A few years back, working as the 2nd Captain in a boat, taking people to Ibiza or to the Lebanon Coast, Steven Peraudeau could not imagine the future that was ahead of him. One thing, though, was already in his heart by the time he navigated French waters, away from his little city Nantes: his entrepreneurial spirit. After driving a boat for 6 of his now 30 years, the captain boarded a new enterprise in dry land, buying, reforming and selling apartments for a whole year. It was the beginning of a bigger tide that ended up bringing Steve to Australia.
Alison, his little sister, as he put himself, was already living here, working as an employee for food truck businesses. After his first visit to her, a new sea of opportunities opened up in front of them: “what if we opened our own food truck?”. And that was it. One year was spent between France and Australia planning and organising the idea. On the menu, french crepes, following a tradition that ran in the family. “My grandparents had a crepe restaurant where we spent a long time of our lives. They were our first mentors”. But even knowing crepes quite well, Steven and Allison decided to take classes in a French crepe school: “that was when we started to understand what is it like to work with food”.
Steven stopped going to school at 14. But entrepreneurs aren’t made with the traditional education rules. Within months the business was up and in January of 2016 had its debut out in the streets. The “Naughty Frenchy”, as it was christened in the last minute before submitting all the paperwork, was ready. Festivals, here we come.
THE FIRST YEAR
The first clients start to show up. A few festivals were attended. And some lessons started to come up. Steven joined Insight Academy to broaden his view on entrepreneurship. “The school program made clear to me the true value of having a business plan and doing our market research, something we did not spend much time with when setting up the business”. He explains that one of the crucial lessons in the first year was that spending more time in creating the business plan would save them a lot more time later on. With that lesson learnt, he tells me everything is running smoother now. Work goes on. “When you want to be an entrepreneur, you should really work with what you love, because days off are something you won’t have for a while”, notes Steven.
Another valuable lesson, according to Steven, was to figure where their market was. “We started out thinking festivals would be our main carriage, but as it turned out, catering and functions are our main and bigger segment now”.
For an entrepreneur, the work never ends as the waters are always moving. “Staying positive is key”, he says. “We had this one good moment when we drove all the way to Canberra for a festival. We made 8k of profit, which was great, but on the way back our car broke in the middle of nowhere and we had to leave half of our gains with the mechanic. Things sometimes will be out of your control, but you gotta remain positive”.
To wrap our chat, we asked Steven to share some more of his learnings with new entrepreneurs, and here’s what he said:
- Things take time – “There’s no quick money. Things take time and you got to put a lot of work and energy on your project”.
- If there’s a problem there’s a solution – “Stay positive. There’s a solution for everything if you want to see it”.
- Be prepared for the worst – “Here’s one of the values of the business plan. You can foresee and imagine threats and bad scenarios and that will give you one advantage: being ready for it”.
- Talking about money is important – “In France we had a big challenge which is people don’t talk about money. We have to be able to do it, among our peers, when doing research. That’s a huge help for the new entrepreneur”.
- Focus on one idea – “Like many, I have many ideas all the time. What changed it for me was to choose one and focus on it. You got to invest yourself on it, that’s the deal”.