The location of our company is not very sexy. We're in a strip mall, at the back of a plaza, in the middle of town, surrounded by delicious family owned restaurants, salons and tattoo rooms. We like it. Our neighbors are friendly, and for a co-packer, street frontage isn't very important. However, our kitchen came with a take away cafe space, so we decided to open to the public. Business is lousy because people don't know that we are here yet. That's ok. It's not our primary business and it's fun to take a break from making pods to chat with the occasional customer about coffee. Of course, at some point we'll do some serious marketing and see if we can bring in more business, but while we get our legs...this is ok.
When you are a small business, you can be inundated with many options. The vision you have may not be the vision that appeals to others. Your company is a fruit tree that you wander under and go to where the easiest yield is. So long as you stay under your tree, I think it's ok. Kind of a lame analogy, I know. But the point is....what you start out doing, may not be what you end up succeeding in. So don't be afraid to pick the easiest fruit. You can always come back to the fruit that inspires you most, later.
During times of economic set backs, a lot of new businesses crop up. People lose their jobs, receive severance pay or government subsidies, and decide to follow their dream of working for themselves. If you are among those new small business owners, I just want to tell you that if your neck is sore from looking up to gather fruit, or your arms aren't long enough, or your tree isn't producing much....don't give up. There are people nearby with longer arms and fertilizer. That is to say, there are people who have done this before. You don't have to wonder or worry. All you have to do is ask for help.
I started Single Serve Co with a mission of helping other businesses in my industry reach higher into their fruit trees. A no minimum coffee co-packer for pods that were previously unattainable to most small coffee companies. Along the way, there have been and will be MANY challenges. I know my business, but I'm not even close to knowing everything. Luckily, I have a community full of connections that I can reach out to and ask questions. And when a customer needs help with something, it's thrilling to be able to share those connections and watch their trees bear more fruit. It's really what makes this job fun.
If you are struggling, don't. Just call me and we'll see what we can do to help.
And since I have been pervasive in using a gardening analogy, here is a picture of a matcha latte, lounging in our coffee garden in front of the cafe that gets very little traffic. Ironically, almost every single person who walks by, comments on how wonderful our garden is. In only two months time, I now see it referred to on community boards by strangers. I feel in a few more months, I'll be able to tell people, "Yes, I'm the cafe with the coffee bean garden." And people will nod knowingly. You just never know where the fruit will fall.