Oh there have been a few…
I hope your year was amazing! (Well, it should have been… we introduced our coconut crème filled truffles, after all! ).
Zimt’s year was pretty transitional, I must say. Here’s a behind the scenes snapshot of how Zimt grew up a little more in 2014:
1. We got distributors: yeup, it is no longer just me or my mum, driving around in a Smart Car packed with chocolate (and no AC in the summer… what a combo), heading from retailer to retailer. We got some extra help from seasoned pros with trucks, many more connections to selling outlets than I have right now, and… AC.
2. I don’t make too much product myself! Instead, I have some very hard working, detail oriented, dedicated Oompa Loompas … did you notice that things started to taste a little better? miracles happen when I am out of the kitchen…
3. We are slowly but surely starting to make our presence known in Eastern Canada! Initially, we had 2 retailers selling Zimt. Now- we’ve got a good bunch. We’ll get there. (And remember to search on the locations page for where to buy if you are in that neck of the woods!)
4. Zimt is getting discovered far and wide- as far as China! I hope that things pan out well with the distributor from China who most recently contacted me. China is a very densely populated country, though, and we will have to work pretty fast to keep up with demand. Good thing we have a new piece of equipment coming for the macaroons- those take approximately forever to roll out by hand.
5. I went to Ecuador and met with some of the lovely farmers who make this whole operation possible- muchas gracias Here’s the story.)
And- some lessons learned. This has been a year full of steep learning curves for me. Here are a few lessons learned that come to mind… you may find them helpful as well:
1. Have clear expectations outlined in contracts- use clauses.
2. Have contracts with the people you work with. Period.
3. Get personal guarantees…!!!!!!!! Without these, some people will take advantage and you will be out thousands and thousands of dollars and many minutes. It will be very difficult to have justice prevail, as utilizing the law entails a long, expensive, and intricate process. Fingers are crossed…
4. Do a little extra this year to show appreciation for all the kindness people show- people have really gone out of their way for me this year. I appreciate it so much, because I know they believe in me and my company and want to see me succeed. Definitely could not do it without their help, guidance, and … patience!
5. Don’t rush into agreements. Ever.
6. Every single penny counts. Use them wisely and balance what is in the account with shipping expense obligations- even little ones, because there are so many of them, which is great in a way.
7. Unless it will generate positive cash flow within the next 30 days, don’t do it. Don’t buy it. It does nothing good in storage.
8. Hurry up life is speeding by (never forget this- you won’t have to be paranoid about it when you’re getting it done.)
9. Mom is your most valuable asset. Remember those couple of days when she was MIA? Disaster.
10. Try to keep everything in at most 2 places. (5 is too many.)
11. Hire people to do things you cannot/should not because it is really just more efficient this way than trying to do it all solo.
12. Is it scalable??? How scaleable???
13. References are practically irrelevant. Unfortunately.
14. Don’t be desperate. This will cause you to rush into agreements. You’re ok.
15. Time flies… never forget that… (But maybe stop stressing about it? Tough balance!)
16. Don’t even think of giving up now! The past has been waaaaaaaaay worse. We are on the up and up!
2015 should be a good one, Zimtees!
Love your feedback- any lessons you’ve learned in 2014? Or in life in general?
Happy New Year!