Michael Caines: Top Tips for a Successful Business

Michael Caines MBE is Executive Chef at Devon country house hotel, Gidleigh Park, where he has been awarded two Michelin Stars. He also has a number of other restaurants around the UK, and opened his first international restaurant in Abu Dhabi in October 2015.

At our recent SME Summit in Exeter, keynote speaker Michael shared his top tips for successful business.

1.    Make your location work for you

Many successful local food and drink products are not just excellent products – they also represent a sense of place. Tell the story about your product and bring it alive in your brand by talking about the producer, the land, the herd, the vines or the climate. The things that make your product distinctive.

2.    Distinguish yourself

Tell your own inspirational story and share who you are as an entrepreneur. Tell people what inspired you to start your business and be the personality of the business. 

3.    Believe in your price point

Food and drink is a lifestyle product. Don’t sell it cheaply – sell it at great value and stand behind that price point knowing that it is a strong story and a fantastic product.

4.    Be consistent

There is nothing more frustrating than buying a product or service that is great one day and not so great the next. Consistency of delivery is so important. It will encourage loyalty and promote word of mouth.

5.    Go for quality

You might have a great story but ensure that you back it up with quality. It doesn’t matter how well you market a product; if it isn’t good people won’t buy it. But they’ll pay more if it’s excellent.

6.    Think big

When you’re a small business, you need to think big; but when you become big, you need to act small. Don’t lose your personality along the way. And always remain humble.

7.    Sell excellence

All great brands sell excellence – from Burberry to Apple. Aspire to sell excellence – the best food and wine at the best value, the best service, and the best experience.

8.    Build a strong team

It takes a good team of people to deliver the vision of an entrepreneur. Work with people who buy into your vision and who are strongly motivated to get behind your product.

9.    Shout about your regional identity

Champion the produce of your region, celebrate the provenance of your product and be proud of it. Make sure your produce and your ingredients represent the distinctive nature of your area.


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John Carroll - Helping businesses achieve International success. Head of Product Management & International Business, Santander UK