“Why business success depends on surrounding yourself with self starters – SmallBusiness.co.uk

Here, John Stapleton, founder of the New Covent Garden Soup Co, gives his four top tips on surrounding yourself with self-starters to drive growth and scale.

Building a culture where staff are self-starters can be key for a business

Being a new entrepreneur can feel both bewildering and exhilarating. In the early days of any business journey, as an entrepreneur you will need to be all things to all people. Because of this, you will need to be extremely tenacious and ride the rows of obstacles that will be thrown your way. In the beginning the entrepreneur does, and almost is, everything – simply because there is noone else and everything is down to you.

The setbacks you face will often feel both challenging and time consuming, and there will inevitably come a time when you can no longer wear all the hats you needed to wear when you were getting started. Eventually, you’ll need to find people out there who are better suited to managing some of the areas of your business than you are.

At this point, you’ll need to build a support network, improve your processes and structures for business scale and free up some of your own time so that you can focus on the areas you’re more passionate about (and probably are best at) – it’s very likely it’s these areas that drove you to start your business in the first place!

HeForShe Campaign – We Are The City

John Stapleton is the ‘Authentic Entrepreneur’ with 30 years’ experience in pioneering new FMCG categories and establishing and growing successful consumer-led businesses in both the UK and the USA.

How can UK SMEs prepare for life after Brexit? – JustFood

When it comes to Brexit, almost everything is uncertain and unclear. As entrepreneurs and leaders of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), it can be tricky to anticipate and take proactive action to future-proof your business when the post-Brexit business environment remains so unpredictable, John Stapleton writes.

Strength is not being afraid to make mistakes - The Famous Business podcast series/ Class PR

TFB 045: Strength is not being afraid to make mistakes

With John Stapleton, co-founder of New Covent Garden Soup Company, Little Dish and serial entrepreneur.

It’s not often we have someone on the show who has completely invented a new category of product – but John Stapleton was part of a duo that did just that.

John is one of the co-founder’s of The New Covent Garden Soup Company, the guys who took soup out of the tin, made it fresh and put it in a carton.

In the late 1980s this was completely revolutionary and sparked a new way of manufacturing, selling and consuming soup. It’s fair to say John is a true pioneer – he even had to build his own factory to get his soup on the shelves!

On today’s show, John shares the story of his entrepreneurial journey from the early days of NCGS through to toddler food brand Little Dish and the work he does today mentoring young startups.

John has so much insight and wisdom to share and is a big proponent of moving beyond our fears to fulfill our business visions.

In this conversation you’ll learn about the need to clearly define the audience for your product, build a brand that speaks entirely to that person and why it’s better to start with a grassroots marketing strategy rather than trying to be ‘the next big thing’ overnight.

If you are a food startup, or in fact any kind of startup, you’ll learn so much from this conversation – so sit back and lap up this soup-er advice!

Diverse & Inclusive Leaders Podcast – DIAL and Leila Mckenzie


· How I’ve gone from setting up new businesses to focusing on helping entrepreneurial businesses grow

· My own entrepreneurial journey (which has now lasted 30+ years and is still ongoing)

· The importance of not trying to be an expert at everything as an entrepreneur, and instead bringing on board, leading and inspiring the right people

· The reasons why I think that a male-female partnership can be the strongest type of partnership in business.

Judging at the Future Food Awards – Speciality Food & Food Talk

I’m delighted to be judging at the Future Food Awards this year.

The Future Food Awards are here to celebrate the new brands and innovations revolutionising the food and drink industry. Brought to you by Speciality Food Magazine and The FoodTalk Show, they're giving the most exciting businesses of today a step towards success, international recognition and money-can't-buy contact with some of food and drink's most revered experts.

There are nine categories to enter, including Young Producer and Drink Innovation and entries are open until midnight on 30th June 2019.

Judging at the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards

John Stapleton is the ‘Authentic Entrepreneur’ with 30 years’ experience in pioneering new FMCG categories and establishing and growing successful consumer-led businesses in both the UK and the USA. John now actively manages an investor/Non-Executive Director portfolio contributing value-added business growth advice, guidance and mentoring to business owners.

 John has first-hand experience in start-up, early stage growth and scale-up stage businesses, having co-founded 3 FMCG businesses, building and growing each to exit. John helps design creative, practical, experience-based solutions to problems, challenges and opportunities that brand owners encounter in starting, growing and scaling their companies, across all areas of business.

