I failed at a business almost before it started.
But that spectacular demise elevated a few key lessons.
For starters, here are the TL;DR
I was tired of the poor food quality that my son’s elementary school was serving for their lunches and had to do something about it. I realized this wasn’t a one-off situation but something all schools were a part of. It was a growing problem and a potential contributor to the rise of childhood obesity and diabetes, among other things.
I sought to find a solution and the options were limited. enter Healthy School Lunches.
The premise: a local subscription business to source high-quality foods so kids could have a healthy lunch.
The problem it was solving: Parents were fed up with the unhealthy lunches provided by schools but also the dilemma of grocery shopping and making lunches for their kids.
Now the lessons:
- Timing isn’t always in your control – I had this idea in the winter of 2019 and started it up in February of 2020. You know what came next. I could’ve never imagined that scenario but I also can’t beat myself up for it. With schools shut down for an unforeseen time, it didn’t make sense to push forward. Had it been another time I think we were on to something.
- Have your ideal business checklist – you don’t just start a business without sitting back and looking at all the factors of what could be included in the day-to-day, how you’ll grow, etc. What I came to realize was I didn’t want to be tethered to an office every day (in this case it would’ve been a kitchen) or had my growth determined by factors outside my control like weather, farming conditions, etc. You must understand what drives you and aligns with your values and build a business around that.
- Don’t bow to Sunk Costs – Just because you’ve spent a lot of time or money doesn’t mean you should keep going with it. Some things are meant to be stopped.
- Learn and Pivot – Nothing will be perfect out of the gate and being realistic about where you are at currently could help determine if pivoting the idea to something else would be beneficial. Only you will know that answer but being hard-headed isn’t necessarily the way you want to go.
- Seek out those with experience – Don’t go at it alone. Ask people you know who may have knowledge of the space you are getting into. Have them help you see the blindspots. You can’t know everything so utilize those that have done it before you to give you a peak around the corner.
Healthy Kids Lunches didn’t pan out as I originally hoped but those lessons have paved the way for my future endeavors.
→ It’s not a failure if we’re willing to learn from it.
That’s the lesson that might matter the most.