#truestory How Michelle created a breakthrough for her business
We keep going because there is validation and reward on the other side of struggle. We persevere in hopes of experiencing those breakthrough moments that give us the fuel to continue.
So what can we do to create more breakthroughs and fewer breakdowns?
Maybe this true story will give you some ideas.
Last week I watched a long-standing client experience her own breakthrough moment—the effect was all you could hope for!
Michelle Retik is the founder of Squirrel & The Bee. She’s a pastry chef who came down with an immunological disease that robbed her of the ability to eat most of the things that gave her joy.
Refusing to be poached of pleasure, she chose to create delicious, healthy food that she and others (with and without similar dietary restrictions) can enjoy.
Fast forward 5 years. Michelle is now the owner of a retail cafe in Short Hills NJ that does over $1 million in sales. She has launched her products online (go ahead, try some! www.squirrelandthebee.com), wholesales products to other local cafes, and is now entering the grocery market in regional Whole Foods stores.
She’s even developed a new series of products that are free from all seven of the most common allergens, and is currently working on establishing an allergen free bakery to be able to add these products to her eCommerce and wholesale offering.
When you consider all that is going on in her company, it’s easy to imagine how potentially (and realistically) overwhelming and exhausting the day to day running of her business can be.
Michelle, like many of us, has been there, drowning in the deep end. But her entrepreneurial spirit is strong, and she’s kept a steadfast vision of the possibility of expanding her business so she can reach even more people with her packaged granola and cookie line.
In order to realize that expansion, she’s toiled for months to put together a big picture strategic plan, a financial plan, and a deck that tells her story to prospective investors (sometimes you’ve got to put in the grind to get to the other side).
Last Monday Michelle got up on stage at Slow Money NYC’s Good Food Spotlight, took the mic and pitched her dream in public for the first time—ever. The Good Food Spotlight provides a friendly and engaged audience for business owners who are part of creating a sustainable, healthy and fair food system. (disclaimer: I’m a board member of Slow Money NYC and help produce Good Food Spotlight).
As a result of her presentation, Michelle met dozens of people including investors and other entrepreneurs. She received enthusiastic support for her product, her business and her growth strategy from people who understand exactly what she is aiming for and what it takes to get there.
A HUGE win, but the wins kept coming.
The next day Michelle had meetings with two prospective investors who also gave her strong positive feedback.
These experiences have given Michelle the one priceless thing every business plan and strategy needs: validation. With validation comes confidence to keep taking the next step, keep talking to the next person.
With that kind of validation, the difference in the strength and stamina of a business is massive.
Sure, the day to day problems of running a retail cafe business are still there—staff still call out sick; customers are not universally happy.
But the boost of validation, confidence and connections that she got last week helped move her several steps closer to making her vision a reality.
Breakthroughs often come after consistent, dedicated work and a commitment to your vision and dream. Do not waiver, move forward.
What is the one tangible, practical thing you can today to make that breakthrough you’re seeking come sooner?
PS — If you want to learn more about Slow Money and Good Food Spotlight and how they could help you grow your business, just hit reply.