In 1987 John co-founded the New Covent Garden Soup Co Ltd., which pioneered and grew the fresh soup category in the UK. On reaching over £20m revenue, Daniels PLC bought New Covent Garden Soup Co in 1998. In that same year, John co-founded Glencoe Foods Inc., to bring the fresh soup concept to the US. On returning to Europe, John established a consumer branded food consultancy and worked with a number of corporate and early-stage growth businesses across the FMCG sector in the UK, US and continental Europe.

Building and Selling a Food Business – Good Foodies Podcast

Do you have grand plans to start, grow, scale and sell your food business? Would you prefer more of a lifestyle business? Regardless of your goals, John Stapleton has some great advice for you.

John started New Covent Garden Soup in 1987. He started Glencoe Foods in 1997 (pretty much the same business as New Covent Garden, but in the United States). He then started his third business, Little Dish, in 2006. Two out of the three were successfully built and sold – Little Dish sold for £17 million in 2017!

Over the last 30 years John has learned to embrace adversity, have the courage of his convictions, learn from failure and the power of authenticity. And that’s exactly what we talk about in this episode.

In This Episode You’ll Learn

  • What “experts” thought about the idea of fresh soup in 1987

  • How to push forward with your idea no matter what people say

  • How to embrace and learn from failure

  • How to enjoy the journey of building your business rather than the end result

  • How to set your business up for sale from the beginning

  • What to consider when raising funds and giving away equity

The AXA Growth Leaders Series: The future of Leadership

Business leaders face unprecedented challenges that require a new mindset. More than ever, leaders need a growth mindset to navigate today’s talent landscape and the rapid pace of change. Tomorrow’s leaders must be more entrepreneurial and ambitious, looking to new horizons while seeking new routes to success.

In this video The Supper Club and AXA PPP healthcare brought together successful entrepreneurs and leading thinkers to share insight on how to lead with a growth mindset and build high performing teams as part of ‘The AXA Growth Leaders Series’. They discuss:

1. Why people's abilities are malleable

2. Why you need to increase your emotional intelligence

3. Why you should address mental health for you and your team

4. Why you need to be authentic and purpose driven

You will hear from:

Eduardo Briceño, Co-Founder & CEO, Mindset Works

Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services for AXA PPP Healthcare

Adam Ludwin, Chief Visionary Officer, Captify

Tom Bradshaw, Private Banker for Entrepreneurs at Investec

Charlie Walker, Founder, Harmonic Finance

John Stapleton, Co-Founder, New Covent Garden Soup Company and Little Dish

The Guardian’s Confessions of a Small Business

John Stapleton, co-founder of New Covent Garden Soup Co and Little Dish, was the keynote speaker at the Confessions of a Small Business event.

In 1984, John Stapleton was 19 and, in his own words, a “nifty triple jumper”, training with the Irish national team and hoping to represent his country in the Los Angeles Olympics. But injury struck and Stapleton never made it. 
His coach told him that he had two options – waste time feeling sorry for himself, or start training for the next season. 

Stapleton, who was speaking at the Guardian’s Confessions of a Small Business seminar, went on to found the New Covent Garden soup company, which pioneered the idea of fresh, chilled ready-made soups, and Little Dish, which offers healthy ready meals for children.

Q&A with Angel Investor John Stapleton – The Sunday Times

Every week we talk to a business angel, one of the early-stage investors who collectively inject £1.5bn a year into British start-up companies.

John Stapleton: ‘I invest in businesses only where I think I can add value’

John Stapleton, 54, co-founded the New Covent Garden Soup Co straight after graduating from Reading University in 1987. After 11 years and with sales of £20m, he sold it to Daniels, a London-listed food company. He later started Little Dish, which makes children’s snacks, and sold that last year.

Stapleton started angel investing two years ago and backs food and drink start-ups including Capsicana, which makes Latin American sauces, and Spoon Cereals, a health food maker.

Stapleton typically funds founders with £100,000.

Why I invest
When you start your own business, you go very deep into a lot of detail — but it’s only one business. Investing gives me a breadth of experience I never had before, and keeps me in touch with the market.

HeForShe Campaign – We Are The City

John Stapleton is the ‘Authentic Entrepreneur’ with 30 years’ experience in pioneering new FMCG categories and establishing and growing successful consumer-led businesses in both the UK and the USA.