Like many entrepreneurial corporations Farmer’s Fridge had to dramatically modify our enterprise throughout the pandemic. Our major distribution channel is merchandising machines that dispense recent meals in areas equivalent to hospitals and airports, and when COVID-19 hit, we moved to scale back costs for our healthcare clients, whereas making an attempt new type components and distribution channels. (You may learn extra about our story right here). It has not been a simple transition, however we’re on monitor to double our pre-pandemic income this 12 months on account of the staff’s exhausting work.
Whereas many corporations speak about “pivoting” their enterprise, I’d argue that we didn’t change course a lot as speed up our mission by shortly responding to our clients and would-be purchasers’ wants.
If the pandemic has taught us something it’s that the market is consistently evolving. The query is how to lean into product market match—assembly present market demand—at the same time as your company works to evolve to meet altering situations. Listed here are three steps we adopted to help us obtain that stability:
The 1st step: Outline your mission
That is by far the hardest step and may typically take years, however setting the proper “north star” is the most necessary step to constructing something nice. You could have numerous twists and turns alongside the method, however in case you have correctly outlined your “north star” then you possibly can at all times depend on that to preserve you on monitor.
At Farmer’s Fridge, I began with a reasonably easy concept. I wished to make wholesome meals extra accessible by placing restaurant high quality salads and recent meals in a merchandising machine, making it cheaper and extra handy to eat wholesome. Just a few months in, we had some traction with clients and a serious retailer known as me and requested if I might put a machine in its retailer. I couldn’t perceive why this large participant would need to companion with a tiny company working out of a shared kitchen on the west facet of Chicago, however I quickly realized that our actual potential was to apply expertise and a direct relationship with clients to rework the recent meals provide chain. This perception modified the course of our enterprise as a result of I spotted that the actual innovation can be leveraging new applied sciences to make top quality, low price recent meals handy at scale for the first time. Briefly, we had been constructing a very new provide chain round a product as a substitute of making an attempt to match our product by means of the present provide chain.
Step two: Outline what have to be true
There have to be some issues about your company which might be nonnegotiables. For instance, solely promoting meals from a merchandising machine isn’t on our listing of nonnegotiables, however guaranteeing that our meals is secure is at the high of the listing. Figuring out what the nonnegotiables for your enterprise are is an important step for ensuring new data doesn’t take you off track. For Farmer’s Fridge, we outlined these as SQUAD targets.
World class meals Safety program
#1 in Quality to worth
A private relationship with clients
Demonstrated well being final result
The thought is that these 5 issues have to be true if we actually need to reinvent the recent meals provide chain.
Step three: Hear and consider in opposition to the frameworks you’ve gotten constructed
It’s time to put this into apply. Let’s use our enlargement into retail for instance of how we labored by means of this with a current 2021 resolution to start promoting our product by means of retail companions like Goal, grocery chain Jewel-Osco and supply service Gopuff.
First, we requested: is that this nonetheless true to the core of what we do, our mission? Sure, we might be making recent, wholesome meals extra accessible.
Subsequent, does promoting in retail violate any nonnegotiables? Nope, it doesn’t. It’s nonetheless the identical handy, tasty product at a fantastic worth.
Do we’ve a proper to win in the retail house? Sure, we’ve constructed economies of scale by means of our Fridge channel and are promoting the identical merchandise in shops utilizing the identical distribution community. Which means another person making an attempt to promote the very same product would at all times be decrease high quality and never nearly as good a worth. We even have the model recognition constructed by means of the Fridge and supply channels that offers us even better leverage.
Lots of people have expressed shock at our pivot throughout the pandemic to dwelling supply and retail, and if I had considered Farmer’s Fridge as that salad machine merchandising company, I’d have been shocked too. However that’s not how we considered ourselves. Internally, we had been marching in the direction of utilizing new expertise to rebuild the recent meals provide chain. Whereas it wasn’t straightforward, it additionally would have been tougher to adapt if we hadn’t had such a transparent sense of our mission. By defining who you actually are, it permits you to be versatile however keep targeted as you pursue development.