Feeding pies to the Queen – 7 steps to business success



Pieminister have been making pies for over a decade. Starting out in 2003 in a derelict building not far from Bristol City Centre, they have gone on to become one of the region’s most loved local brands. Pieminister have managed to sustain exponential growth over the past twelve years, opening shops as far a field as Amsterdam. They have successfully grown their business on UK soil too, selling their pies at festivals across the UK, in addition to re-selling their pies in restaurants, pubs and shops – Pieminister have even supplied the Queen with pies for her Christmas parties!

Tristan Hogg, one half of the brilliant Pieminister founding duo, shares his top seven tips for entrepreneurs who are planning to grow their business.

1. Mentors, money and plans

‘Find a mentor at the beginning of your business journey, they will be able to help you develop a business plan and realise your vision. Your mentor can also help guide you through the application process to access funding’.

2. Stay realistic

‘Keeping things real in your business plan is key to success. Don’t over promote, don’t make promises you can’t keep, be honest with yourself and keep it realistic’.

3. Build your brand

‘Start by deciding on the values that you would like your business and products to reflect and then create your brand around that. Pieminister is friendly, honest and fun, but serious about fresh food and good provenance’.

4. Test, test and test again

‘Test absolutely everything! Even though our business is quite established, we still personally test and trial everything we do. Whether that means working in a deli, or visiting the Women’s Institute, it’s important to get hands on and give it a proper go’.

5. Grow and multiply

‘Take gradual steps towards realising your business goal but don’t be afraid to explore new paths and avenues for your business, including new markets. In our case, we began selling our pies at weddings, festivals, shops, supermarkets, delis and pubs. No one customer owns your products. Also, be alert to when the mood is right to develop and when opportunities arise to attract more customers’.

6. Listen and learn

‘Get to know your customers and find out first hand what it is they want from your business, then give it to them in as many relevant and different ways as possible’.

7. Bring in skills

‘You can’t be good at everything your business needs, so be sure to bring in other people with the relevant skills to help you manage and grow your business. A good example of this is accounting... get an accountant! Also, the things that you are really good at - Make sure that you do them often’.

Sign up to the West of England Growth Hub here.