a result of the inventory administration’s so good.

So the tech began doing all types of different issues. One other instance of what the tech can do, which we found out and discovered, is which you can now price each cheese that you simply’ve ever tried.

With that data, these rankings can then begin to resolve or information our curation course of in your future bins.

So we will say, “You didn’t like these cheeses, you preferred these, this offers us an thought of what you could like or the place we may be testing a boundary, and we’re going to speak that with you.”

So you’re feeling such as you’re on this journey with us. These rankings feed in.

One other angle to these rankings is that we will feed that again to the cheesemaker.

So the cheesemaker may experiment with a brand new batch utilizing a brand new starter tradition or new course of. Then what we will do is tag that batch, get buyer suggestions from that batch, by way of rankings via the app, and we will cross-reference that towards the baseline for earlier rankings of their cheese.

So it turns into one thing that the cheesemaker can get worth from as effectively.

There are extra examples, however the core constructing of this tech has enabled it to attain so many extra issues than we thought was attainable initially.

Reconstructing the dairy business

Bex Burn-Callander:

And the way bold are you?

You stated that you simply by no means needed to construct only a life-style enterprise, so how huge would you want this to be?

How huge may or not it’s? And the place does your ambition come from?

Ed Hancock:

You’ve obtained to go a great distance earlier than you hit a restrict on this, as a result of should you have a look at the UK cheese business, it’s £3.2bn. After which Europe’s cheese business is round €90bn, and the US is $19bn.

We’ve had individuals electronic mail us from India, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, France, saying “I believe this might work out right here.”

So that you have a look at the dimensions of these collective markets, that’s thrilling.

However what’s additionally occurring is that, if you can also make it work, you’re diverting milk from mass-produced cheese to artisan cheesemakers, as a result of not all cheesemakers have their very own cows.

They’re not dairy farmers.

Lots of cheesemakers are taking milk from native dairy farmers to make their cheese. So what you’re doing is, you’re not solely taking a portion of the speciality cheese market, what we’re attempting to do is we’re attempting to truly develop the pie itself, the complete pie.

We’re attempting to say, if we will divert milk from mass-produced cheese, and even divert milk that goes right into a carton to be bought in a grocery store at value value virtually, or generally as a loss-leader.

If we will divert milk to cheesemakers who then add worth, and we will cost a premium as a result of our clients respect the tip product, you then truly begin to utterly reconstruct the dairy business as a complete.

Slightly than a race to the underside on value, it turns into a virtuous cycle by way of product high quality, individuals prepared to pay extra, and everybody will get extra for his or her work, proper right down to the dairy farmer.

So the dimensions of the ambition is big by way of market alternative, however it’s additionally large by way of society.

Mindset is your magic weapon

Bex Burn-Callander:

I imply, I can think about even an off-day, this facet of what you do will get you off the bed, will get you determining a approach via an issue, will cheer you on, principally.

And Ed, you gave me a sneak peek at one in every of your intelligent methods which have made you profitable, while you stated, “I don’t take a very long time about choices. Once I know one thing must occur, I get on with it.”

Are you able to inform me another good methods that you simply’ve developed that you simply suppose have been completely key to the success of cheesegeek?

Ed Hancock:

I believe the opposite one is mostly a mindset factor, as a result of there tends to be quite a lot of recommendation that may be comparatively particular, however by way of an total software, by way of what we do at cheesegeek, it’s positively mindset.

And once I say mindset, if anybody is saying to me, “I’m beginning up a enterprise,” or, “I’ve simply began up a enterprise,” the very first thing I’m going to say is, “You will come throughout challenges. You’re going to come back throughout challenges that you simply anticipated, however you’re additionally going to come back throughout challenges that you simply had no thought to count on. Unknown unknowns, to take a time period from my finance life. And there’s actually not rather a lot you are able to do about unknown unknowns.”

And so your closing weapon there, or line of defence, is mindset, to say, “I settle for that we’re going to have issues and obstacles, and that’s thrilling, as a result of it’s a chance for us to repair one thing and supply an answer.”

Lots of the issues we’ve had, the options at the moment are functions that anybody within the business may use to make their life simpler.

In order that’s actually cool, however you don’t get that except you’ve obtained the fitting mindset.

As a result of I can actually say quite a lot of the struggles we’ve had, like through the years, may have gotten us actually down and simply left us feeling a bit defeated.

We’ve had individuals way more skilled than us say there’s no resolution to one thing or there’s no approach round it.

Laptop says no.

I believe laptop says no, for me, is among the largest issues I battle with, with my staff or with anybody I work with. It’s that mentality that this will’t be carried out as a result of I can completely assure it may be carried out with the fitting mindset, and we’ve confirmed that.

I believe related to that, the opposite factor I bang on about, it drives individuals loopy at work, however it’s so vital, it’s course of.

Course of is definitely linked to decision-making in an enormous approach, and it’s even barely linked to form of having the fitting mindset.

If in case you have a militant course of in place for the way choices are made, what the tradition of your enterprise is, what the cheesegeek is all about in our case.

If in case you have the fitting course of for, like I stated, both decision-making, however the fitting course of for each particular person on the enterprise, no matter their job is, that is the method, then you possibly can belief the method. It lets you then decide since you comply with the method.

It additionally avoids unknown unknowns as a lot as you possibly can as a result of we’ve seen it so many instances previously once we’ve had huge issues, it’s as a result of there’s been a glitch in our course of that we hadn’t noticed, and if we’d had the fitting course of in place, it wouldn’t have occurred.

