SHE'S working 80 hours a week to hand-make her special granola and Byron Bay businesswoman Indi Sutton convinced Shark Tank's Glen Richards to fund her company's expansion with a $100,000 deal for 40 per cent equity and a loan for $200,000.
Sutton's business, The Monday Food Company, produces organic, gluten free, sugar free paleo baked granola and is struggling to keep up with demand, which is the reason for her long hours.
The growth of her company has been completely "organic" as well, with Sutton hitting the streets of her home town of Byron Bay three years ago to convince shops to sell her granola.
"I think I went to about 14 stores when we first put it all together and every single one of them agreed to take the product on and from there I knew it was going to work," Sutton says.
"I did a bit of social media around it, not a lot though really, and just having it in the stores was enough for it to take off."
As for a marketing and sales strategy, Sutton says she "didn't really have one" and simply relied on the underlying demand for her healthy granola and was picked up by major food distributors.
"Everything that goes into it (the granola) is the highest quality and I've always made sure the products were sourced locally and I think that has also resonated with people."
Sutton's success is all the more remarkable given she has dyslexia, a disorder which involves difficulty in learning to read or interpret words or letters, but does not affect general intelligence.
"I think I've always been involved in business even from a young age and the bottom line is I understand business and that's the key thing," Sutton says.
"Dealing with that (dyslexia) can be an issue but there are ways around that and I've always relied on my business sense to get ahead."
Sutton says she is "delighted" that Glen Richards opted to invest in her business and she can now take it forward with expansion and automation that might just put an end to her 80-hour week.
She's going to launch five more products, for gut health and children's health, and is now planning a push into Dubai which is a market with a high disposable income and expat community which is expected to be looking to buy her product range.
"I am looking forward to not working such long hours but I also need to look at automation and having the buying power to purchase ingredients in bulk.
"My prices are relatively high at the moment so if I can reduce the cost of making it, that will improve my margin, for sure."
And as for her key piece of advice for budding entrepreneurs, Sutton echoes one of Glen Richards' key mantras.
"You've got to do it because you love it and don't expect to become an overnight millionaire. It's hard work but it can be worth it if you put in the effort."
Business News Australia
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