Any entrepreneur will tell you that one of the most important things they must have is self belief, and for none is this more true than Dan Cluderay of Approved Food.
When he was made redundant, Dan decided to start a business doing something that had never been done before, selling short dated and residual stock food and drinks online. Entering last year's Pitch to Rich VOOM competition, Dan had the belief that his business could go all the way.
Since the competition, he’s worked with Virgin Media Business to develop his business, and they came up with the tagline #PerfectlyGood to highlight that food before its ‘eat by’ date is absolutely fine to eat. And he’s become something of a media darling, appearing on BBC radio and TV and on ITV News.
But the most important thing for Dan is that it’s raised Approved Food’s profile in the food industry and Dan’s seen his supple base increase by 30 per cent.
“Doors that were previously closed, with us banging our heads against them, started to open. Suppliers want to work with us; they have respect for us. We’re painted with a brush of positivity. There’s a wow factor about us,” he says. “But you have to work for it. My advice is simple: don’t sit on your laurels. The pitch process will drain you, and there’ll be tears, but it’ll be worth it. And when the dream becomes a reality, you’ll feel shivers down your spine.”
To anyone thinking of entering this year’s VOOM competition, he adds: “Listen, if some fat bloke in Sheffield who sells out-of-date food can do it, then so can you.”