The business world is undergoing a transformation. Companies and industries are adapting to the new technological revolution, which has brought about an era of data-driven insights and greater connectivity than ever before. SoftBank’s CEO Masayoshi Son believes that blockchain technology will be “the next big thing.”
The “inspirational business success stories” is a blog that shares the true stories of people who have succeeded in their business. It includes interviews with successful entrepreneurs and executives as well as case studies from around the world.
Last night, I was treated to one of those fantastic genuine tales about a real company that reminded me of how some of the greatest potential companies begin and grow: organically, based on principles, with people doing what they like. Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss is the name of the dish.
It’s a straightforward tale. Larry Kaplowitz and Luna Marcus bought a secondhand ice cream machine for $1.50 in 2004 and began producing ice cream using coconut milk. They began by sharing with their pals. This led to community gatherings, and eventually to stocking the shelves of a few local businesses. The product was well received, and manufacturing was extended to a small, licensed trailer. They collected $75,000 from friends and family to relocate into a leased facility with a nicer kitchen since more people wanted it and more businesses wanted it.
The demand for the product continues to rise. They teamed up with a local dairy to boost output once again. They went to Thailand to see coconut plantations in order to build a connection with a key supplier. They rejected down offers to buy the rapidly expanding business altogether. They stayed true to their principles. Annual sales increased to well over $1 million. Rather of selling the firm to a rival or an out-of-state bigger corporation as demand grew and the company’s requirements became more about business than coconut ice cream, they recently formed a relationship with a local dairy. That’s because, as Larry said last night, it’s close to home, and the people and ideals are perfectly compatible.
If you prefer, you may receive the narrative in the form of a comic book: To see a bigger, more legible version, click on the sample panels here. Last night, Larry recounted this tale to a packed house at our Eugene, Oregon, startup group (smartups.org). He’s now an angel investor and a member of the Willamette Angel Conference, and he and Luna are still extremely engaged with the combined company’s Coconut Bliss line, but they’re no longer in control of the day-to-day operations.
I noticed two intriguing side notes:
Someone asked Larry whether he had ever experienced the dark days that all entrepreneurs go through as their businesses grow. “Just much every day from one and a half years in to four years,” he said, flashing a wide grin. The gang burst out laughing. “We constantly felt like we were in over our heads; that we needed more business knowledge and experience,” he said.
Not when you’re creating something that a lot of people desire, I thought at the time.
He also said that many educated people warned them that their concept wouldn’t work since coconut ice cream is far more expensive than normal ice cream. Whether or not this bothered them, Luna and Larry charged whatever they needed to in order to pay their expenses. And many were willing to pay extra for it.
At the time, I felt it was a smart approach to have the highest price and the highest value. Check to see whether the values are the same. It’s difficult to expand a small company on the basis of a cheap pricing.
A sweet true story about a real business is a must read for any entrepreneur. This article shares some of the most successful stories from entrepreneurs who have been through it all and came out on top. Reference: business success examples.
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