12 December 2018

Carley Jones - Kettlebell Kitchen - business podcastHow many times have you left the office or gym late, looking for a quick bite to eat? There is no shortage of fried chicken, chips and burgers, but very few options for clean, fresh food.

That was until Kettlebell Kitchen came along. The healthy food business turned over £1.7m in its first year of trading and now has three restaurants in Manchester along with a meal-prep arm of the business. So how did founder Carley Jones defy gravity?

I interviewed her for this week’s episode of my podcast to find the answer to just that. What I discovered is that she is incredibly driven, sales-minded and one of the most passionate people I’ve ever met. Her focus on delivering clean, fresh food is clear. So much so that her first restaurant came from nothing – without a plan or design. She scraped together everything she had, pulled together the restaurant itself and, as she says, ‘winged it’.

Three circles

In my opinion, there’s far more to it than winging it. Carley clearly has the passion for her business in spades. She also has the sales experience and management skills to get the business off the ground. Whenever I look at the reasons behind starting a new business, I always refer back to Jim Collins’ three circles: can I be the best at it, can I make a financial success of it, and am I passionate about it?

Without any one of these elements, a business cannot succeed. Carley ticks all three with Kettlebell Kitchen. Speaking to her, it’s no surprise that she is thriving in an industry that’s struggling elsewhere. As more and more high street restaurants close, Kettlebell Kitchen is planning more outlets and expanding at pace. Despite comparatively higher prices than other ‘fast food’ on the market, the demand for a healthier alternative is high.

Carley also mentions the importance of her health and wellbeing when it comes to business. Having become caught up in a ‘business bubble’, Carley had let her fitness slip. The impact of hitting the gym was immediate; she had a new lease of life and felt ready to take on any challenge. I echo this completely. My experience has taught me that when I stick to my exercise routine – squash and training – I am full of energy and raring to go. As soon as that routine slips, so do other areas of my life. It’s fascinating to hear the same of other entrepreneurs time and time again. Clearly exercise is a key part of the winning formula.

Everyone has their own winning formula, but there are undoubtedly commonalities between the business leaders I speak to. What’s your formula for success?

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