For some entrepreneurs, the path from conception to execution is a pretty clear one. Of course, there are obstacles that creep up along the way, but what works for one tech entrepreneur typically can send another down a similar path to success. But what happens when you have a highly specialized product or service that there isn’t necessarily a wealth of information to draw from in order to get your business up and running?
I spoke with Rebecca Montero, the co-founder of Spread-mmms, about this subject and she offered up 5 important lessons every entrepreneur should remember when going down this road.
5 Important Lessons for Entrepreneurs About to Begin Their Journey
Rebecca Montero, despite not having a background in the food industry, took her passion for tapenade (something she picked up while working with the Peace Corps in Paraguay) and turned it into a New York City-based business. Having ventured down a business path that wasn’t necessarily well-worn or publicized, Montero had to rely on her ability to conduct research and connect with others that could fill in the gaps.
If you want to hear more about Montero’s journey from being a Peace Corps member to becoming a foodpreneur, check out our interview here:
Montero shared the following 5 lessons with me (and you) during our brief call. Regardless of what type of business you’re thinking about launching, I think there are some really important insights here that every entrepreneur should pay attention to.
Lesson 1: Marketing that Makes Sense
For Montero, one of the lessons she learned pretty quickly is that you can’t expect everyone to know what a tapenade is. For those of you who need a background in this (as I did):
And although you can sum this product up succinctly, when you’re dealing with a food product, it’s usually not enough to describe it. For Montero, she’s found that the best way to sell her product is to get it into people’s mouths so they can understand the flavor. She’s also been using Instagram as she’s found the visuals of the tapenade also help to sell it.
Lesson 2: Get It in Writing
According to Montero, getting any agreement you’ve made with a customer, distributor, or partner in writing is a must. Why? Well, sometimes people forget the terms you agreed upon or something gets lost in translation. When working with a product that takes a lot of time and effort to not only prepare but to also transport, you should make sure everyone’s on the same page before getting to work.
Lesson 3: Consider the Complications
“It’s really hard to find everything out,” is what Montero told me when I asked about knowing what was needed to launch her business. Although she does still make all her product by hand, she’s had assistance in other areas—something she insists doesn’t make sense for everyone and will depend on the type of product you plan to sell.
With the help of a food incubator in New York City as well as her own personal research, Montero was able to uncover a bit more information about how to:
- Store her product.
- Look for larger space accommodations.
- Hire a third-party to distribute her product.
- Consider the financial impact of presentation (packaging) and shipping.
Lesson 4: Be Passionate
Without an investment of your own passion and commitment into your product, you’re going to struggle to convince others of its value, too.
Lesson 5: Be Patient
In her closing advice, Montero wanted to remind other entrepreneurs that “it’s gonna be a long road.” So, take your time, be patient, and enjoy the process.