The Entrepreneur: Jane Michell, Jane Plan

The weight loss entrepreneur discusses the benefits of PPC campaigns, plans to expand to £18m and wearing ski clothes to work...

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Founder: Jane Michell
Company: Jane Plan
Description in one line: Jane Plan is a subscription service, delivering a monthly box of portion and calorie controlled meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack.
Turnover: £5m
12 month target: £10m

Business growth

Describe your business model and what makes your business unique:

  • We’re one of the leading diet delivery services in the UK.
  • We put major emphasis on the highest quality food and source local produce where possible.
  • We offer a bespoke, personalised service to our clients. We offer dedicated support to help them reach their weight loss goals.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

Jane Plan won a Good Housekeeping Tried and Tested Award for Best Diet Delivery Service in 2014. 

What numbers do you look at every day in your business?

Cost of acquiring customer, number of customers acquired, and the lifetime value of a customer.

To what extent does your business trade internationally and what are your plans?

We buy food from France and a small number of our customers are spread throughout Europe.

Describe your growth funding path

We’ve raised no funding to date but are currently looking for outside investment and this should be completed by end of 2015.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

Pay per Click (PPC) campaigns and the ability to track keywords Googled by potential clients as this allows us to tailor our PPC and SEO activity.

The ability to track the number of impressions on our website while our advert is on TV and then the tracking of subsequent orders has also made a huge difference. As has the ability for our website to record detailed customer data, allowing us to tailor our marketing activities and budgets accordingly.

Where would you like your business to be in three years?

I would like to see the business expand to £18m and see expansion of Jane Plan into Europe.

Growth challenges

What is the hardest thing you have ever done in business?

To start it!

What was your biggest business mistake?

My biggest mistake was not trusting my gut instinct when it came to committing big spend to a TV advert. I’ve learned to trust those feelings and go with them.

Piece of Red Tape that hampers growth most:

Growth has not been hampered by any red tape but transparency on Google would help us to grow faster.

What is the most common serious mistake you see entrepreneurs make?

Not knowing their numbers!

How will your market look in three years?

Much larger – the obesity crisis is not going away.

What is the single most important piece of advice you would offer to a less experienced entrepreneur?

Be prepared to give 100%, work 24/7 and don’t give up!

Personal growth

Biggest luxury:

An office with a functioning roof! Our first warehouse had holes the roof and I wore ski clothes to work when it got really cold!

Executive education or learn it on the job?

Learn on the job.

What would make you a better leader?

To introduce more structures, introduce KPIs and implement business and development reviews for all staff.

One business app and one personal app you can’t do without:

I don’t use apps!

Business book:

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

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