Passionate entrepreneurs are our favourite kind of entrepreneurs! So we really enjoyed chatting with Alex Archibald of Smuvee, a healthy food eatery in Telford, for our latest One Year On instalment. With great plans to change the fast food industry within Telford, Alex hopes to change the eating habits of the town and encourage good clean food that’s healthy as well as tasty. Here’s what Alex had to say about his business…

What is the nature of your business and why did you choose a Start Up Loan over other types of finance?

Smuvee is Telford’s first grab and go health food bar, offering a range of high protein products made fresh in store.

Smuvee currently operates in Wellington, offering predominantly high protein waffles, smoothies and healthy prepared meals. Since opening, Smuvee has continued to exceed financial projections and managed to gather a large customer base. Due to this success and growing customer demand, Smuvee is now looking to expand its operations to a larger facility.

Smuvee is the answer to an increasing need for convenient healthy grab and go food, to be consumed before or after the gym or whilst on the move to work or socials. We feel this will entice youngsters to bring along their friends and family and enjoy our welcoming environment, fresh healthy foods, and selection of unique products.

Moving forward, we have prepped over 6,000 meals and counting for our clients! We are so grateful for this milestone and very much looking forward to the next.

We chose Start Up Loans as Fay Easton and her team in Telford came across very competent, trustworthy and transparent. The loan was granted almost instantly, they did their due diligence first and made sure the business proposal is viable and safe. For the most part they gave me constant support and help, for which I am tremendously grateful.

What has your business achieved over the last year? What is your favourite success story to date?

Smuvee has been awarded business of the month 3 times consecutively from the Shropshire Youth Support Trust (SYST) and been asked to write our story a number of times.

Above all, I am most proud of our ability to use emotional intelligence and display empathy to customers as you would your family or friends. It seems most other businesses stick to their rule book no matter what the outcome is for them, be it good or bad. We try to see and understand what our customers want and then engage in a relaxed and friendly manner whilst still providing good vibes and great service.

What have you learnt from the first year in business? Is there anything you would do differently?

Stress less, read more and sleep longer. There’s a lot of pressure to keep up with everyone else in business and in life; I blame social media for this. Focus on yourself and don't watch others, concentrate your energy on you and you only. You have to be incredibly selfish at this point in life and anyone that has a problem with this is standing in the way of you and your goals being achieved.

One of the biggest obstacles that stood in my way was knowing when I was ready. The truth is, you never really know when you're ready and you never will be, you just have to show up and execute your idea. I overcame this by simply doing what I said I was going to do - there is no secret to hard work and patience.

I've also dealt with some pessimistic individuals in regards to starting my own business, but many a time I x'd them out. I found mostly that anyone who is faithful with a little is faithful with a lot. Even though I don't lead a lavish lifestyle by any means, I respect and appreciate what my friends and family have done for me so far. The people that often had negative things to say were the people that didn't understand perspective and were never satisfied with what they had. I don't judge them, as their mentality usually comes from poor programming from parents, teachers, friends and the modern day educational system and it’s not their fault.

People are being taught that they have limits. It’s not until you hit a certain point in your life, when your mindset changes, that you realize some people in this world make what most people make in one year in one day. In hindsight there isn't much I would change in regards to handling those situations as I always approached them in an unbiased relaxed manner.

Would you recommend a Start Up Loan from Transmit Start-Ups to other businesses? How beneficial was the free business support?

Yes, no doubt. Getting as much help as possible in the early days of your business is crucial, one should be a sponge when it comes to help and information.

If you could give one tip to a new entrepreneur, what would it be?

INVEST IN YOURSELF, READ A LOT… To the young, my advice would be this - read more, embrace difficult things and create a demand for your skills. Investing in yourself will benefit you long term. Focus on reducing your ‘stick-ability’ factor, forget writing it down internally or on paper. Get efficient and get it done, don't prolong things you could do today or tomorrow, get it done!

If you have enjoyed reading Alex’s story and are inspired to learn more about setting up your own business, make the first step and register with us now!