Tonight someone said she’d held off on starting a food company because of the pressure to get really big to be successful. If she’d have been a horse I’d have yanked those reins shouting, “Wooooah Nelly!”
There are so many examples of that being so not so. Immediately, Blue Bottle Coffee among other local roasters, came to mind. When she mentioned the idea of a co-operative, of course the Cheese Board popped into my head; although I have to admit it is kind of always there in the background. When you’ve got a line for your pizza non-stop all day, that’s got to be a decent living.
Then there’s Zingerman’s, which decided to stick to its Ann Arbor roots (aside from a mail order business). While they have grown to add a variety of food businesses under their umbrella, by most measure they are small. By most measures they are wildly successful. Below is a taste from a visit I made a couple of years there, a nice slice of life when you’re having fun and doing it your way.
What might stop me is the pressure to be the best. To have a cult following. To be the one that pops into someone’s head when you say “what ___ do I have to try when I’m in town.” That challenge is a lot more real than the need to get big. It’s a lot more pressure. And oh so rewarding.