Really Awesome Coffee Managing Director, Kevin Haswell, was invited to speak to BBC Coventry & Warwickshire Radio (CWR) about his experience of starting a business following a recession.
Rewind ten years and economic conditions were challenging for budding entrepreneurs across the country. The 2008 recession caused companies across the globe to struggle, and many people considering starting a business were putting their plans on hold.
However, Kevin Haswell, founder and MD of Really Awesome Coffee, had other ideas. After building a successful franchise network with his graduate company ‘Windscreen Repair UK’, he was hit hard by the recession. In 2010, exactly ten years ago this month, he took the plunge and began trading from his first mobile café van. Explaining why he chose this new industry, Kevin said:
“I realised how much I was spending myself on coffee – probably about £2,000 a year on two or three cups a day – but I knew there were only pennies worth of ingredients in the drink I was spending £2.50-£3 on. I could see that the coffee industry just hadn’t been impacted in the same way many others had during the recession.”
Despite the tough economic climate, Kevin managed to build a successful business serving delicious coffee and snacks to the people of Coventry. Just 18 months later, he launched the first franchised van. Kevin also revealed why he chose a mobile coffee van over a more traditional coffee shop model.
“I had a look at coffee shops but didn’t like the risk profile (investing everything in one location, not being able to control the footfall outside the premises) so I remembered something I’d seen on The Apprentice years ago. [If we put] a coffee shop on wheels we could aim it at places where we knew there were queues of people waiting for us.”
Now, with more than 60 franchised vans operating up and down the country, the coffee van franchise is weathering another storm in the form of the Covid-19 pandemic. Kevin was invited to share his experience with BBC CWR and talk about the challenges of trading during two incredibly tough times. When asked about his advice for those who have sadly found themselves out of work, Kevin said:
“I know it’s going to be very difficult … but from someone who’s always run small businesses, if you’re being made redundant, and are getting [funds from this], take a look at self-employment. Whatever your experience is or whatever you’d like to do, it’s likely there’s a franchise network out there in the UK for you. It’s a great place to start as it removes a lot of the risk, and the job market is going to be particularly tough for people.”
Sophie Cole, Point Franchise ©