We, the BlendZ team, started out with an ambitious goal: a $15,000 food trailer for our smoothie startup. Since day 1 we've envisioned having a permanent location for BlendZ, but on wheelZ--we've imagined a trailer (in the shape of an airstream) that could be moved around campus. However, over our summer break I gave some more thought to this AMBITIOUS goal--together with Gisella--and we concluded that we were rushing because we wanted to start at the end, by making our ultimate goal come to live right away. We were approaching things too fast; we wanted to eat the hamburger all at once, instead of eating it by pieces.
THINKING BIG, is what sets a company apart; therefore, in this sense we were in the right track; we were thinking O U S T I D E THE B O X. However, every startup that has achieved successes has started from the bottom, by acting SMALL. BIG DREAMS is what pushes employees to perform at their maximum potential, it's these BIG DREAMS that activate their adrenaline to make the business grow and thus attain that FINAL goal. Nonetheless, thinking BIG doesn't mean you have to act BIG as well, you need to start from the bottom and work your way up, and to do so you must set your company small, achievable, goals that will ultimately lead you to that BIG DREAM. We've gotten so fixated with the idea of this trailer that we've forgotten to step back and look at the bigger picture. The trailer would be our first investment to still continue testing our business. Do we really want that $15,000 trailer to be our first purchase?
One day Gisella and I begun to brainstorm ideas and figured that a cart would be the best way to start. It's a small goal, attainable, affordable, and it represents--in a smaller version--what we want from the trailer. Most of us haven't managed a business before, especially not a smoothie business in a trailer; therefore, we have LIMITED EXPERIENCE working on a permanent/mobile location. Even though we envision the trailer one way today, we may envision it totally different tomorrow. As we work on it we might realize there are some flaws in the design or on the way we designed things. However, we won't know this until we test working on it. Yet, we should have to purchase something so expensive to then realize we've FAILED. By purchasing the cart we would not only be able to afford correcting design and operation mistakes in the cart, but we would be able to iterate along and maybe even purchase a second improved cart--with the improvements-- test it, and then make the BIGGER investment. It's very likely that we will be taking out a loan to complete the money we need to make this DREAM a reality; however, if it ends up beign a FAILURE, we've not only lost all the capital we've earned from BlendZ, but also we've fallen into debt. We have few months left in school, and we don't want to pass on a business with debt.
Like they say in finance, you never want to put all your eggs in one basket, you want to DIVERSIFY. Why? Startups revolve around an environment of extreme uncertainty--nothing is settled--and you can't make one RISKY investment because you might lose it all. The customer segment of the smoothies might increase or decrease as we begin to sell every week for two days, and if our customer segment drops, we don't need something so big to DELIVER our value proposition.
This cart can be the start, the start of larger DREAM, the trailer. As we test it out, we can design it in such way that it can serve as a model of the trailer, we could also test out different systems for each employee (smoothie maker cashier, etc.), how we arrange the equipment, and we could even begin by designing the trailer for only two smoothie makers--starting small--to see how efficient we can be. It's a great way to simulate what we will experience in the trailer. Nothing is a RISK here. If we find flaws in the cart, the design, or the system we've design we can pivot and afford to change these flaws as the cart is only S/.5000. As we understand more what it means to work in a permanent location we will gain a better perspective to design the IDEAL trailer that suits the systems we've invented to work, we can approach this CHALLENGE with a more ORIENTED and C R E A T I V E MINDEST. Additionally, for now, the remaining money can be used to support and finally establish the core of BlendZ, what truly gives meaning to our company, Habla BlendZ. By risking all our money we will not only use all the capital we've earned, but we won't be able to afford innovations or support Habla Blendz.
We are not the only ones who are starting SMALL every business at one point was SMALL. For example even Tony's Cafe, they just established their first permanent location in Pentagonito and their current location is something very similar to how our cart will look, expect with no wheels. They've had more experience and time in their business and they are still progressing small. Our challenge is to embark BlendZ in this journey and begin to pivot with the location. We shouldn't discard the idea of the trailer, but we should look at it as an ultimate goal once we've solved every known aspect of the business and established Habla BlendZ. So, let's begin by eating the first piece of the hamburger, by tackling our first goal, to later continue munching piece by piece until we've eaten the entire hamburger--reached our ultimate goal: the trailer.