As one of the judges for the Seed Fund awards, I get to see plenty of early stage food and drink startups. It’s a neat reminder of what founders are thinking about at the beginning of the business journey - as well as a great opportunity to meet (and taste the products of) the next generation of food businesses.
It’s all too easy to get so caught up in getting your food made or distributed, then getting a good rate of sale, that you lose sight of what you, the founder, want from life, as well as what you want for the business. This year’s entries were extremely impressive and some clearly knew what they were in it for in both senses. But if I were to go back 13 years and give myself some advice, it would be to be really clear about what I personally wanted from life and Rude Health (and to write it down so I didn’t reinvent it accidentally, over time).
Guy Tullberg from Tracklements, one of the other judges, reminded me of the fisherman on the beach story, which is a great way of thinking about goals. In it, a businessman comes across a fisherman relaxing on the beach and advises him on how to make his business bigger and bigger - so that ultimately he can retire and spend time relaxing on the beach.
The point of the story - to appreciate where you are now and that a life of rushing around and making money is a distraction, which won’t change much - is beautifully made, and it’s a message I believe we need to hear more, for balance.
What resonates with me is that it puts the emphasis on the person, and what you want out of life and business, independent of the business vision. A few years down the line, in the thick of making business decisions (and child-wrangling) there isn’t much time or space to think about it, and it’s very easy to get blown off course, if you aren’t totally clear about where you are heading.
If this makes no sense to you, perhaps it’s because your personal and business goals are completely aligned, like the fisherman. Mine aren’t. Rude Health exists to inspire everyone to be in rude health, which is a big vision. All I really need is to be a valued part of a community - it might have been a good idea to know this when I started.