Name: Tom Mercer    

Job Title: Founder & CEO of MOMA.

My position in a nutshell… I set up MOMA (Make Oats More Awesome) in 2006 and we now sell our products into offices, coffee shops, supermarkets, airlines and trains. We started out with instant porridge and I am really excited to say that we have just launched oat milk.

How I got the job… I thought there was a gap in the market for a healthy on-the-go breakfast, so I opened a stall (made from a converted filing cabinet) selling breakfast to commuters in Waterloo station.

My typical day… As the founder I dip in and out of all sorts of things. In an FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) business, the roles are are operations, finance, sales, marketing and product development (which is the bit I like best). As founder, I am also involved in the strategy of the business, which is about setting the direction on where we want to go and helping to drive the business forward to meet our goals.

My most memorable moment… The day before we launched in 2006, someone strolled into our kitchens (which were in a railway arch in Deptford) and stole something. I managed to chase after him and bear hug him halfway down Deptford high street – he had my laptop under his coat with all my business plans and recipes!

The worst part of my job… Dealing with any legal issues, I find it quite tough.

The best part of my job… When we get positive feedback from our consumers – when we make enough of a difference to someone’s life, that they take the time to write us a really nice email or letter, saying how much they love the brand and they love our products. It really does put a smile on our faces and make our day.

Advice / key skills needed for anyone wanting to start their own business… The skills that are needed for someone who wants to become an entrepreneur are passion, determination and flexibility. It’s about having that resilience to really push on and the enthusiasm to help sell your product to people. Enthusiasm and passion count for so much, they can really help lift your idea and turn it in to a reality. Flexibility is about being able to change what you are doing as you go along, you’ll come across lots of obstacles on your journey as an entrepreneur and it’s important to adapt as you go, while always keeping your destination in mind. My advice is to plan well and ensure that you have a good understanding of numbers. When running your own business it is also important to have a good balance between passion and objectivity so that you make the right decisions.

Something you can do right now to take a step towards gaining work experience… More people now are eating breakfast at home and I think that will be the case going forward. Our sachet products are good for a quick, convenient breakfast. Your challenge is to design a campaign to communicate this to our consumers – this could be a TV Campaign, a poster, a post on social media. Think about how you can market the product to appeal to the people that you think would want to buy our products. You can check out MOMA’s website and also look at our competitors’ campaigns to get some inspiration and help you come up with your own ideas.