Monday, July 18, 2011

One Bite at a Time

Photo by Magna Vita Photography

Starting a small business is a lot like having a baby. Many have drawn this parallel before and now that I have done both I can confidently say that its very true.

There is the idea phase. That moment where your "baby" is conceived. (I vividly remember the moment, more like vision, of gourmet marshmallows. And I have a journal entry/rambling/"plan" that documents it and outlines how I would do it different than the rest).

The anticipation. What shall I name it? What room will it live in? How shall I decorate it? How do I want to announce it?

And then it arrives. Sleepless nights. Time is not your own. Its not what you thought it would be. You get lots of feedback and opinions and advice. Your emotions are haywire. Loss of sleep, new parent anxiety, wondering when life will "get back to normal."

And then there are the Year One milestones. Its like a huge competition. Independant sitting. Crawling. Walking. First words. First foods. Okay, for the real baby. But the business version of this- social media presence, SEO, press, sales, profits.

But just like real babies, our businesses can only grow and develop one step at a time. Certain milestones need to be reached before the next. Babies don't walk before they hold up their head (hopefully!). Businesses don't grow before you lay a foundation.

In all my previous corporate experience, the best business lesson was at Starbucks. (I often tell people that being a Starbucks store manager is the best business school a person can attend). The mantra of One Cup at a Time resonated with me deeply. Passionate about coffee and customer service, I took this to heart. And still do. I truly believe that thriving companies, big and small, are built on the One Customer at a Time philosophy.

At Kimberley's Kitchen, One Bite at a Time is my growth strategy. Why? It has to be. I won't grow until someone tries my gourmet marshmallows and falls in love with it. If they don't, I move on (and try not to take it personally, but it is my baby after all).  I really love connecting with each and every customer, achieving milestones one step at a time.

Just like a mom, I nurture my "baby" everyday. Often in the middle of the night. Whenever needed. Always trying to make the best decisions and do the right thing. I have met lots of supportive Mompreneurs along the way and am inspired by them daily. My "baby" will be turning One in the Fall, my favorite time of year. And I am really looking forward to celebrating this first year. Motherhood and Business Ownership have enriched my life and I am definitely better for it.

Now back to the Kitchen, to make a batch of marshmallows for this week's market. Where I will get to connect with my customers and continue to grow One Bite at a Time.

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