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MONKEY BUSINESS

Next month sees The Sports Food Company Ltd and Bikefood® turn four. Quite an achievement given the challenges startup and small businesses face in the current economic climate. Even when business was booming (yes apparently it was once) the challenges faced if attempting to launch yet another sports nutrition brand of products into a saturated market was seen as an impossible task, never mind actually making regular sales.

But we saw no barriers, just a clear vision of what needed to be, especially with our own developed products as we knew they were so much better than even the best of the competition. So onwards we went, with no business training, accountancy skills and taking on board very little in terms of guidance we’ve flown literally by the seat of our bib shorts year after year. We’ve been making progress but also many frankly pretty poor business decisions. Its a mystery how we’ve done it, but its a new year and we are still here and still open for business, and in the present day that must count for something.

The Sports Food Company is self funded, family owned and totally independently controlled, we’ve held it together. But its been tough going which again is more to do with the path we have chosen – we’ve never provided a sound business plan, let alone action one but most importantly we are yet to turn a profit. On this last point we are not alone. Ocado, the partners to Waitrose, are famously yet to make a profit (although one suspects this is more part of a plan than mistake, as are the founders not accountants?) and in terms of not running a viable business, a quick ride down our local high street presents a bleak outlook for retail at least with many of the famous household names that most of us have grown up with, going to the wall. These are brands and businesses that have been the first port of call for saturday jobs and summer work as students – Waterstones, Blockbuster, Woolworths, Jessops, HMV the list goes on – if business is so easy, and such the process so simple, how do these high street giants with all their many staff of experts, planners and bean counters get into a rather large pickle and promptly hit the skids to the point of no return? Maybe the challenge is greater than we first thought… the art is making it look easy.

So now we are into 2013 proper, and as we come out of hibernation, there is a feeling of optimism, we are refreshed and focussed and looking forward to a season of supporting some of the most interesting and dedicated cyclists on the planet with the same great service and same exceptional products as we have done since 2009.

However feeling buoyant is one thing, we are also mindful that this year we have to prove ourselves with the number crunching, and ensure we are sustainable and viable in this gloomy time. On our side is the fact that we have the highly prized support of our Bikefood customers and the strength and quality of our products ensure that we are working with products that we truly believe in. Bikefood products are right up there with the best, and we still see untapped potential in our brand – it has all the elements to be the giant killer it aspires to be. We just need to keep in with the leading pack, which is where we are now, ensuring we ride out the tough times to keep Bikefood from being shelled out the back destined for the broom wagon.

If you want to see even more of our innovative approach, and help realise the potential we believe Bikefood® has to take on the world, please tell your friends about us and convince them to try our Bikefood intro bundle so they can see for themselves just how good Bikefood is.

Like Bikefood products and want to see us doing more? Here are three things you can do to help us on our way:

- Ride with your Bikefood bottles, and when asked tell people what you use.

- Tell your shop, trade contacts, club to stock our products, Cyclesurgery do, Wiggle have done. We have no sales people, maybe you could be the first? We had interest from outside the UK and could go truly global with ease (commission based only, if you are wondering why, please re-read the above blog entry again)

- You (or someone you know) are a business guru. Look at the opportunity here – superb well reviewed products matched to unique branding, and four years of development work. We’ve achieved a fraction of the potential of our Bikefood brand at a time where the odds are stacked against us. With your expertise and insight could you and your help be the crucial turning point? if so please get in touch!

As always your feedback, messages of praise or any genuine business advice to offer is gratefully received, please do contact us at enquiries@bikefood.com