Celebrating Ten Years: The Best, Worst and Funniest Stories of the Past Decade
Jun 8, 2018 | Sarah LanphierPin This Post
If someone were to ask me, “Did you think you would be where you are today when you started?” I would say No. But then again, I don’t think that anyone can truly answer yes because life and business are unpredictable.
Over the past ten years, I have watched myself, and my company, transform, grow and evolve through experiences good and bad. I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite and not so favorite (but funny now) stories to celebrate Nuts About Granola’s (Sarah’s Snacks) 10th Anniversary and reflect on the journey that in some ways is just beginning.
Without question, it was when I received the news that Costco approved our product and was going to place an order. I was at home sitting down to dinner when the email came through on my phone. I immediately ran over to my computer to verify it was real and then burst into tears. I am fairly certain my husband thought something horrible had happened but they were pure tears of joy from all of the hard work that was put in over the years.
There have been A LOT of low moments over the years. Way more than highs, which I have learned is typical in entrepreneurship. One of the hardest decisions I have had to make was to close down the building we outfitted for our production. So many people worked countless hours to get the facility open, but after three years, it wasn’t working for us. It was the right decision to make but also a very emotional one. At the time, I wasn’t sure the company was going survive, but closing the building was its best chance.
The first time I traveled to New York City to meet with the Martha Stewart team about the Martha Granola we make, I was a nervous wreck. It was my first big meeting and I was still very new to traveling in general. It was the dead of winter and absolutely freezing outside so I wore my down, full-length jacket. When I got on the train and tried to take my jacket off, the zipper got stuck. I mean stuck, stuck. I could not get this zipper to budge and started to go into a full-blown panic. I thought to myself that I am either going to the meeting in a down jacket that I can’t take off, or I was going to have to cut it off and freeze to death in the streets of New York. I did eventually get the zipper unstuck before the meeting but holy crap the stress that zipper caused was unreal.
The One Thing I Would Change
I started Nuts About Granola, LLC in college. In fact, to this day I have never held a full-time professional position working for another company. I have always wondered what would have happened if I went into the workforce first and gained some experience before starting my own company. There are so many little things I would have changed reflecting back on a lot of situations, but this is a major decision. I don’t know if I can say I would want to go back and change my decision, but I always wonder what my life would look like if I had taken a different career path.
The One Thing I Would Never Change
Starting the company with my Mom. Working with your parents is not easy. The early years of working with my Mom were sometimes ugly as we figured out how to separate ourselves as business partners and mother & daughter. Over the years, we have established our own way of working together that works for us and as a result have become best friends. Being someone who has lost a lot of loved ones early in life, I have a profound appreciation for time, family and the cherished experiences that you harshly realize are rare and precious when you can no longer have them. I am grateful for the time that we get to spend together as a result of working together.
Biggest Lesson Learned
How not to take things personally. When you put so much time, passion and energy into something, whatever that something is, it is really, really hard to not take things personally when someone complains, hates your product or doesn’t like something you do or say. Going through the process of shutting down our building emotionally broke me when it was happening, but I survived and so did the business. As a result, I learned not to take things personally and it has been an invaluable skill ever since.
Best Piece of Advice I Would Give
Success is an opinion. You need to define what success means to you. Success could mean selling out at your local bake sale, success could mean a 5-star review, success could mean that you lost money that year but gained market share, success could mean that you landed a big account or fired a bad one… the point is, being an entrepreneur is not easy, but defining your success will keep you on track to becoming successful.
Thank you for reading and cheers to the next decade!