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.
In 2005, John co-founded Little Dish, which supplies healthy, natural and convenient meals and snacks to children over one year. Little Dish created the chilled toddler food category, developing full UK retailer distribution and became the go-to brand in fresh toddler food. Having grown to approaching £15m annual revenues, John exited Little Dish in 2017.
Leveraging his extensive experience, John provides business growth advice and mentorship to growing businesses; is a business thought leader and speaks on a wide range of entrepreneurial management & motivational leadership topics. Get in touch if you’re interested in having him speak at your event.
As an entrepreneur, John earned responsibility very early and had to cope quickly with strong growth at New Covent Garden Soup Co Ltd, resulting in a practical and hands-on approach. The inevitable lack of structure and process of a start-up; the uncertainty of creating a new category (fresh soup); and the necessity to deal quickly with a lot of different challenges – for which he lacked relevant experience – brought a realisation that, ultimately, you need to “keep calm and trust yourself”.
John’s authentic approach and straight-forward rationale has its origins in his up-bringing on a farm in the west of Ireland and his early career as an international athlete. This provided John with a practical and down-to-earth gritty determination and an ability to recognise that life – particularly life as an entrepreneur – can be best approached by leveraging the inherent strengths of one’s own personality. John emphasises taking advantage of “early life experiences” to best deal with both challenges and opportunities in professional life.
John believes the only effective way of inspiring, managing and growing a business – of any size – is to do so from a position of authenticity.