We continue with Episode 8 of the Microgreens World series “Starting a Microgreens Business: What You Need to Know.” If you missed Episodes 1-7, explore them here: “Microgreens Business.”
This topic is much talked about but least understood when discussing entrepreneurs and small business owners. The great ones talk about, but only in passing. It is the growth mindset in the microgreens business.
It was a warm July evening in 2018 when my friend Steven and I first hatched the idea for jPure Farms over coffee in his basement. We were both working unfulfilling corporate jobs and yearned to build something meaningful.
“What if we could grow nutrient-dense greens right here in the city while making a positive impact?” Steven wondered aloud.
The more we talked, the more the humble microgreen inspired us.
Starting a microgreens business brings immense mental challenges; cultivating resilience, persistence, and a growth mindset that embraces innovation enables entrepreneurs to achieve sustainability. Aligning to purpose, setting goals, building strategic relationships, and maintaining positive cash flow are vital activities that strengthen the founder’s mindset to withstand the pressures of managing an emerging venture.
Soon our calendars filled with agriculture classes and business strategy sessions during evenings and weekends. By the fall, shelves were installed, seeds sourced, and jPure Farms was born when Steven delivered our first harvest samples to an excited local grocer.
Those heady early days brimmed with passion and possibility. But the mental taxation of sustaining a full-time career and an emerging venture quickly set in. Self-doubt crept in more than once. Were we in over our heads? Still, giving up our dream business wasn’t an option.
The challenges were many, but our growth mindset kept us going. We knew that every failure was a lesson, every challenge a chance to grow. We thought success was within reach if we leaned on each other’s grit and resilience.
In this blog, we’ll explore the journey of jPure Farms and how to develop a growth mindset if you want to run or grow your microgreen business. It is our story of resilience, innovation, and the belief that hard work and dedication can make anything possible.
The Mental Tax of Entrepreneurship
Cultivating Resilience and Persistence
Adopting a Growth Mindset
Harnessing Purpose and Goal-Setting
Building Strategic Relationships
Maintaining a Positive Cash Flow
Creating Mindfulness Practices
Harvesting Success – Lessons from jPure Farms
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OPTIMIZING CASH FLOW IN YOUR MICROGREENS FARM BUSINESS
Starting any business is demanding, but every microgreens business brings unique challenges.
The initial startup phase requires long hours of manual labor designing, constructing and testing growing systems before you make your first sale. Monitoring seeds, precisely harvesting delicate greens, packaging orders, and delivering to customers dominate your day. For jPure Farms, this manual workload exceeded 25 hours a week per founder on top of full-time careers initially.
For many like us, starting jPure Farms as a side hustle, juggling the new venture on top of a career, can be crushing. We frequently worked until midnight, tending to trays before waking at 6 AM to commute to the office. Finding any semblance of work-life balance proved impossible. The unrelenting schedule degraded our health, stamina, and personal relationships.
Even after you leave your day job to focus on the business full-time, the uncertainty and vulnerability inherent to the microgreens business’ early stages are profoundly taxing. Unpredictable harvest yields, varying customer demand, equipment breakdowns – so many integral factors are outside your control when starting out. The pressure to quickly generate reliable income and profits with limited capital and experience weighs heavily. Stress hormones remain elevated as crises always seem to loom.
Navigating licensing, food safety regulations, distribution logistics, business administration, and marketing while striving to remain creative and inspired is tremendously challenging. For jPure Farms, compliance, paperwork, and back-office tasks devoured 35+ hours a week between us. And we wished we could spend more time innovating.
The relentless pace of you wearing so many hats can threaten to become completely overwhelming. Sustaining focus, drive, and strategic vision throughout the turbulent early stages of launching a microgreens business demands profound mental resilience.
While launching your microgreens venture will be rewarding, entrepreneurship inevitably involves failures, setbacks, and crises.
You’ll likely face crop diseases, financial constraints, production bottlenecks, shifting food regulations, fickle customer demand, fierce competition, burnout, etc. Threats to your new enterprise will arise, and carefully built plans won’t unfold as projected. Developing resilience and persistence are required in spades to push past the obstacles.
Intentionally cultivating resilience prepares you to navigate challenges. Personal solid relationships provide support during difficult times while adequate self-care preserves your energy and focus. Maintaining outlets for renewal like exercise, nature, meditation, and community service bolsters the capacity to withstand turbulence . Celebrating small wins renews motivation on the most challenging days.
