How can a small company achieve that elusive first listing?

Louis Barnett
Founder, Chokolit

“We've never gone into any meetings with a tactic - although, of course, we had objectives we wanted to accomplish.

The mistake people make is going in saying, 'this is what we expect, this is what we want from you', whereas we enter meetings, not naïve as such, but smiling, with a sense of humour, and we never really talk about money.

Our presentation at the International Food & Drink Event in London this year scored the highest of any presentation; Sainsbury's said it was the best they'd seen. But we didn't mention money, we went in with a chocolate box and we talked about it for 10 minutes.

There were no notes and no preparation. We just said: 'This is our product, this is what we've done with it. Do you like it?' And when we finished they told us that, yes, they did.”

Sally Preston
Founder, Babylicious

“Although you may be able to show someone a fantastic product and concept it is still difficult to get people to commit.

One of the key things to do is to make sure the buyer you deal with actually sees your product and becomes a supporter of it because having a person on the inside that likes it can be very useful. Don't be afraid to ask for their help because if they do like it then buyers can be very supportive.

The other trick is more obvious, and that is to be persistent and keep going round in circles until you eventually talk to the right person. With big companies you need to be smart and try to speak with as many people as possible.”