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Why in a competitive marketplace, just right doesn’t go far enough

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by Startacus Admin

competitive marketplace
Lessons from Goldilocks and the three bears and why in a competitive market place, ‘just right’ doesn’t go far enough! 

Entrepreneur, Alex Jenkins explains why...

Many people argue identifying the gap in the market, or your unique selling point (USP) is the holy grail of business success, while others will stress it is all about drive and determination. To some it’s a third option, the ability and self-belief needed to take a measured risk.

Entrepreneur Alex Jenkins believes it is a mix of all of these things, with a clear ability to view a problem as an opportunity and like Goldilocks, when the first bed is too hard or too soft, to not to give up....

"It takes a great deal of research to know where and how to start a business, but I know from experience there is a combination of Alex Jenkinsfactors needed to come together to form a successful outcome.

Knowing your market is key, and this is where the ability to identify the need for your product or service comes in.  Entrepreneurial success is characterised by an ability to spot the gap. This takes many forms.  Sometimes a product, service or offering is completely absent – you spend hours looking for the thing you need only to find it doesn’t exist.

Frequently, the gap is narrow or subtle. You might find many products which will do some of the job you need, or a service fairly close to the one you would like.  You may even find something that claims to do exactly what you are looking for, but fails to deliver.  This market can be daunting and requires a huge amount of self-belief. 

When I started Oat Pantry is was to meet a gap in the market and the key to the success of the business has been due to my absolute conviction I was not the only person who was disappointed by the available products and services. There were flavoured oats and granola and there were some available by post but none met the high standards or variety I wanted.  I had to focus on exactly what it was that I had been looking for, and believe if we could provide it then others like me would subscribe to it.

Oat PantryPart of being able to trust myself came from my assurance I knew the market inside out.  Growing up in Shropshire with a family who work in the food business, I knew the importance of customer satisfaction but also of sourcing all the best ingredients and focussing on seasonal products as much as possible.

In that sense I also had the market research to back my intuition up. There is a definite place for market research – to launch into business without it would be simply rolling the dice – but in my view it’s important to remember research is a starting point, and most importantly – it’s only a tool.  Good research does not guarantee good results, but using good research to fuel your drive and self-belief brings you much closer to success.

In our case it was not just knowing that most of the population eat breakfast but knowing how busy people are and how many things they may have to juggle every morning before they face a commute to work or the other challenges of the day.

Self-belief is intrinsically linked to another area of successful entrepreneurship; the ability to step out of the comfort zone of both thought and action. I know and love food and I am passionate about health and good quality ingredients, but I am not a chef. However, I wasn’t worried about handing my ideas and thoughts to a team of chefs and relinquishing enough control to allow them to develop the product and build on a range of flavours.

Many successful inventors and entrepreneurs share the common ground of having been successful in fields that weren’t Oat Pantrytheir own at the time, and this is true to my own experience.  I left a good career in London and moved back to my childhood home in Shropshire to develop and start the business as I knew there was a real and significant gap in the breakfast market.

How you react to unexpected results or outcomes often depends on your self-belief and is another characteristic of successful entrepreneur thinking.  While we all know the importance of spotting the gap, it is how you react in adversity that can define the line between success and mediocrity.  Using mistakes as catalysts for change is impossible unless you can genuinely view problems as interesting opportunities. 

Recognising the only obstacle to self-belief is yourself is key to stepping back and learning. Superglue and Play-Doh were both either discovered by accident or useless for their original application: Superglue was deemed too sticky and Play-Doh was a redundant product that had been invented as a wallpaper cleaner.  Both household names now, thanks to people with enough belief to look at the “problem” differently and find a new application.

But taking things back to Goldilocks and her choice of beds and porridge it is more than just that. In fact, I would argue that to run a successful business you need to not just settle for ‘just right’ – you need to say ‘just right’ is a good place to start but now how can we make it better?

For Oat Pantry a better breakfast needed to a good healthy artisan product that tastes good and does good. That is why we went out of our way to make our packaging plastic free and compostable and donate a percentage of our profits to charity. We didn’t just want the business to be ‘just right’ we wanted it to be better than anything else on offer and so right that people loved both our food and company ethos as consumers these days demand more than just a good product.

Oat Pantry is the brainchild of founder and Shropshire resident, Alex Jenkins, a confirmed foodie who returned to Shrewsbury to launch it after seven years spent living and working in Canada Water, London.
Oat Pantry

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Published on: 7th August 2019

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