• Mathieu Maréchal •
Opening an organic shop: all the reasons why you should take the plunge!
Opening an organic shop is a big decision. It will commit you to a long-term project which requires significant investment from you (in terms of time, energy, money and skills).
Let’s be clear: opening a shop is a big deal!
It’s therefore important to think carefully beforehand about the reasons why you want to take the plunge.
During discussions with our customers at Kami Store, the most common reason is a search for meaning: the “why” of their business. There are professional, personal and even family reasons which we will explore in this article.
Our aim today is simple: to help you to clarify your ideas and ensure that your reasons play a key part in making this fundamental dimension.
They could be particularly useful when developing your business plan. Banks will be more inclined to finance your plans if you can show the reasons for launching your business: this proves that you have been thorough in your analysis and that you know what you’re getting into.
Let’s look at the key reasons why you might want to start your own business!
Opening an organic shop: a search for meaning
Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle
Simon Sinek is a British-American inspirational speaker and author who focuses on motivation in business.
The following video presents his key concept of the “Golden Circle” and is really fascinating (please note that the video is in English, but subtitled in French):
If you watch the video, you’ll learn that:
- most companies have a clear idea of what they do (the “what”) and can talk about it easily,
- some companies also know “how” they create their products,
- but very few companies have thought about “why”: the purpose of their business.
And yet, it’s vital to consider this: human beings are much more motivated when they find meaning in their work!
The “why” of your business will make it easier to deal with the inevitable hard times, unexpected crises, days without customers and all the other problems which can occur when you have your own business.
During these hard times, you can think about the purpose of your business: I guarantee that this will give you the energy and motivation to find solutions and persevere!
Find something which makes sense to you: organic, ethical, fair trade, zero waste.
Now that you know how important it is to consider and identify the purpose of your business, how should you go about it?
I recommend using the Ikigai approach: the aim is to find the crossover between an activity:
- you’re passionate about (e.g. fair trade and organic produce)
- for which there is an identified need,
- for which people are willing to pay (so that you’ll be paid for your work),
- for which you have the skills.
This approach can help you to find out exactly what sort of business you want to create and define the purpose of your future organic shop!
There may be professional reasons behind your desire to open your own organic shop.
First of all, many of our customers tell us that they started out because of their desire for independence: they no longer wanted to have to answer to one, or several, bosses. It’s understandable if you no longer want to be subject to arbitrary decisions or internal politics: running your own business can help you to do this!
Others make the decision so that they can express their creativity on a day-to-day basis. For example, my wife opened an organic/zero-waste grocery shop and a lot of the preparatory work was really creative: decorating and fitting out the shop, choosing the colours, the shape and design of the labels, designing the logo and the website, creating posts for social media and so on. This can be a real pleasure for people who are creative at heart.
Another reason is that running an organic shop means that you’re sure to have plenty of things to do on a daily basis. Your days will be varied and stimulating, whereas as an employee in a company, you often spend years doing more or less the same thing. In your shop, you’ll have to take on many different roles: from selling to customers, to receiving deliveries, to accounting, to paying suppliers, to managing social media, to recruiting staff to help you and more. There’s never a dull moment when you have a shop!
Lastly, you may be driven by more down-to-earth reasons, such as the fact that you can gradually build up a business which will increase in value over the years and which you can sell on when you want to move on to another business venture. You can always sell your business and have a small nest egg with which to retire or to start a new business.
An organic/zero-waste shopkeeper I had the pleasure to talk to recently told me that his goal was to be able to work as a family: he was going to open the shop with his wife, his mother was going to help in the shop, his sister was going to help with the accounting, his brother was going to help with the website and social media. In short, it was an excellent opportunity to do something positive as a family!
Another personal reason is to find a better work/life balance. As a shopkeeper, you can set your opening hours to some extent, although you need to ensure that your opening hours are long enough to welcome plenty of customers.This is a valid reason, but we think that we need to emphasise the difference between the dream (the impression that you’d be a good shopkeeper, if you’re not one already) and the reality, which is generally more restrictive.
When you open an organic shop, you can also decide to rent premises near to where you live: you can go home for lunch, enjoy a shorter commute in the evening and encourage your children and friends to visit your shop.
Finally, a reason which is often cited is the desire to create links within the community. As an organic shopkeeper, you’ll meet with your customers and you’ll be able to interact with dozens or even hundreds of people. You can also organise workshops, small conferences, tasting sessions and more. Your working life can be incredibly varied!
In conclusion, there are many reasons why you might want to open an organic shop. In our view, the most important reason is a search for meaning and the desire to have a positive impact on the world. But you may be driven by a desire to express your creativity, have a better work/life and many other things.
The key is to be clear about these reasons before you start to ensure that you have the motivation and the energy to start your business!