Minneapolis and St. Paul were buzzing with all the excitement and energy of Twin Cities Startup Week (Oct. 8-14, 2018), a whole week dedicated to the thriving startup scene here in the Twin Cities.
There were no shortage of seminars, panel discussions, co-working opportunities, and networking events for entrepreneurs to take part in across a variety of industries (technology, health care, food and agriculture just to name a few). Not surprisingly, we focused our attention on the Food/Ag/Ideas offerings and here were our key takeaways:
1. Do you, and do it well.
There will always be competition and it’s important to be aware of who else is in your lane. But equally, if not more important, is to be authentic and stay true to your vision and mission.
Taste is king. If it doesn’t taste good, it doesn’t matter how great your packaging looks.
2. Be distinctive in your branding.
Show don’t tell. In a world of overwhelming choices, make it easier for consumers to pick you.
Engage consumers on an emotional level and sell the benefits.
3. Iterate and then iterate some more.
As a small brand, don’t expect to get it right the first time so recognize the importance of iterations.
Gather feedback, pivot, course correct and adjust as needed.
4. Where food comes from matters.
Food that is grown locally, sustainably, and/or regeneratively is of increasing importance to consumers.
Plant protein is no longer what consumers eat when they can’t afford to buy meat. There has been a huge shift in eating habits with consumers consciously choosing plant-based eating for both the nutritional benefits and the health of the environment.
5. It’s a great time to be a startup.
Our stories and passion inspire others. We are doers, makers, and hustlers. We are innovating and disrupting, and big companies have taken notice.
It’s not an easy road and not for the faint of heart. It takes grit, confidence, and unwavering commitment. We may not all succeed but we can be proud to say that we put ourselves out there and we are going for it.