Focused training strengthens critical startup skills like accurately assessing product-market fit, optimizing limited capital, and resolving conflicts. Continuing education in both business strategy and agriculture techniques is invaluable. Learning to adapt plans quickly while progressing towards your core mission will prove imperative. Mental flexibility and growth are essential.
When major setbacks strike, breaking ambitious goals into smaller milestones and action steps grounds you in the present moment. Anchoring on tangible daily progress towards the larger vision propels you forward even through the fiercest storms. Surround yourself with mentors, allies, and inspirational stories of perseverance that reinforce your potential.
At jPure Farms, crop diseases and equipment failures periodically derailed our projections, sometimes by over 30% of target harvest yields. Seed funding fell through on multiple occasions, jeopardizing our planned expansion. Vital partners abruptly changed plans as their needs shifted. Seventy-hour work weeks strained our stamina and relationships.
But relying on your allies, on the community of urban farmers, remembering your greater purpose, and persevering through the rollercoaster ride will fortify your resilience to keep chasing your vision through the pitfalls and hardships.
Cultivating an empowering growth mindset is critical to maintaining motivation and overcoming inevitable challenges on your microgreens journey. In the microgreens business, this mindset is vital.
Stanford professor Carol Dweck describes the growth mindset as believing that intelligence and capability can be acquired through persistence and hard work in her book, “Mindset.”
Those with a fixed mindset believe personal abilities and attributes are static and inflexible. They avoid taking on challenges that may reveal perceived inadequacies. They view failure as confirmation that they permanently lack the inherent skills to succeed rather than feedback to improve . Those with fixed mindsets plateau early.
This fixed mentality breeds overcaution and underachievement for entrepreneurs. You may cling tightly to your original microgreens business model rather than adapt as the market evolves. Constructive feedback feels like a personal attack on your competence, so you ignore it at your own peril. You’re far more likely to quit when the first significant problems emerge.
For microgreens entrepreneurs, fixed thinking is dangerous. And the older you are, the harder it is.
With a growth mindset, you interpret setbacks and failures as opportunities for improvement rather than indictments of capability. Challenges become chances to expand your skills and offerings. You extract instructive lessons from failures, then try bold new approaches . Innovation and change feel exciting rather than risky. This flexible, lifelong learning mentality fuels startup success.
For example, a microgreens farmer with a rigidly fixed mindset may blame suppliers, customers, or markets when sales eventually slump. They view shifting consumer preferences or competition as threats rather than prompts to refine their competitive positioning and value proposition . Pivoting their model seems daunting. But an entrepreneur with an agile growth mentality digs into sales data, listens to buyer feedback, and rapidly experiments with new products, pricing, partnerships, and marketing. Production problems inspire them to attempt hydroponic or aquaponic systems. Their mindset affords them many more paths to profitability.
At jPure Farms, my fixed perspective would have hindered us tremendously. But Steven’s growth mindset really helped me through those initial months.
Early on, our premium pricing model proved misaligned with market demand. We could have given up. I blamed the flawed strategy on circumstances outside our control. But with a growth focus, we saw this as helpful feedback to develop an entirely new, transparent pricing structure. When our initial marketing failed to resonate, we viewed it as data guiding us to craft more innovative subscription offerings.
Your growth mindset will unlock solutions .
Defining a more profound purpose beyond profits and setting measurable S.M.A.R.T. growth goals  provide invaluable direction amidst entrepreneurial uncertainty. Motivation persists throughout difficult chapters when your microgreens business aligns with a personal mission.
Does sustainability drive you? Health education? Transforming your community’s food system? Improving underserved neighborhoods’ access to fresh produce? Let your core motivations anchor and inspire you. Integrate social impact into your business model. Track how your daily work ladders up to make a tangible difference. This constantly reinforces why each long day matters, fueling persistence.
Specific, time-bound growth metrics further channel purpose into concrete progress. Set three-month, six-month, and one-year targets surrounding revenue, gross margins, customers acquired by segment, new markets penetrated by location, production capacity, and team growth. While ambitious, ensure targets remain realistic given competitive dynamics. For jPure Farms, our initial goals included $5,000 in monthly revenue within 12 months, 250 new consumer subscribers, and break-even profitability by month 10.
Motivation persists throughout difficult chapters when your microgreens business aligns with a personal mission.