So I believe course of is simply being completely meticulous.

How are issues being carried out? How are choices being made? Why are we doing this? And being in step with the way you handle all of these issues will minimise, it received’t eradicate, however minimise these unknown unknowns.

It’ll additionally provide help to be assured when you decide to take motion as a result of, in any other case, you simply can by no means decide to a call. So I believe that course of is an enormous one as effectively.

These are issues that we use and at management stage at cheesegeek, all of us have these in place.

We’re decisive. Now we have meticulous processes, and we have now a optimistic problem-solving mindset, and we try to be sure that flows via to everybody within the enterprise, all through.

I believe you probably have these issues in place, you’re going to present your self the absolute best likelihood.

In case you can conquer Dragons’ Den, you possibly can conquer something

Bex Burn-Callander:

You went on Dragons’ Den, and you bought funding.

Are you able to inform me simply briefly about that have and why you probably did it, what you bought out of it, what you discovered? All that good things.

Ed Hancock:

My spouse had been saying for ages I ought to apply for Dragons’ Den, and I don’t know whether or not it was like imposter syndrome otherwise you’re simply by no means actually positive if everybody else goes to suppose what you’re doing is as nice as you do.

Are you just a few loopy cheese particular person?

So I at all times simply thought, I don’t know, I don’t know. Additionally let’s be sincere nationwide TV, I imply, only a few individuals are like inherently up for simply being on nationwide TV, being grilled by the Dragons.

However I believe January 2021 got here alongside, and I simply thought, I’m actually joyful to speak to anybody about this enterprise. I believe I simply utterly consider in what we’re doing and I believe it’s so thrilling, and so I simply did it.

I simply utilized form of barely spontaneously. I simply decided to do it and I simply did it.

It was like a kiss the frog second.

There’s one other phrase I exploit, ‘kiss the frog’. It’s like while you’ve obtained a to-do record and there’s stuff on there that you simply simply actually don’t need to do. It at all times will get left and also you simply by no means actually do it, however you possibly can really feel you’ve not carried out it.

It simply sits there, and it’s in your thoughts, and also you simply really feel prefer it’s a burden.

So I’ve a coverage while you’ve obtained one thing like that in your to-do record, you simply obtained to do it first. Very very first thing you do earlier than you do anything is, kiss the frog.

That’s what I did that day. I awakened, and I used to be like, very first thing I’ve obtained to do earlier than I do anything is apply for Dragons’ Den.

So it went from one factor to a different. They obtained again to me about six weeks later.

I’d form of forgotten about it, and I used to be like, oh, that’s attention-grabbing after which by June we had been filming.

Once I utilized, Steven [Bartlett] hadn’t been introduced as a Dragon, so he solely obtained introduced after I’d already been invited to go on.

For me that added one other stage of pleasure as a result of as a match, he was good. In order that was extra stress as a result of then it was like, we’ve obtained to get Steven. He’s completely the man that we have to get.

So yeah, we went up there. It was positively some of the nerve-wracking days of my life.

Wealthy, our COO who’s the calmest man on the planet, he by no means will get flustered about something, he didn’t eat for twenty-four hours. I imply, he regarded pale that complete time.

However as soon as it began, you bought the pitch out of the best way, I may speak about this enterprise until the cows come residence, not likely and pun supposed there, however I simply know the enterprise inside out, and I do know the chance.

So once they begin asking questions, you then get into your stride, after which it turns into thrilling.

You’re not nervous anymore. You’re simply excited to share with them what you’re doing, and you’ll form of see that they’re beginning to get enthusiastic about it, and you then simply hit a stride.

Then such as you stated, we obtained the consequence we needed.

Due diligence was tremendous fast as a result of I believe we’re a bit extra mature possibly than among the companies that go on there.

So the due diligence went via in a short time, and all of it ran very easily, and I imply it was nice expertise, however positively as soon as in a lifetime. I don’t suppose I may take that stage of stress too many extra instances.

However it makes every thing else simpler once I do occasions on-line or no matter it may be, interviews. I used to possibly get a bit nervous, not anymore as a result of I’ve carried out Dragons’ Den, that’s the max. So every thing else is ok.

However yeah, it was an ideal consequence, and we’re actually joyful to win.

Bex Burn-Callander:

How bizarre was it to observe your self on TV?

Has the episode truly been aired now, yeah?

Ed Hancock:


Bex Burn-Callander:

Terrible? No, honest sufficient. I’d be precisely the identical.

Bex Burn-Callander:

Ed, you’ve been an outstanding visitor. I’ve liked speaking to you. I really feel like I haven’t even scratched the floor of what we may have touched on at present.

There are such a lot of wonderful elements of your enterprise and your plan and the mindset, however I’m going to have to depart it right here.

Thanks a lot for being right here.

Impressed by this small enterprise story?

Wherever you’re listening or watching, subscribe to Sound Recommendation on Apple iTunes right here.

We’re additionally on Spotify and wherever else you get your podcasts.

Be a part of our group to share your insights and tales on Twitter @SageUK utilizing the hashtag #SoundAdvicePodcast, on Instagram @SageOfficial or within the feedback under!

Need to know extra about cheesegeek and Ed Hancock?

You’ll find cheesegeek on their web site or their Twitter.

You can even try Ed Hancock’s LinkedIn web page.