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How we navigated our first year – StartupSmart


From preparing a business plan to negotiating rent, frozen yoghurt business Yogi has ridden the highs and lows


In order to break through the barrier of an already saturated market of frozen yoghurt chains, Yogi founders Dale Nason and Katie Jones realised having a point of difference was an important factor in whether their brand would succeed or not.


Pairing their interests in a healthy lifestyle with business acumen, Nason and Jones decided to create an entire line of yoghurt sweetened with Stevia, a natural, kilojoule-free sweetener.


The Queensland-based pair also focused on getting their financial fundamentals right.


After shopping around, Jones and Nason scheduled appointments with a range of different banks and institutions that provided lending before settling on a loan.


Jones doesn’t believe Yogi’s point of difference played a huge part in the borrowing process, but thinks that a solid business plan that had been checked by experts was the key.


“There’s a lot of things that can be hidden, so having a professional look over your plan and making sure that there’s no stars in your eyes, can make sure that  you’re seeing everything for exactly what it is,” she says.


Jones says a good business plan needs to include a realistic budget and she encourages startups to call their leasing agent to determine rent and electricity costs. She also says to plan the number of staff you’ll require and their specific wages.


“If you take the time to research, you can set a budget with real figures and get a better understanding of your predicted cash flow.”


Jones says it can help to have more than one professional look over your plan.


“Everyone has different opinions and take from each what you want, that way it also helps you understand your business a lot more. I found it also helps with your planning as well,” she says.


For Jones and Nason, this advice included their bank manager.


“Our bank manager is amazing, and not just with the financial side of it. She had a lot of contacts and was willing to help with a range of different things, including insurance.”


Yogi’s bank manager regularly visits their Surfers Paradise store to say hello.


“We see her very often and it’s not just us going to visit her, she comes into our store too. The bank has been great in the relationship building process,” says Jones.


Jones says she did not actively seek advice from others in the frozen yoghurt business prior to starting Yogi, but says a large support network has developed as the business has rolled out. She encourages other startups to build a strong relationship not only with their customers, but their suppliers too.


“When we first started, we definitely had people in the industry giving us recipe tips and things like that, but there wasn’t one person in particular we went to.


“I think when you call up for help, in any industry, your suppliers will help you.”


In terms of building up a credit history, Jones says the most important history you can have is a good relationship with your bank.


“The better the relationship is, the more financial support you can get to further your business and to branch out and make it better. For us, it’s the history with the bank that has been more important and we have been building that since we started. We’re coming up to 12 months now and there are more opportunities in the financial side of things,” says Jones.


Looking ahead, Jones and Nason are considering turning Yogi into a franchise.


Written by: Nicola Trotman


This article is sponsored by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited ABN 11 005 357 522 (ANZ). The views and recommendations that are made in this document are those of the author and not ANZ. To the extent permitted by law, ANZ disclaims liability or responsibility to any person for any direct or indirect loss or damage that may result from any act or omission by any person in relation to this material.


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