Is a Chinese restaurant based on a Sichuan cuisine.
We’re hoping to be a very stable restaurant and be well known in Newcastle, which is not difficult to achieve because it’s such a small city. I also think we will be ready to move on to the next venture in about a years time.
What made you start your own business?
Since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to run a business. I then studied Marketing and Management and also tried to start my own business at 17. I think it gave me a false sense of security so I thought doing business was easy and then I was quite convinced that I was just going to be a businessman for the rest of my life so initially it was quite a shallow, naïve way of deciding my path.
Achievements so far...
I think there’s a couple of them because for a restaurant the most important thing is to get reviews. We’ve set ourselves a goal that in a half a years time, we will have all the restaurant critics come to our restaurant so we can at least catch their attention and then hopefully put ourselves on their recommendations list.
Reviews happen really quickly; we were reviewed by The Secret Diner and The Journal just a month after we opened. It was quite positive considering they are some of the very harsh ones. They are all like secret diner type reviews, so you don’t even know when they come. However the reviews have been very good and everybody’s enjoying it.
When I’ve also looked at the market response in Dine on the Tyne for example, we are quite honoured to be named and listed up amongst such well-established, big companies. I think we are the only one that is not just independent, but also a new start-up. I think my biggest achievement would be those two things combined - we’ve really managed to make the market like us straight away and that’s our biggest achievement.
Experiences on the Foundership Programme
It’s great, it’s unbelievable. I think it’s probably greatest thing to ever happen to me so far. The Careers Service is unbelievable and I wouldn’t even dream of having this kind of level of support and help before I came to this country.
What advice would you give for starting your own business?
I think the most important advice I received and one of the things that is most overlooked by a lot of students, including myself, is that when you start a business it’s very easy to focus on the practical side. You focus on what you want your restaurant to look like, what the food will be like, and you don’t think about or understand the financial side of the business.
I think for anybody wanting to start a business, you need to sit down, even if it’s for 5 minutes and ask yourself, ‘Is this going to help me?’. If not, you’re wasting your time and it’s so easy to waste your time because you get distracted and too caught up in your dream and you overlook the reality of the business, which for any business is cash.
To summarise, for everything you do when starting up a business, think: ‘Is this going to help me? Is this going to bring more cash into the business?’. If not, don’t do it and don’t waste your time. Your time is the most important asset you have.
Web site: www.layuan.co.uk