Specialty Food Magazine

MAR 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/55461

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Page 7 of 63

FROM THE PUBLISHER Handling Growing Pains T he specialty food trade is filled with stories of entrepreneurs who've thrown off the comfortable, better-compensated yoke of corporate life to follow their passions into the specialty food business. Te stories featured in "Supplier Stories: Second Careers in Food" on p. 18 are prime examples of how much this trade owes to the renegades who buck the system. But what often go unmen- tioned are the challenges of transitioning a business from a small entrepreneurial start-up to a maturing company. Part of the attraction of turning your back on a steady paycheck is the freedom afforded by a start-up. Creativity rules during the early days of a company with an emphasis on speed and adaptability. When a small, core group does everything from finance and operations to sales and marketing, a rigid demarcation of responsibilities is going to muck up the works and slow things down. Over time, however, the seat-of- the-pants tactics of the early days become a liability as the needs of a growing business demand more than the core group can provide on its own. But many entrepreneurs find themselves balking when the creative cauldron has to be exchanged, at least in part, for a more formal organizational setup. When it comes to determining the business structure that's right for you, Bob Over time, the seat- of-the-pants tactics of the early days become a liability as the needs of a Burke of Natural Products Consulting starts with a more fundamental question: What do you want to get out of your business? In seeking the answer, a variety of other questions may crop up. Do you want to grow and sell it to a larger company? Build something to pass along to your children? Simply make a living? Is your focus on growth or profitability? Are you building on sweat equity with investments from friends and family or outside capital? The answers to each of these questions will help you determine the path that is right for you and your business. Wherever you are in your business life cycle, I'd encourage you to read Ari Weinzweig's article in our July/ August 2011 issue, "The Evolution of Organizational Culture and Leadership," which lays out Edgar Schein's stages of organizational development and how to apply it to any business. If you haven't devoted shelf space to your back issues of Specialty Food Magazine, you can find the article on specialtyfood.com in the magazine archive within the News & Trends section. While managing tough transitions and building a more formal organizational culture may not be the goals you had your heart set on when you embarked on a career in specialty foods, these elements will allow your busi- ness to thrive and adapt as the marketplace demands. It would be a shame to let all of that creativity, hard work and commitment dry on the vine. |SFM| By Matt Tomas HAVE A COMMENT? go to specialtyfood.com/mthomas/growingpains Publisher, Specialty Food Magazine mthomas@nasft.org facebook.com/specialtyfoodmedia MARCH 2012 5 growing business demand more than the core group can provide on its own.

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