Routinely re-evaluate goals as your business evolves, adjusting baselines as you gain experience. Review sales data, customer feedback, and cost trends monthly to update projections and resource allocation appropriately . Celebrate crossing incremental milestones with your team – even if it’s just two of you, small wins validate your collective hard work amid precarious times.
At jPure Farms, our social mission of providing organic, sustainably grown food anchored difficult decisions. We set mini-milestones like a 2% production yield boost that fueled optimism during volatile early years. Goals transformed passion into measurable steps toward viability.
Tracking tiny gains kept us, and will keep you, focused on growth.
While entrepreneurship requires courage, you needn’t traverse the startup wilderness alone.
Surrounding yourself with the right allies to support you and share hard-won resources makes those uncertain early chapters far less treacherous. Mentors who’ve pioneered new markets before you can provide wisdom, reassurance, and introductions to invaluable partners .
It’s also possible that a customer can be an excellent ally. A key element to sustainability is customers who ensure their patronage of a new business and aid in the marketing and referrals of others.
Customers can offer product feedback, referrals, and testimonials. Industry groups provide training and networking. Investors may open doors thanks to their connections. Community organizations offer support programming, resources, and visibility.
As you evaluate financing options, consider which investments deliver strategic relationships beyond capital. Your ideal investors bring networks and expertise that enrich your model and community. For jPure Farms, our local urban agriculture non-profit’s small investment provided their marketing amplification and industry connections.
Savvy microgreens business entrepreneurs even forge win-win partnerships with potential competitors when there is an aligned mission or incentives. Shared facilities, centralized distribution, or bulk purchasing may help you all better manage costs and cash flow. View your microgreens community as potential collaborators, not just competition.
At jPure Farms, we proactively developed symbiotic relationships that became incredible assets. As we grew, local restaurants helped us refine packaging and varieties in exchange for priority supply status. A hydroponics store owner offered invaluable production mentorship. Urban farmers shared overflow cold storage space. Our county’s small business development office connected us with multiple local resources and peer entrepreneurs.
Each partnership reinforced that we weren’t alone, which restored energy during tough times. Over time, collaborating accelerated all of our missions. 83% of startups say partnerships are critical to success . Yet only 40% systematically pursue partnerships.
Be the exception – consistently build your microgreens alliance ecosystem. It will compound your results.
“Cash is oxygen” for any business.
When sales income reliably exceeds expenses, you breathe freely, using surplus cash to reinvest in growth, take strategic risks, and capitalize on opportunities. But when costs eclipse revenue for prolonged periods, suffocation begins as working capital dwindles. Startups must achieve positive cash flow before they deplete limited reserves to survive those crucial early chapters.
Carefully manage accounts receivable, being extremely diligent in your collections process while extending terms to established, creditworthy customers. Seek optimal payment terms with suppliers, balancing early pay discounts versus obligation timing. Convert inventory to sales swiftly to keep cash flowing. Reduce non-essential expenditures to conserve scarce resources in the lean early days.
Explore working capital loans or lines of credit to bridge timing gaps between expense outflows and sales receipts . Offer pre-payment discounts or pre-sell loyalty memberships to boost cash reserves around slower revenue periods. Model your historical or projected seasonal sales patterns and outline upcoming fixed expenses to anticipate pinch points. Adopt lean operations and zero-waste processes that squeeze maximum value from each dollar spent. Your daily cash flow discipline directly determines sustainability.
But when costs eclipse revenue for prolonged periods, suffocation begins as working capital dwindles.
At jPure Farms, we built 6-month cash flow projections and updated them monthly as we gathered data. We aligned payment terms with suppliers to match our 45-day average collections cycle only after establishing reliability. We pre-sold gift certificate bundles to smooth 60% winter sales dips before the holidays.
You will gain the runway and flexibility to withstand unpredictable industry and seasonal fluctuations by constantly reviewing and calibrating your cash operating rhythm.
Beyond strategic business development, establishing daily mindfulness practices strengthens mental resilience on your entrepreneurial journey.
Moments of stillness, reflection, and gratitude disrupt the relentless pace of startup demands. Simple meditations focused on breathing intentionally promote clarity and creativity by calming mind chatter .
Journaling allows you to process stresses, celebrate milestones, and crystallize learnings through writing. Regular journaling provides a helpful perspective on your entrepreneurial path over time. Setting aside a few moments for movement – even gentle stretches by your desk – relieves physical and mental tension. Practicing mindfulness while eating enhances your enjoyment of simple pleasures .
