Picture this: You have a huge office, a full staff, a manufacturing plant, or your own commercial kitchen. It’s been your dream ever since you started your vegan business, and you’re giving it all you’ve got. But reality check!! You’re not quite there yet…maybe at this point you’re a solopreneur or a small business with a few employees reaching for the stars. And the question I want you to ask yourself today is, is big really where you want to go?
If big is where your roadmap is taking you, and you’re chomping at the bit to get there, then absolutely, GO FOR IT! But don’t forget to stop and enjoy the smaller successes along the way. If small is where you are right now, take time to acknowledge that it can be great to be a small business, whether growth is in your future or not. The most reliable roadmap to success focuses on being strong and solid no matter how big you are. Don’t be afraid to go for that mega vegan dream, but understand that there is value in every single stage your business will go through and don’t be eager to grow up too fast.
Recognize that it takes time to build a solid foundation.
Many very profitable businesses have been built in garages or with a single website. So if that’s you at the moment, don’t wear any shame or discontent. It’s important to get used to what the stages of growth feel like in a business. This is how you get to know your vegan business.
It might mean printing labels on your printer for the first six months, building a one-page website, designing your own flyers, counting inventory each week, booking your own meetings, or dropping off orders at the post office every night. You might need to wear multiple hats until your revenue can support investing in resources that make your business operate more efficiently. Or maybe you will decide that you like the many hats you wear, and this is where you want to stay – and that’s ok too!
It’s a lot of work being small, especially if you’re a one-person show; but there is definitely an upside.
With small size comes flexibility and a freedom that is not necessarily shared by larger businesses with multiple employees. Take full advantage! When you are in the beginning stages of your business enjoy the agility that allows you to test new projects, bootstrap resources and take moderate levels of risk.
The concept of a “vegan business” is still relatively new in the larger business world, so no matter what you’re going to be taking chances. When you’re small you can try things and fail, and it’s not the end of the world. It’s easier to pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and well, you know…!
A lot comes down to vision.
Do you have a clear understanding of where your dreams are taking you? Do you really want the responsibility of running a large corporation with hundreds of employees and multiple locations? Or will you be happier with a smaller vegan business that enables you to afford a certain lifestyle?
Know that there’s nothing wrong with staying small. A successful small business might allow you to take weekends off. Small might give you more time with your kids, or more time to volunteer with causes close to your heart. Instead of just dreaming big, dream specific. Challenge yourself to define your idea of success – be able to tell anyone who asks what that looks like for you, and don’t let size necessarily be the determining factor.
Take 5 minutes and find a quiet place to sit where you won’t be distracted. Close your eyes and picture the business of your dreams. What does it look like? Sound like? Smell like? Really get a picture in your minds’ eye. Once you have it, check in and see how you are really feeling inside. Do you feel excited, pumped, ready to throw open the door and announce “I’m here!” or do you feel worried, intimidated, and nervous? Gauging how you are feeling when you really take some time to sit with this will give you a good indication of whether you are headed in the right direction with your vegan biz.