I'm writing from my cockpit and home aboard our 41' Cruising Sailboat inspired by the calmness of the harbor this morning. As I watch the myriad of fishing boats, kayaks, paddle boards and the Island Packers boat the sun is peeking through the cloud cover warming everything up.
This week was all about reflection on our past year's performance. With our fiscal year ending September 30th we look back at the good, bad and the ugly from last year. What a difference just one or two orders can make on the entire year's picture. I have been told I am lucky for being able to still be in business for 6 years now, but the struggle was real this year as I worked hard to make a profit for our lemonade company. There are so many layers of costs between us and our customers that cut away from the necessary profits that need to be made to be sustainable. And even when you invest in retailers, as we spend thousands of dollars for shelf space, you are never guaranteed a long life there. We are dealing with that now as new products come out every day and retailers want to rotate us out. We will be looking at that this year as well to see what makes the best sense for our company's future.
For certain, I have learned that even with slashing our expenses, the need for capital to invest in promotions is critical to the success of a beverage company. The old saying, it takes money to make money was something I wanted to prove wrong. But looking at the end result of our hard work this last year, there is no denying the fact that statement is more true than I still care to admit.
Thanks to my mentors at SCORE I have connected to an amazing woman, CFO and Quickbooks guru. She speaks my language and is the first person that has taught me how to really read my financials and not feel like an idiot or leave the meeting in tears. Though we have only met a couple of times, I am painfully focusing my dreaming sales and marketing brain to the true heart of the company. And that heart lies in the lines of the P/L and Balance Sheet. Because, if those numbers are wrong, all the passion and incredible tasting product won't make it to the people that want it.
While, the only reason I wanted to "sell" my lemonade was to pay for the college expenses I promised our three kids, I look back now and realize how naieve I really was. It was a dream, one I believed in so much so that I made it a reality. And that reality could be seen by everyone who met Lori's Lemonade - they could see my vision too.
For that reason, I continue every day to find a way to somehow make the impossible happen as I pour every single dollar we make back into the company to bring the best shelf stable, organic lemonades to a market looking for something real, from a real person with purpose.
Wish us luck friends as I continue to evolve, learn and grow a lemonade company into the success I know it can be.
Lori Volk, Chief Believer/Founder
Lori's Original Lemonade