Little Dish, London-based maker of “fresh, healthy food for kids using 100% natural ingredients and no added salt or sugar”.
My business partner, John Stapleton, and I founded Little Dish in 2006. I was expecting my first child and noticed that fresh, healthy meals for toddlers and children were not available in supermarkets. Our idea was to make meals similar to those you’d cook at home, using only ingredients you’d find in your kitchen. We work with a nutritionist to create our recipes to ensure they’re nutritionally balanced. Now, more than 100,000 of our fresh meals are served every week in homes throughout the UK.
On being a HSBC Global Connections winner
We were shocked and delighted to be named London regional winner of the 2014 HSBC Global Connections Award for Excellence in Innovation. We didn’t expect to be a regional winner – just being involved was exciting. Sadly we didn’t win the national award, but we were one of the ten finalists selected from more than 1,700 businesses.
Being a regional winner in such a competitive place as London was a great achievement and we were one of the smaller businesses to make the finals. I think the judges were impressed by the fact that we had managed to secure listings with major supermarkets, as well as our social mission – to make a positive difference in children’s nutrition – while running a successful, fast-growing business.”
Winning awards helps to raise the profile of your business. Often media coverage follows if you win and such exposure can be good for business. Some awards offer cash prizes, too, but a key benefit for us has been the positive impact on team morale. We all work very hard and believe in what we do, so to get recognition for that gives us an extra lift. It provides validation that you’re doing a great job, which makes you feel good. Winning an award from a well-known, respected organisation such as HSBC also provides a major stamp of credibility.
We won a Design Business Association Design Effectiveness Award in 2007. That was our first award and to receive acknowledgement for your brand, something you’re so passionate about, it makes you feel very proud. Every award you win means something.
You know about some awards because you’ve read about them or you hear about them through your network. We don’t enter every award, we’re selective; you have to be, because entering awards is time-consuming. In 2014 we only entered two awards, and the year before we didn’t enter any because we were just so busy. In the future we plan to keep on trying to win, particularly consumer awards, because that validation is important.
Recipe for success
If you don’t enter – you won’t win. Passion and commitment were evident among all of the businesses that reached the HSBC Global Connections 2014 final. You have to have knowledge and total belief in what you do. Commitment to excellence and genuinely having something that sets you apart helps, too.
Advice to other small businesses
Be selective. Pick one or two awards and give it your very best shot. You must be able to articulate the gap in the market you serve and explain why your offering resonates so well with your customers. You must also be able to communicate your passion and belief for what you do – that’s what judges are looking for.