Thursday, 24 September 2015

Lessons from banker to baker


previously shackled to a keyboard
We’ve written about our past before, in fact it’s on the front page of our website - we were looking for a change of direction, a route out of London, a vocation not a chore. We sat there sharing the food we’d cooked with friends and the answer stared back at us - pizza.

I’ve followed the time honoured career path from engineering to finance to artisan sourdough pizza, which isn’t quite as daft as it sounds as a love of food and sharing it with others was the one constant throughout. People are often shocked by the transition from banker to baker but for World Escape Day we wanted to list the top 3 skills we’d learned in one life and applied in another.

  • Network - a networking event was my idea of hell, but change the subject matter and it’s more like catching up with friends. I look forward to meeting with new suppliers and those with a passion for the best produce, sustainability and provenance. The connections you make in your new chosen field are invaluable, embrace every opportunity to expand your network. You’ve picked this new area, I promise it’ll be far less painful chatting to others about it.
  • Work ethic  - by most people’s standards I used to work long hours, I’ve never been work shy. Nothing quite prepares you though for the slog of starting your own business. I envy those who leave the office and don’t spare it another thought until they arrive the next day. I’ve barely switched off since we started - I need to get better at this - but it only shows how much we care. I think it was the Innocent book which referred to ‘The Eastenders Test’. If you get home from a 10-hour day and you still have the drive to spend another 5 hours working on your project (rather than simply watching Eastenders) then you’ve got what it takes to put in the long, hard hours to turn your idea into a reality. I hate Eastenders but we did 6 months of this before selling our first pizza.
  • Play to your strengths - For engineering and finance you need to be numerate but it’s been more handy than we’d expected for our fledgling business. Models to predict when the dough would be ready, ramp geometry to get the oven level, restaurant projections, it all helps to know your way around a spreadsheet. You’ll have a string to your bow which can be applied to your escape.

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