2020 Leadership Awards Winners Offer Guidance
Q: What words of wisdom do you have for food entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Have the courage to fail and not have everything perfect at launch. I think so many entrepreneurs get stuck in needing everything perfect that often they miss the opportunity window. For me, I didn’t have a business plan, I didn’t necessarily know what I was doing, but I just dove in head first, and knew in my gut I would figure it out, step by step. To this day, we still have the same mentality which allows us to remain nimble and first to market.
Elizabeth Stein, Purely Elizabeth
Winner of the Leadership Award for Citizenship
Know your consumer. The advantage of a small startup is that you likely know your consumer because you are your consumer. Never lose that. As you grow, you’ll be forced to make decisions around ingredients, product formats, shelf space—if you keep those decisions consumer-centric, you can’t go wrong.
Lorenza Pasetti, Volpi Foods
Winner of the Leadership Award for Business Leadership
Launch. This industry is saturated with ideas and not every idea will make it. The best thing you can do is learn if your idea will work (or not work) as quickly as possible by bringing your concept to market. You can spend years trying to perfect a concept but until the public tries it and buys it, you will be spending time and money focusing on details that will likely change.
Natalie Shmulik, The Hatchery Chicago
Winner of the Leadership Award for Vision