- Do it! You'll reach a point where you need to make a decision - do it or move on to the next thing
- Make sure you plan well first - running a small business impacts your whole life and that of your family
- You'll need tenacity and passion in equal measure to keep going day after day – make sure you have a support network
After a 20-year corporate career and ten years working in catering as an employee, Jane DelRosso was contemplating having her own business in the food industry. She started investigating opportunities and found there was a scarcity of kitchens for rent and an absence of specific, operational help to get started in the food industry. It was the year 2000 and the food regulations had changed - compliance with food regulations became compulsory and it had a profound effect on the food-related cottage industry. It dawned on Jane that there must be others with the same need and so she started Kitchen Incubator, a creative kitchen space which can be hired by retail or wholesale food businesses.
My Other Kitchen is almost five years old now but according to Jane, 'in some ways it still feels like a start-up. There are always lessons to be learnt and challenges to be overcome'.
Read on for the full interview.
Best success moment?
Opening the doors to my business! The journey up until then was so much about planning and estimating and dreaming of target markets and returns on investment, it was exciting and scary to have the doors open.
Every day I get to experience a success moment of some type. When you are in business for yourself, every target reached, every new thing learned, is a cause for celebration. That's not to say it's all rosy! Some of those lessons are learned at a cost – recognising that as a positive is sometimes hard.
Describe a typical day at your work?
I can be consulting to a food truck operator, spice merchant, ready-made meal producer on various topics or getting the kitchen ready for that day's clients. I spend time answering queries from people with a great idea for a food business. I can also be found running business workshops with my referral network of experts in their fields such as branding, packaging, online presence and photography. Sometimes my days involve reviewing processes and product development, building my network through events or chatting with the food scientist that's picking up the new products from the kitchen ready for testing.
I'm so lucky with the variety of tasks faced in a typical day, however, when helping others build their businesses, finding time to work on my own business growth is a constant challenge. That's where Business Victoria's programs come in – it's always a pleasure to be part of a wider community of business people.
What are 3 pieces of advice you would give to other small business owners or people thinking of starting up a business?
Things move quickly in the food industry, but if you think you have a great idea, talk to someone about it. You'll reach a point where you need to make a decision - do it or move on to the next thing!
Make sure you plan well first. Small business is never just about the business – it impacts your whole life and that of your family. Being underfunded is a sure way to create tension and inhibit the growth of your business.
You'll need tenacity and passion in equal measure to keep going day after day. Make sure you have a support network – create alliances with people that believe in you and your business and take advantage of every offer of help.
Now for a non-business related question - what are your favourite places to be in Melbourne right now?
For some reason I have an affinity with industrial estates. Moorabbin has always held a fascination for me, especially since businesses such as Two Brothers Brewery have moved in beside the manufacturing and warehouses! I think the transition of that area will be something to watch and fascinating to be a part of.
I also just discovered a very Melbourne restaurant/bar called State of Grace last week in the CBD. Gorgeous architecture, fantastic food and an eclectic bar with a great 1930s feel (if you can find it behind the bookcase)! At the other end of the spectrum is Fat Bob's Hamburger joint in the back blocks of a Moorabbin industrial estate. Obviously, I love an eatery with character!
My Other Kitchen is an innovative and fast growing business in the food industry. The business achieves success by good business planning, passion and acting quickly in this fast moving industry.