Why hello there! This time it really has been a very long time and an awful lot of metaphorical water has flowed under the equally metaphorical bridge; boy-o-boy do we have some stories to tell you. However, before we get into full swing, we feel the need to clarify that we, like you, are not entirely happy with the grammatical structure of the title. We had to omit an apostrophe to make the pun work, but please understand that we’re as uncomfortable about the whole thing as you are – please accept our sincere apologies. Let us take you back to where we left our story in June.
As orders began to dwindle, we put production on hold to commit ourselves fully to writing our business plan. We spent just under a month working full time on it, putting together thousands of numbers and forecasts, before combining it all together into an 8,500 word business plan (on balance, too many words, but what do you expect when you put the two of us in a room together?!). Our conclusion was that London is a suitable market and we could, in theory, make good progress. We calculated our company would cost around £50,000 to launch and we were willing to give up 22.5% of our company for this. According to our very careful modelling, we could target £500,000 profit within 4 years (giving us a valuation of around £2 million, based on approximate industry multiples).
However, we realised something else whilst we were writing the business plan – this whole starting a business thing is pretty bloody risky. No matter how conservatively we modelled, the number of things that would have had to go our way for us to have realised even close to our valuations was huge. Furthermore, being almost entirely skint ourselves, we would have been asking others to shoulder the financial risk we were taking on, whilst we would only have been investing our time (and maybe a couple of rusty pennies). As we discussed the possibility of laying Morgans’ Soup down to sleep (leaving the possibility of a reawakening…) we realised something else – we’ve had an amazing time, but we’re probably both ready to step up and try this ‘real life’ thing out. Though an amazing learning curve, one of the things the last year has proved is how much we both still have to learn.
So that leads us to today. Chris has managed to get himself a job in Corporate Finance Advisory – a place where he can truly learn how to generate value in a business and gain exposure to small companies who have done it right. Meanwhile, Matt is staying in Food & Drink, starting work for a company called Naked Wines, where he hopes to be part of another exciting, growing company. We’re hoping to live together up in the big smoke, and we’ve already got plans for an ideas whiteboard to have pride of place in the kitchen. Watch this space!
Things we won’t miss:
– Sitting at the market at 7am. With no electricity. In the dark. Trying to sell soup. Weirdly, “it’s a filling and healthy breakfast alternative” never quite worked…
– Getting back from our bar jobs and getting 5 hours’ sleep, only to wake up, walk downstairs and start chopping 100 onions. Was it really the onion juice making us cry?!
– Trying to cool our soups down before we missed our delivery deadlines, leading us on to…
Morgans’ Theorem #1: “Soup will always take longer to cool down than you think, even having taken account of Morgans’ Theorem #1”
– Trying to work out where our Tupperware containers were disappearing to!
Morgans’ Theorem #2: “You will never have enough Tupperware, even if you had loads, have gone and bought more AND have taken Morgans’ Theorem #2 into account”
– Not having any money at all. Not even rusty pennies.
However, Matt reckons that all of this was made worthwhile by Chris’ face every single morning, saying something like, “I am a proper hero for getting up this early, but I still hate it”; it was a little like the faces of the soldiers in Saving Private Ryan, about to land at Normandy. Something else made it worthwhile too; the feeling that we had built something. Nothing is more special than taking a bunch of stuff and doing something to it that you’re so good at that it pops out the other end as more valuable. And perhaps more than that, it’s doing it with someone who you can look at when you realise your 30L of American Corn Chowder has spoiled, and burst out laughing. Our year is a testament to both what you can do if you throw yourself at it, and, more importantly, a testament to our friendship.
The final important thing for us to both do is to say an enormous thank you to everyone who has made this last year possible and to everyone we’ve met along the way. To our friends, families and other loved ones; your unending support (and charity!) has made our poverty and other woes far more manageable. To our customers, suppliers, market stall holders and cafes; it has been a real pleasure and privilege to work with every one of you, and we wish both you and your businesses all the success in the world. And, last but not least, we say a great big Morgans’ Soup thank you to you, our blog readers. Whilst keeping you up to date was challenging at times (coming up with blog titles was, very genuinely, the hardest part of every week), you have all been more supportive than you could possibly know through your continued readership. Both of us have experienced the fantastic moment when we have had a chance encounter with an old friend and they revealed that they loved reading our blog – you have no idea how happy this made us, so thank you!
It’s farewell from us both for the time being, but who knows, we may be back… after all, Matt’s got this great idea already, which is like a highlighter and a pen rolled into one. It could be huge.
Anyway, enjoy our belated ice bucket challenge, and thanks for everything. It’s been a real pleasure.
The Soup Guys x