By Noah Munro

Your business is made up of so many elements that need regular attention, just like a valuable piece of equipment that you want to last for a long time. If you take your car into the shop for an issue, cranky sound, or general tune-up, the first thing the mechanic will do is conduct a comprehensive assessment of the vehicle. They’d check the engine, the tires, the brakes, computer system, and all the other systems critical to your car’s performance. While there are many types of vehicles on the road with unique parts, most vehicles have the same fundamental components – just like small businesses.

Most small business owners struggle with one or more of these four general questions:

  • How do I define my business goals and create a game plan to achieve them?
  • How do I most effectively market and sell my products, to whom, and at what price?
  • How do I setup and manage my financials in a way that helps me make data-driven decisions?
  • How do I plan for growth, build a team, and create an efficient operation that supports the demand for my products?

Of course, since each business is unique, the answers to these questions will be different, but the process for assessing which areas of the business present the greatest opportunity for improvement is often the same. It might be time to have a look at the frayed timing belt on your operation! We’re excited about a new tool we have developed to guide you through a free business self-assessment so you can prioritize your problem areas and identify the next steps for stabilizing and strengthening your business.

After over a year of being part of the KTC team, I’ve had what feels like 5 years worth of opportunities working with diverse clients from Tennessee to Vermont. My journey with KTC started when my wife and I were living in Philadelphia for six months. As the co-owner of an artisan artisan food business in New Hampshire, I’m a diehard supporter of local food businesses. When I discovered KTC, I had recently launched my own consulting firm focused on helping specialty food businesses grow. KTC’s mission to “help passionate farmers and food artisans build lasting, profitable, locally-focused businesses,” resonated with me deeply, so I embraced the opportunity to become a KTC Entrepreneur in Residence.

What KTC provides, though, isn’t something easily expressed in a mission statement. Ted and Jen are driven to deliver long-term value built on real relationships with our clients. They believe that in order to know what’s really going on with a client, you have to have a candid conversation about what’s at the core of the client’s concerns. Or as Ted would say, “what’s keeping them up at night?”

Often during this introductory conversation the farmer or food artisan will point out many facets of her business as troubling. I wanted to build a structure around these conversations with potential clients so I could listen to their concerns and create a succinct summary. The result was an entrepreneurial self-assessment that quickly examines all the moving parts of a farm or food business so an entrepreneur can determine where to focus their attention and which next steps to take, with or without KTC.

After going through this highly interactive self-assessment with business owners, we identify areas where they feel stuck, and need a tune up, so to speak. These tune-ups have given me the opportunity to help entrepreneurs develop marketing plans, hire managers, refine business models, secure grant funding, and understand the profitability of various sales channels. I continue to provide ongoing coaching and support, often collaborating with farmers on market research, data analysis, priority setting, website development, pricing strategy, competitive analysis, and cold shipping logistics. I love working with farm and food entrepreneurs of all kinds.

My number one goal is to help a client break through whatever barriers might be holding back their business’s growth potential. The entrepreneurial self-assessment has helped me make the most of every moment of that first conversation with a client, so we can hit the ground running and immediately tackle the biggest insomnia-inducing hardships.

Whether you’re just getting started or you’re a seasoned business owner, we’d love to talk with you. To set up a free one-hour guided assessment for your farm or food business, contact Rachel deVitry at 484.767.4311 or [email protected].

By Noah Munro, KTC Entrepreneur in Residence