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Small business spotlight: Five minutes with…


 

…Duncan Black

Owner, The Grazing Shed, 1 Barrack Lane, Cardiff..

Duncan Black

My business card says:
I don’t have one – that reminds me I need to get one sharpish!

I would describe my business self, in five words, as:
Creative, opportunist, hardworking, loyal, fair.

The hardest part of setting up the business was:
Raising finance. There’s not much out there for start-ups as far as bank funding goes. My business partner and I took out personal loans and some private investment. Put together a strong business plan, some conservative forecasts and then go out and talk to people about your idea.

The biggest challenge for my business has been:
Creating a strong management team. This is key for any business. You need strong people with the right skills in the right places. As a start-up you don’t have access to these key people as you simply can’t afford them on a full-time basis. Management skills and support is something I would have really appreciated as a start-up: someone to talk to about commercial decisions; HR issues; understanding profit and loss; recruitment; accounting; negotiating rents; etc. This is why we’re in the process of creating a management consultancy team that can offer this support to all businesses on an as-and-when basis.

My biggest business regret is:
I don’t have one yet… (fingers crossed).

My greatest business success is:
Being voted no.1 burger bar in Wales in our first year.

The key to being a successful small business owner is:
Have a strong concept, to be able to adapt to market changes and maintain consistency.

My top tip for entrepreneurs is:
Have a strong team around you.

My top money-saving tip is:
Always review the cost of your goods as often as possible. Check if there are any suppliers who can provide your common items at a better price. Also, remember it’s not always about the cheapest price. Often good relationships with suppliers can be worth more. It’s a fine balance.

The one thing that has saved me the most time with running my business is:
Creating a thorough recruitment policy to reduce staff turnover.

The one thing I would do differently with my business if I had my time again is:
Open it sooner.

The business headline I would most like to see is:
Government cuts VAT to 10% in hospitality industry’ — Which would in turn create more jobs and allow us to re-invest in the business.

If I wasn’t answering these questions I would be:
Unloading boxes of ketchup into storage.

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