Yummia's founder, Mia McCarthy takes Food mag's Q&A and sheds some light on the joys and challenges of running your own food brand.
Name: Mia McCarthy
Company name: Yummia
Title: Sole trader
What are your primary roles and responsibilities in your job? Give us a day in your working life.
At the moment I run all aspects of the business. There is no typical day, although I do try and follow a general weekly plan in order to ensure everything gets done through the week. Although every day I have to exercise. This is really important for my sanity and I find I often do my best problem-solving and planning when sweating it out at the gym.
I have listed a few things that happen each week:
- Manage supplies. Keeping on top of inventory and stock.
- Investigate new business opportunities, following through with contacts and industry leads.
- Processing orders, reviewing and invoicing all orders that are placed from customers.
- Production days – we have a few production days per week, which involve busy days at the factory preparing and packing orders ready for dispatch. Because it's a fresh product we can't have stock sitting around for a long time, so we have to be really on top of orders.
- Business planning – at least each week I sit down, and look at the business growth up until now, what worked and what did not.
- Research, research, research. I'm always looking at other businesses and taking advice and reviewing how we can implement successful strategies into Yummia.
- Paper work – on any given day there is hours of papers to be filed, bills to be paid, money to be collected!!
What training/education did you need for your job?
Well lots I'm sure, but I have none! I started this company at 21 in my final year of university studying BA Dip ED (Primary), so all my training and education I have learnt through experience and on the field. A lot of trial and error! It is these real life experiences that have shaped the businesswoman I am today, and the one I want to be in the future, so lots more experiences to be had!
How did you get to where you are today? Give us a bullet point career path.
- Graduated from High School in 2006.
- Completed BA Dip ED (Primary Education) from Macquarie university in 2011.
- I started Yummia in my final year of university study. After managing the two for a while, Yummia started to grow.
When I finished university I was able to invest in the business in a full time capacity. I initially made a personal investment of $10,000 into the business. I had saved this up through babysitting and working odd jobs throughout university. As the business has made more money we have re-invested this straight back into the business as well as a loan from my parents.
What tools and/or software do you use on a daily basis?
MYOB – this is by far the single most useful tool that my business uses. I received it as a birthday present because I could not afford it at the time and it's definitely been the best present I've ever received!
What is the one thing that you are most proud of in your professional life?
Yummia as a whole, being quite young I have not had many 'professional' experiences, but I am extremely proud that I have created and built this company from the ground up. I stated off as a uni student with an idea. I receive an extreme sense of pride knowing that Yummia has been created from nothing. That makes me really happy! Although we're still only just over a year old, so hopefully there will be many more happy moments to come!!
Biggest daily challenge?
Cash flow with accounts receivable, I'm slowly learning that people don't like to pay bills and it's a constant battle to chase payments and keep on top of outstanding accounts!
Maintaining sales in shops and positive customer relationships. When I had just a few small shops I was able to really nurture this growth and sales. I developed really strong relationships with all my customers, as we grow the personal connection gets diluted and we become just another product on shelves.
Biggest career challenge?
Logistics and delivery. This is something I constantly battle with, and getting product into shops quick enough to maximise shelf life. We are in the process of implementing a few procedures that will greatly increase shelf life for delivery time!
What is your biggest frustration in your job?
People not doing what they say they will do. I'm constantly following up with suppliers and contracts to ensure that deadlines are met and standards are maintained.
What is the biggest challenge facing your business?
All our products are quite new concepts to the breakfast market, we are not able to piggy-back off the category awareness that comes with other products. So educating the customers of our products.
Sustainable growth, meeting current demand and still having the capacity to greatly increase productivity.
Is there anything else about your job you want Australia to know about?
It's not as daunting as it looks. Compartmentalising different aspects of the business means the big picture does not overwhelm me or stop me from doing my job to the best of my abilities!
Click here to read more on Yummia's product range.
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