“Meals, Movement, Meditation” – Ennead Health Coaching
At jPure Farms, our sanity saver took 5 minutes midday to walk through the microgreens rows, appreciating our progress. Steven would sip tea during his morning journaling ritual. Restorative Yoga classes provided much-needed release valves for the pressures of entrepreneurship.
Build whatever mindfulness habits restore and energize you into your weekly routine. Your mindset muscle develops through regular exercise over time .
Reflecting on the mental rollercoaster of starting jPure Farms, dizzying highs, and gut-wrenching lows peppered the long road to stability and profitability. Launching any venture is physically and emotionally taxing. But surrounding yourselves with community, grounding in purpose, and cultivating grit allows passion to take root and flourish.
A flexible, tenacious growth mindset enabled us to take intelligent risks, quickly learn from failures, and creatively overcome the diverse challenges entrepreneurship inevitably brings. Forging partnerships provided fuel during periods of burnout and uncertainty. Setting mini-milestones created stepping stones when the way forward felt hazy. Relentless cash flow discipline provided the oxygen to breathe each grueling day. Simple mindfulness habits restored sanity just often enough.
A few remarkable years later, jPure Farms supplied microgreens to dozens of restaurants and markets. Our production manager oversaw a growing team. Each morning’s vibrant harvest sustained our community. While new tests arose daily, our passion became a thriving, sustainable business.
The entrepreneurial path is never linear, but with consistent resilience, adaptability, and purpose-driven grit, small victories compound. Moments of meaning make the hard days worthwhile. I hope our journey inspires you to write your own microgreens business story. The seeds of something beautiful are already within you.
Let’s talk soon – I’d be honored to hear about your dreams and help prepare you for the adversities and triumphs ahead!
How can I develop a growth mindset as a new microgreens entrepreneur?
Focus on learning rather than validating your abilities. View challenges as opportunities to improve. Replace internal criticism with curiosity. Embrace an iterative process of trying, failing, and learning. Seek input and feedback from customers and mentors. Measure progress through metrics, not perceptions. Celebrate small wins and lessons.
Why does mindset matter so much for microgreen farming success?
Microgreens are intricate and temperamental crops requiring constant learning and innovation. Market conditions shift rapidly. A fixed mindset inhibits adapting. But a growth mindset empowers continuously experimenting to improve yields, develop new varieties, implement new growing techniques, and tailor offerings to emerging consumer preferences. Your mindset impacts your capacity to evolve.
How can I maintain a growth mindset during challenging times in my microgreens business?
Recognize that difficult periods are inevitable in any venture. Focus on what you can control and take an incremental view of progress. Reflect on learnings from each challenge. Enlist support from mentors and peers who reinforce your potential. Celebrate small daily successes. Tough times test but strengthen growth mindsets.
What if my business partner has a more fixed mindset?
Have an honest dialogue on your differences. Share research on growth mindset benefits. Maintain open communication. Frame innovations and changes positively. Highlight market insights driving new directions. Keep focusing on your shared mission and purpose. Balance each other’s tendencies but progress together.
When should I shift from an experimental to an execution mindset?
The startup stage requires intense creativity. But once customers validate ideas, the focus must shift to consistent execution. Use milestones like product-market fit confirmation, revenue targets hit, and processes established as cues to transition mindsets from discovery to excellence. Experimentation and implementation require balance.
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Want to go deeper? Check out other actionable tactics to strengthen your startup mindset.
- Discover more business tips in the post, “13 Solutions to Mastering the Challenges of Your Microgreens Business Journey.”
- For a wealth of knowledge, read the post “Harnessing Technology for a Greener Future: A Guide for Microgreens Entrepreneurs.”
- Discover how to grow microgreens. Read this post, “Beyond the Windowsill: Growing Microgreens on Your Balcony or Patio.“
- Interested in nutrition and health? “The Beginner’s Nutritional Guide to Incredible Microgreens” to explore more about microgreens.
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- “Challenges Growing and Managing a New Microgreens Business with Jon Grootveld (FSFS144).” Paperpot Co: Paper Pot Transplanters, Microgreen Trays, Jang Seeder., 20 June 2018, paperpot.co/challenges-growing-and-managing-a-new-microgreens-business-with-jon-grootveld-fsfs144/. Accessed 10 Aug. 2023.