Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bakery On Main: Understanding the WHY


Why are you in business? When you ask most people this question, the answer comes in a quizzical look. "Duhhhhh. To make money!!"


I insist that this CANNOT be THE reason you are in business. If it is, then your joy and purpose for being will be directly proportional to how much (or how little) money you are making at a particular time (same goes for your career, by the way). Most entrepreneurs don't start their new little business with the sole intent of making as much money as possible at the expense of others. Usually, the founder has discovered a new, innovative way of making other people's life better. One of the reason it is so darn much fun working in a young company is because everyone knows exactly why they are in business. Over time, this sense of ownership and purpose is easily forgotten. Try this experiment. Go ask someone (at random) in your organization, "why are we in business?" Do you get an answer or a quizzical look?

One small company that I have absolutely fallen in love with is located in East Hartford, CT. The reason I love them is because the people there have a very clear, focused sense of purpose. The name of the company is Bakery On Main. They are growing very fast, and are developing a bigger and bigger fan base. Everything they make gets shipped immediately. As fast as they can make it, out the door it goes.   
 
Founder Michael Smulders started it all in a small bakery in nearby Glastonbury, CT. He listened to his Celiac customers complain about the taste of many of the gluten free options available to them. He thought that no one should have to suffer because of a food allergy or other special dietary need, and made it his mission to create products that would make his customers happy. Mission accomplished. Bakery on Main makes the world's best tasting granola, granola bars and oatmeal you can get your hands on (try my favorites, the Carrot Cake or Blueberry Scone Oatmeal, or any one of their Truebars!). I'm not saying best tasting gluten-free, I'm saying best tasting. Bakery on Main's mission has expanded to not only make customers happy with great-tasting gluten free products, but also to spread a little bit of happiness to everyone they meet and work with. The Bakery also encourage others to "think about things that make them happy and to do something to make yourself, a family member, a friend or even a complete stranger happy."
 

Simon Sinek preaches that most companies understand what they do and how they do it, but the truly GREAT companies understand the "why". (Check out his 6 minute YOUTUBE video, "Start with Why"). The first "P" of P4 and The Toyota Production System is to make sure that everyone in your business understands the "why". If you get the quizzical looks when you ask "why are we in business", start communicating what is important and your purpose for being, and don't stop until everyone understands. If you don't do this, people will assume "we're here to make money". Period. 

It doesn't take any visitor to Bakery On Main very long to understand exactly how they serve the world.


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