Saturday, October 16, 2010

Am (Not) Public Speaking Goddess… New Seasons Market Hawthorne Store Opening

A few weeks ago I received a call from one of New Season’s marketing staff asking if I’d be willing to say a few words at their new Hawthorne store grand opening. New Seasons is a very supportive (and large) client of ours, so of course I would want to participate in their grand opening in some fashion. In my mind I assumed there would be a few of local companies invited to speak…no, I was the only one (the other speaker outside of Lisa Sedlar the CEO was from FISH a local food bank partner).

While you might be thinking “eh, what’s the big deal, it’s just a grocery store”, the fact that I/LPPCo. (one of many possible local vendors) was asked to be part of the event, speaks volumes about the importance of building great relationships with your clients. And really, I was excited and thrilled to be able to support such a great client back.

Many of you following along outside Portland (and some that weren’t able to attend), ask for some pictures and wanted to know what I said. Below is the excerpt, in which I tried not to bumble and stumble through - along with a few pic’s.

Photo by Jill Oppenheim
When Lisa was introducing Little Pots & Pans Co. & myself, she touched upon why I don't call our tarts pasties (pah-sties). Perhaps she read our blog post. Below she's standing on a step-stool to project over the crowd (and is not actually 7ft tall!).

Photo by Jill Oppenheim
Here's the text of what I said:
Good Morning, What an exciting day to be part of the New Season’s community!

The Daily Grind, who was formerly here, holds a special place in our company history as they were one of LPPCo.’s first clients. When New Season’s announced they were taking over this area for their next store, I knew it would be an opportunity to come full circle in offering the community a local grocery store filled with unmatchable local products.

It’s only been a couple of years that we’ve had the opportunity to work along side the talented team at New Seasons Markets who are consistently remarkable in their support of locally produced sustainable products and are truly interested in building relationships with their vendors.

My own relationship created the opportunity for Little Pots & Pans Co. to produce custom holiday themed fruit tarts and pies, adding to New Season’s already enticing offerings.

Today is an exciting day for us at LPPCo., not only am I thrilled to be here as part of the New Season’s Markets Hawthorne small vendor family, we are also celebrating our own 5th year anniversary this week as a company.

I look forward to growing my relationship with the New Seasons Hawthorne team members and wish them all the success they deserve in this fantastic new location!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby. Five Lessons I’ve Learned in the Past Five Years.

As we progress as a company, everyday I learn something new in running Little Pots & Pans Co. While most days, I feel like that old cigarette ad “you’ve come a long way, baby”, it hasn’t been without learning a few lessons along the way.

Sometimes these lessons come gracefully and sometimes they drop on you like the anvil in an old cartoon scenario (Beep! Beep!). The best you can do is absorb the knowledge, take it in stride and keep moving forward. Below is a selection of five, which, um, struck me.

Business is not predictable.
Really, if the past 18 –24 months have taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. We’ve seen sales rise with some clients only to loose others along the way. It’s not always an even one to one, and just because you’re on an upward trend doesn’t mean there won’t (or can’t) be a dip.

There will be snap decisions, go with your gut.
We are still small, and moving fast. Opportunities, ideas, recommendations present themselves and can’t always wait for analysis, review and/or discussion. Trust that you’re making the right decision. You know your vision and your company best.

You can never have enough cash.
I could have five times the cash banked in our company bank accounts and I’d want more. There’s always an expenditure lurking on the horizon. Equipment breaks, you need more inventory/equipment/employees to increase sales. Unfortunately, item #1 has a direct effect on what can be in the bank at any given time.

HR is it’s own special entity. 
I’ve come to appreciate people in the past who uphold a company’s policy, screen candidates, deal with hiring and firing (and all the associated paperwork). It becomes necessary at a certain point and I’ll take it as a sign we are growing.

Embrace risk.
You can’t run a business without embracing a certain amount of risk. Everyday presents a challenge and if you’re not able to take some leaps of faith with your risk to gain ground or reach for a business success, you’re not the right person to run it. (This is not to say I don’t lose sleep some nights agonizing over said leaps of faith).

I’ve certainly grown a lot in the past five years with the company, and while we’ve come a long way, I quite expect, we still have a long ways to go. I’m already working on the next post of five things…