A bit of inspiration from the visionary Tom at Moma!

If you regularly pass through a London train station in a morning, you’d be hard pushed not to know who Moma! is as they champion their crusade to deliver great tasting natural healthy breakfast to the UK masses. Being a total breakfast fanatic I have to say I’ve had my fair few, but this week I had the pleasure of meeting Tom the founder who shared his story and his vision.
Now 5 years old, Moma! is the brainchild of Tom – a Staffordshire farmers-son, Cambridge graduate and ex-Bain consultant, who in his own words ‘always thought he’d do his own thing’ (I know that feeling…)
It was in early 2006, when still at Bain, that the little devil started whispering alternative thoughts in Tom’s ear, beginning his entrepreneurial journey. After conjuring up numerous ideas, one kept standing out: there were no good grab-and-go breakfast opportunities. Convenient lunch and dinner options were widely available, but breakfast usually left rushed commuters earnestly settling for pastries or trying to fill up on coffee. Neither of which will keep you full till lunchtime, making the morning food intake even worse when the crisps and biscuits have to come out to fill the gap.
Tom spent the next 8 months developing the very best tasting natural product that he could. With his kitchen blender he proceeded to mix jumbo oats, soaked in fruit juice, with natural low-fat yoghurt and real fruit to make what is now their signature product Oatie Breakfast. Then the other vital ingredient was developed – his branding to make it stand out.
Listening to Tom’s story, it was clear that all the key ingredients (great product, strong branding, and clearly defined positioning) were landed early, but in addition two key things really stuck out for me that we can learn from:

  • Decide on how and where you sell based on your target consumer: a standard part of the process I use with businesses is to focus on the target audience for a product, in order to work out how best to reach them with marketing. But rarely do you see entrepreneurs factor this great consumer-centric thinking in their product development or ideas stage. Tom however, identified exactly where his hungry rushed potential consumers were and negotiated relentlessly until he could get a plot in a train station at breakfast time.
  • Have a vision because it will guide the right decisions: Tom is publicly very open about the financials of his business (so I hope that he will not mind me referencing this), but Moma! reinvests every penny into the business. Immediate profit is not Tom’s vision – being a business 5 times the size is Tom’s vision and he is prepared to invest in sales and marketing to get there. This is why a business vision is vital. A strong vision empowers entrepreneurs to make brave decisions , and the right ones to drive for success.

I hope that Tom’s story is a little bit of positive inspiration for the day, do share any examples you have of a clear vision helping you to make a tough decision.