So you want to start a vegan business? Yay! The world needs you! But, let’s put our enthusiasm aside for a moment, and do a bit of a reality check. I probably don’t need to tell you that starting any business comes with challenges, and a vegan business? Well, that may be even harder. I’m not saying this to dishearten you, but only to encourage you to be prepared for the road ahead.
As you get started there are a few things you can do to avoid some of the pitfalls that are so common in the first year of a new vegan business. Taking some time to get the skills and structure you need in place can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. At Vegan Mainstream, through years of experience with vegan startups, we have identified three things that are good indications of a business that is going to find success:
A successful vegan business establishes a strong customer feedback loop.
This is something that can (and should) be started from day one. Consistent, reliable customer feedback enables a business owner to take the pulse of their market. This is crucial in figuring out what customer needs look like, and how well a business is meeting those needs. One example of how you can do this is using Facebook groups to preview new products or services, or to gather support in advance of a launch.
A successful vegan business understands and leverages the metrics in their business to make timely decisions.
This means not just being aware of monthly income targets, but also early indicators that reveal whether campaigns, promotions or marketing are on track. Metrics and numbers intimidate a lot of new business owners, but smart entrepreneurs get comfortable with them early on. Every successful business owner has to face them sooner or later, and the sooner, the better. The fact is that without knowing the numbers, it’s easy to miss warning signs that business needs are shifting with the times, or to know when something that was working isn’t working anymore. Some key metrics to monitor are conversation rates, click-through rates, cost per acquisition and lead generation.
A successful vegan business owner understands that their business NEEDS to make money.
This is a pitfall I see talented entrepreneurs fall into time and again. The passion that inspires vegan entrepreneurs to start a business is the same passion that make us vulnerable to this. If it’s helping the animals, how can we charge for it? If it’s making people healthier, or helping the environment, how can we worry about money? But this thought pattern is destructive because it can make entrepreneurs feel bad when it’s time to charge for their product or service. It’s true that many vegan entrepreneurs don’t start their businesses to get rich, but everyone deserves a living wage. More important, if a business doesn’t earn one, it won’t be running for long, and the world will be one vegan business poorer. Remember, the more successful a business is, the more work it can provide for other vegans, and the more of an impact it can have on the world. So, right off the bat, it’s critical to recognize deep down that a vegan business brings value and deserves to be compensated fairly for its offering.
As you navigate the world of vegan business you may have a steep learning curve ahead of you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed! What it does mean is that you would be wise to connect with other vegan entrepreneurs and learn from vegan business owners who have come before you. The wonderful thing is that most vegans love helping other vegans succeed, which creates an amazing, supportive community. Welcome to the world of vegan business!
Consider the pitfalls noted in this article and think about whether you are vulnerable to any of them. Then make a list of ways you will avoid falling into them!