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It’s wonderful to see small businesses spotting a gap in the market and trying to make a difference. When David Andrew founded Naked Life Sparkling he wanted to create something to give people a healthier option to drink. Both he and his partner are passionate about sugar-free products. Their creation Naked Life is both sugar-free and 100% natural.
Q. Why did you start Naked Life?
We started Naked Life because my partner was fructose intolerance and wasn’t able to consume sugar. We were trying to find a sugar-free drink that didn’t have any artificial sweeteners and realised that there were very few options available in this space. That’s when we decided to create something for this market for people trying to reduce their sugar. We are very passionate about sugar reduction, completely against artificial sweeteners and believe that you can create the things you want!
Q. What do you love the most about working in small business?
I love being able to create something that makes a difference in people’s lives! It is amazing how many people have thanked us and love our products due to a number of reasons can’t drink a normal soft drink. It is a real kick to have people responding to your idea and hard work. In fact, when people taste the drink and have a positive response it is an amazing feeling!
Founder David Andrew offering a healthier option
Q. What are your biggest challenges?
We have two major challenges. One is taking on the big guys (Coke and Schweppes). They have so many companies tied up in exclusive contracts that it is very tough to get a foot in the door. The thing is that companies have to really believe in the sugar-free and no artificial sweetener movement and to try and go against the restrictive contracts that they are locked into. Secondly, trying to find the cash to grow the business while holding off taking on investors. We have come across many opportunities but are faced with having to balance between seeing them slip through our fingers due to cash versus picking the right opportunities that will make a difference.
Q. Do you have any tips to deal with chasing late payments?
Working with smaller businesses is really tough. Particularly being a small business that relies on other businesses. You can’t just threaten them, because they will just move on. Having said this, calling the person and questioning them works well. Often they will provide an answer like “Ok. I’ll get the accountant to pay it” or “I’ll forward it on to them”. Usually, then you send through follow up questions and getting them to say yes to that. This creates more of a social contract that they feel they need to adhere to.
Q. What do you wish you had known before you began?
I wish that we knew more about the difficulty of cash flow. Especially setting up on the accounting basics and the fact that everything tends to take three times as longer than first expected.
Q. Do you outsource anything?
We are a very small-sized business. Basically, everything is outsourced with a tight knit team of suppliers. Our business model relies heavily on strong relationships with partners, focusing on our growth and how we can help each other.
“I love creating something that makes a difference!”
Q. What are you looking forward to next?
We are definitely looking forward to being able to put more money into our next product launch. Being able to fund that from the cash flow of the business is our next milestone as it helps to leverage the hard work from the first business.
Q. Do you ever give yourself a break?
I wish we could! But we do try and get away for the weekends every now and again. The more you can get away from emails and phone calls on a regular basis, it helps to reset your mind. We are hoping to take a holiday in the middle of next year which is exciting.
Q. What do you do to take care of yourself and your relationships?
It is challenging but it also provides opportunities because there is a lot of flexibility which you can take advantage of. I love the fact that I can do whatever I want at whatever time I want and I am starting to get used to taking some ‘me’ time during the day. Also from a partnership perspective, if we can get an afternoon free, we will take it off and do something together that others who are also running businesses can’t do. This definitely makes it feel worthwhile. Also, minimising the amount we speak about business with each other is critical as you can get quite one dimensional.
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