Spend to Survive Video: Founder of Manilife

Stuart Macdonald
Stuart Macdonald

Stuart is the Founder of ManíLife, having previously worked as an accountant. ManíLife produce craft peanut butters, all made from natural sweet and creamy peanuts sourced from a single family-run farm in Argentina.


In the video below, Stuart explains how they are managing company spend at ManíLife. Learn how the company has reacted to COVID-19, which financial metrics have been a priority for them – and how they’ve spent to survive.


Late investors were in luck

Manílife kicked off a fundraiser in October last year for individual investors, which was followed by a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs in February this year.

The global pandemic actually benefitted Manílife and helped them grow considerably. Because of this, and given the fundraising lasted six months, people had a chance to come in later to invest. So, investors coming in at the end of the round got the same price as those back in October – even though the business had grown three times larger.

These bright results meant Manílife didn’t need help managing their spend or reducing costs. Phew!

Marketing was a real bargain

Just because Manílife prospered during lockdown and didn’t need to reduce costs, it doesn’t mean they didn’t end up chopping down expenditure anyway.

Like many other businesses, Manílife took down their marketing efforts for the first month of lockdown. They didn’t think it was appropriate. But a light flickered on since then: they realised it was the cheapest time ever to invest in marketing. A silver lining if we’ve ever seen one.

Remote working has had its perks

Another cost that Manílife was able to reduce was rent.

They managed to push back rent during lockdown after negotiating with the landlord – one more factor to keep them well above the water.

Manílife will have to start paying rent again soon (even though the office is practically empty), but the money they saved during this time was a big help.

Keeping an eye on all metrics

Pandemic or no pandemic, Stuart and his team know the value of staying on top of all financial metrics.

They highlight gross margin, debtors, creditors and cash. But since they’ve just had a successful round of fundraising, cash is not a limiting factor. In a nutshell: watch what matters to you.