Your Reading List & recommendations

The Sarnie Business day 1 – Sarnie bootcamp

Two entrepreneurs, one brand new venture and two years’ worth of business ups and downs crammed into two weeks. What could possibly go wrong?

Two keen young entrepreneurs don’t know what they’re getting into when they get £500 to tackle a new startup with the help of O2 Business.

Meet Lauren (@LaurenDouglin) and Scott (@ScottHudson), the entrepreneurial pair who’ve taken on the challenge of a brand new startup with O2 Business.

Over the next two weeks they’ll be running The Sarnie Business, a new start-up making and selling classy and original sandwiches to hungry workers in central London.

They first met four years ago at university, and have kept in touch ever since. And while they’ve worked with small business startups before, some in the catering and entertainment industry, this is the first time they’ll be in control and calling the shots. At least, that’s what they think.

Lauren says she’s the organiser, and the most optimistic of the pair. Scott thinks he’s a little more cynical, but he reckons his charm and chat make him perfect as the public face of the enterprise. There’ll be a lot of challenges in store, and most of them will be completely unexpected. Here’s what they thought at the end of day one.

Sandwich entrepreneur Mel from has some ideas for the team


Hard lessons

Lauren: The first day on the job was eye-opening, to say the least.

Scott: I think we underestimated how much the practicalities play a part. I thought maybe we could be a bit more creative and a bit more different. But we hadn’t realised some basic things like how much time it actually takes to make a sandwich, and how complicated it can be if you don’t keep things nice and simple.


Lauren: We were trying to think of things that would be a bit different and that would stand out. But sometimes, that’s not really what you have to do. You don’t always need to think outside of the box – everyone loves the box.

Scott: But hopefully we can find a mix of the two that’s going to be interesting but is still going to work for the practicalities. You can be as creative as you like but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get paid for it. You’ve got to find a balance that will persuade people to buy your sandwiches, but allow you to make enough of them at a good enough price, to make your profit.


Lauren: We’re definitely learning which flavours and fillings are going to interest people as well. Something that interests us isn’t necessarily going to interest the masses.

Scott: It was great to get expert opinion from Suzanne (successful small business caterer and sandwich supremo from Gustatus), who’s done it before, because it is something new for us. We’ve both done similar things in the past but not quite like this.


Lauren and Scott - as ready as they'll ever be?


Ready for anything

Scott: My worst moment was not knowing how to use a tin opener. I was trying to use the wrong end and that’s when I realised that perhaps I didn’t have all the necessary skills that I would require for this.

But just being in the kitchen together has opened up some weaknesses between us and showed a little bit how this dynamic will work, so our biggest challenge could actually be ourselves, and needing to work through change and take on new ideas. I think sometimes we’re not always so good at that.

Lauren: I agree, and I’m excited that we’ve got absolutely no idea what’s coming next, it’s going to be such an adventure.


Lauren and Scott get on their bikes and start selling.


Read more about The Sarnie Business

Watch all 5 Sarnie Business videos




All articles


Public sector

Safe & secure


Tech advice

Work smarter