Bigham's new factory
Charlie Bigham set up Bigham's which makes delicious, interesting ready-to-cook meals.
They are made with the sort of ingredients that Charlie would use in his kitchen at home.
In the Chicken and Choriso kebabs you'll find:
Fresh chicken (39%), fresh red pepper (31%), chorizo sausage (19%), water, tomato puree, fresh coriander, vegetable oil, smoked paprika, lemon juice, salt, garlic puree, black pepper, turmeric.
No preservatives or E numbers!
Bighams has just moved to a new location and has 300 staff but the ethos hasn't changed.
The food is made in kitchens - not factories.
It is made by chefs - not conveyor belt operators.
You'll find them washing, chopping, slicing, dicing and marinating - just like any good restaurant.
What advantages are there to organising production like this?
What are the disadvantages?
What does it tell you about the market that Charlie is aiming at?
The personal touch
Charlie wants to stay hands-on.
The business is still at a stage when he can be involved in almost every detail.
This is exactly what many entrepreneurs enjoy.
It's their business and they want to make the decisions.
What the chefs are asked to come up with some Summer Sizzlers, Charlie sees the results and has a strong influence on the decision.
What the business needs to move to bigger premises, Charlie decides.
He looks at the finances to make sure it all works.
Hands-on work in the factory
Bighams has a growing team but there are few big decisions that Charlie help to make.
It's a private limited company so he has to answer to his share holders but it's not like a public company.
Why do entrepreneurs really like being involved in every aspect of decision making?
What problems can this lead to as a business gets bigger and bigger?
How is running a private limited company different from a public limited company?
Charlie's business is in a field in which you can continue to have an influence in many aspects of decision making even as it grows bigger.
He has, however, taken on experts to run many aspects of the business.
There are specialists running sales, marketing, finance, production, health and safety and many others specific functions within the business.
They are all on the Bigham's website.
Why has Charlie taken on experts to run different aspects of the business?
What advantage does this have?
Why are some entrepreneurs unwilling to take on experts?
Big business - big decisions
As businesses grow, it becomes harder for the owner or managing director to take a hands-on role in every decision.
An entrepreneur has to learn to delegate.
Some really don't like it and decide to sell up.
Others make the most of the economies of scale and lead the business into further growth.
Many chilled food companies produce their own branded products and make others for supermarkets as well.
They can buy onions, tomatoes, meat and spices by the tonne. It always cost less when you buy more.
They build factories with production lines to make the most of technical economies.
As Charlie has done, they take on specialists to ensure that experts make the decisions.
How can economies of scale help a business to grow?
What factors can lead to diseconomies?
What sort of business benefits most from economies of scale?
What sort of business doesn't benefit from economies of scale?