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5 things I learned while starting a business

Written by Bachelor of Business student Emily Hughes.

When I moved to Australia from the UK in 2019, I fell in love with the healthy, fresh and exciting food culture. When I returned home due to COVID in 2020, I was saddened to realise that the same options were not available to me in my local area. However, what I later came to realise was that this gap in the market presented an opportunity to start my own business.

On many lockdown walks with my friend Jess, we loved how food trucks brought people together, and we wanted to be part of the new movement. We started to work on an idea of an Aussie/Asian inspired food truck servicing açai bowls, smoothie bowls, juices, healthy snacks and coffee.

After a lot of research, advice from trusted mentors, experimenting with recipes and working out all the finer details, we launched our business Jeco Bowl. My studies in Bond’s Bachelor of Business have been so valuable, and I have been able to apply what I’ve been learning in class to the business, and see an immediate impact.

There are lots of things I did not know about starting a business, before I did it myself. So, if you’re thinking about starting your own, here are five of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

1. Just Google it 

I learned that it’s not as hard to start things up as you may think! A bit of Googling and asking questions can get you a long way. Speak to lots of different people about your idea, as they will likely provide a fantastic suggestion, wise insights, or be able to help in some way.

2. The power of associations

Look into associations that can help you with the finer details. In our case, we signed up to a U.K. catering association called NCASS who have helped us with all of the due diligence, legal procedures and gave us advice on how to start up a food business. It is worth the investment in the membership to these associations in order to ensure you are doing things correctly.

3. It doesn’t feel like ‘work’ when you’re passionate about it

I’ve found that while lots of things in business can be time consuming, frustrating and difficult, I still just want to do it all the time! My start-up is always on my mind, and I find myself ‘working’ even when I'm not getting paid to.

4. The importance of a clear vision

Throughout this process, I’ve learned that the most important thing is to keep a vision in mind in all that you do. Not everything works out at first, but we kept pushing to get things up and running because we had a clear vision and knew it would be worth it in the end. You will always find ways to overcome obstacles.

5. Your passion will drive you

I didn’t expect just how passionate I would become about our business. I knew I loved our food, serving and bringing people together, but I did not realise how much I wanted it to work out and be the best it can be for people. When compared to working for someone else’s business or in a corporate company, the passion for work is so much stronger when it’s your own.

My final words of advice are to make the most of all the opportunities you’ll get during your studies. I’ve completed many subjects which have helped with our business start-up and day-to-day activities. Also, outside of my subjects, I’ve attended lots of Transformer workshops where I heard from the most incredible business owners and influential speakers who sparked certain passions, even before we started Jeco Bowl. I also did the Unfair Advantage workshop where I learned how to craft a speech in less than 10 minutes, which I believe has given me so much confidence when doing certain things like speaking to suppliers. My degree has also allowed me to network and gain valuable contacts.

Good luck in your start-up journey! I hope these lessons help you along the way.

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