Catering business with designs on the future
How funded business support helped Wild Fork West cook up a storm
Wild Fork West, private chef and caterer Michael Holloway, has established a growing business providing high quality catering for weddings and private dining events. It’s all a far cry from his previous career in the legal profession – so how has he done it?
Michael explains, “I was looking for something new that allowed me more independence – something with a future that would also work for my young family. What I really loved was putting delicious food on people’s plates, so I wanted to find a way of making a living from that idea.”
The business skills to survive
While Michael took the leap and started his new venture, he quickly learned how challenging running a business could be: cooking and catering skills were just the start. “I needed to know about marketing, bookkeeping, regulatory compliance and so much more,” he says. He soon discovered that free business support was provided by Cool Ventures, funded by Bath & North East Somerset Council.
“I quickly learnt that I couldn’t solve everything myself. It was so helpful to be able to talk about my business with an objective, supportive third party. Receiving fully funded expert one-to-one support from Cool Ventures was brilliant. I found it really flexible and got loads out of it.” Michael Holloway
The help Michael received included in-person advisory meetings with Sue, one of Cool Ventures’ business support experts. As the pandemic broke out in 2020, Sue helped Michael secure vital funding. But the impact of the support he received went much further than short-term financial assistance.
“As my business advisor, Sue was there for me. She asked the right questions, gave me space to think, and helped me to see the bigger picture and to prioritise what I needed to do. It really gave me the confidence to make decisions, back myself and invest in my future.”
Turning complexity into simplicity
The advice Michael received was backed-up with solid analysis. For instance, Sue helped him use a customised cashflow model that helped show a clear way forward through the many challenges posed by the pandemic.
Michael comments, “What impressed me when I sat down with Cool Ventures was that we were able to cut through all of the difficulties I faced. For me, one-to-one business support turned complexity into simplicity. Advice was given with a human face – and because of that, I listened!”
So what difference has Cool Ventures’ support ultimately made? “I’m just delighted to still have a business, post-Covid, when many others went to the wall,” says Michael.
“Cool Ventures have helped me unlock my ideas and given me the confidence to make them happen.
I still get crazy excited about food, but the things that motivate me now are different. I’ve recently recruited a fantastic chef, and I’m pushing on: I want to keep progressing my craft, building a great team and creating something that stands the test of time.”
Wild Fork West | https://www.wildforkwest.co.uk/