Nietzsche said what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. David Bowie sang that "it ain't easy baby". Kermit Frog just plained lamented that it wasn't easy. And, I'm here to tell you that they are all right! This past month ain't been easy for me nor for many of my new vendors! So, now it's time I talk about the not so easy parts of creating your own product or business and taking it to market, including my own struggles creating my own business.
First and foremost, the food industry is hard! Passion for a product is not enough to make a business sustainable, especially a food product business. Dreams of getting rich by selling one jar or package at a time, of even the most delicious product, often become nightmares! And perhaps, the grocery world has enough of your passion product.
So here's some free sage advice: go to the grocery store and take a look at the shelves. The shelves and what is not on those shelves will tell you what product you should create and whether the product you are investing your money in is viable. Talk to the grocery managers at your local grocery stores and they'll tell you what their shelves need. Finally because your family and friends love your products is not a good enough reason to go into production. No matter how passionate you are about your product, that passion alone will not make your business successful. You must approach your food business as a real business. Beginning with a business plan (that's for another blog and yes, I do write business plans).
Next, you need money, lots of money to create a successful food business. That fact is probably true in creating any business. However, it is even more true for a food business that is fraught with unexpected expenses. Simply put, your business cannot grow without it! Making it on a shoestring will never propel a business forward. Look for investors or a partner. Again, you will need a detailed business plan to attract those investors. I bet the food business doesn't sound so romantic after all, does it?
More bad news, the future of your food business is not always under your control. I've been hunting for and sifting through mounds of co-packers for my vendors and they are probably the most hard to control variable of your business. My next blog will tell you what I found out, including some of the horror stories I've also heard in my search for the perfect co-packer.
Finally, on a personal note, this has not been easy for me! Starting all over again, creating a business that helps struggling businesses grow, ain't easy! However, as I look at my life, not many things have ever been easy. It's the struggles that have helped me gain more faith in myself, my abilities and teaches me to trust in the process (most of the time). So, I am betting that these temporary rocky roads will prove Nietzsche right that what doesn't kill me will make me much stronger! I look forward to it!