Have a BIG Idea? Start Small.
By definition, entrepreneurs dream big. We envision a product, a service, or a world made better by our efforts and contributions. We believe anything is possible. We even daydream about our eventual interview with Oprah after making a huge impact on our communities, our country, and our world.
For entrepreneurs, the dreaming part is easy. You play out the greatness of your idea in your mind every day like a movie. The problem for big dreamers (myself included), is that when you start acting on your big dream, you realize you have to do it in a small way. We all want the glory of the big achievement, but just as Rome wasn’t built in a day neither was Facebook, Apple or Amazon.
With all of the “start-up porn” out there, it’s easy to get seduced into thinking about quick overnight success and an easy path to payday. The reality is, every company you admire started small and learned from their mistakes, often pivoting their ideas, their team, and their concepts over time before getting it right.
The early days of launching a business, although not glamorous, are necessary to help adapt products for your consumers, your retailers, and your supply chain. You’re going to screw up no matter what size your business is, and it’s much easier to clean up a mess and pivot on a small scale than a large one. Even if you don’t screw up, I guarantee you’ll want to make some changes after having your product in the market for a few months, or in my case, a few days. It’s easier to make changes when your product is in 12 stores instead of 1200 stores. It’s also much easier to interact and get quality feedback from your customers and retailers on a small, intimate scale and incorporate what you learn into your next iteration.
Since starting Fedwell Pet Foods a couple years ago, I have learned a lot, but the most important takeaway is to manage a fine balance of patience, unrelenting perseverance, and flexibility. Your dream vision will not come to fruition quickly, but if you continue to take steps towards achieving your mission and are flexible with how you go about it, anything is possible. I often tell people “I’m on a mission to bring home-cooked foods to dogs everywhere”. I truly hope to improve the lives and health of pets by having my superior pet food products available at retailers nationwide. By focusing on that mission and starting small, I allowed myself to screw up and make adjustments to my process and my products and feel more confident about my next bigger steps because of it.
My advice to any entrepreneur starting out would be: Dream big, start small, and hold your mission dear.