A Different Kind of Story

This is not a post about the success of business blogging. Nor is it about a company with a tremendous web presence.

Instead, the story of the Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company is one about community. And business.

It’s about how you can become much more successful than you envision by choosing to serve your community with your business.

Going through my feed reader this morning (and slowly digging out from under the pile of great articles that accumulated while I was on vacation) I came across this post by Becky McCray over at Small Business Survival.

In the post, Becky points the story at the Vinyl Cafe by Stuart McLean over at the CBC.CA web site.

It’s a story about a few folks who had a passion to help others and wanted to make a difference doing what they could where they were. They started a bakery co-op to help out local farmers who were experiencing a tough time.

Making A Difference

But they wanted to do more.

Finally they asked … what could they do? Could they do anything to support farmers in some larger way?

Five of them decided to open a bakery. They found one for sale and figured they needed about $40,000 to get going. They went to the bank and explained they wanted to sell bread at $2 a loaf rather than the going rate of 50 cents. They said they figured if you explained to people that you were charging more so you could pay farmers more, people would be happy to pay the extra.

The bank told them this was absurd. The bank said that wasn’t the way the world worked. So they got money from friends. Some low interest loans, some no interest loans. They promised to pay them back, if and when they could.

They figured there was this great hunger for connection. That farmers wanted to meet the city people who used their crops. That city people wanted to know where their food came from.

They had no idea if they were right. Everyone told them they weren’t. Everyone told them not to quit their day jobs. Everyone told them they would fail. They figured they wouldn’t be grandiose. For opening day they baked about 30 loaves of bread, 2 dozen muffins and 12 cinnamon buns. When they opened their doors at 10 o’clock … there were 200 people lined up at the door.

They had an idea that was seen as nuts by the folks around them. Yet they went ahead anyway, were far more successful than they anticipated. And they’ve been going strong for 15 years now.

What’s the Take-Away?

The take-away here is that community is good business. The money we need to flow for our businesses to be successful is attached to people. We will do well to keep sight of that fact.

We may not have some grand cause that drove us to start our businesses. However we will become more successful in our endeavors when we put people first and encourage community.

Despite what some of the naysayers claim, effective business blogging is one tool we can add to our arsenal that can help encourage community in our businesses.

When we put people first, the money will follow. Then our businesses will likely surprise us with how successful they become.

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