Every once in a while, something you read stops you in your tracks and makes you reflect and really think. Does this happen to you?
A long time customer, Idaho’s Bounty Cooperative, recently wrote a letter to their stakeholders that illustrates so much of what our movement is wrestling with as we try to take steps toward long term financial sustainability. I found the letter very refreshing to read, as it very honestly communicates the need to continually evolve and the sometimes painful, unpopular decisions required to grow and become profitable.
Undoubtedly, the conversations and decisions that preceded the letter were very difficult for staff, board, and producers. Big changes are often unpleasant in the short term. Adjusting your business model and streamlining supply are hard decisions when you know your customers and producers personally. Finding the right mix of having a diversity of sales channels while not spreading your resources too thin is a very difficult balance to find in local food. Although I certainly wish that Idaho’s Bounty (and others facing similar situations) weren’t forced to make these decisions, I find it incredibly hopeful that the conversations and decisions are happening. By moving beyond the exciting, charged startup phase of local food, we can find success.
We consider it a huge honor to support our customers on their journey from startup to mature business. As LFM has evolved the last 7+ years, we have continually shifted more of our resources to providing technology that helps our customers cultivate and maintain long term, profitable relationships with their customers and producers. Since releasing our brand new shopping interface with loads of new features this spring, we have turned our energy to improving the order process, invoices, payment collection, and cash flow. We’ve had several minor releases over the summer and look for another, more substantial one in the next couple of weeks.
Want to learn more? Contact us to setup a web meeting!