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Our Business Model


A man’s heart plans his way, But יהוה establishes his steps.  ~Proverbs 16:9


Continued from our Project Plan series.

Even though we are working with three very different industries, they all have at least two things in common.

  1. Business management
  2. Project management

It does appear that the industries we are in are not connected, but they are. Before I get into our business model, I would like to explain, briefly, how Wesley and I ended up where we are today.

Our business ventures in a nut shell

In 2008, we liquidated the contents of a friend’s home in Georgia during the Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae fallout era. At that time, we didn’t know what we were doing was an actual industry. That is, until we visited my mother in Tennessee about a month later.

We were asked if we wanted to work with an estate liquidator while we were on vacation and since it was a company my sister worked for, we thought it would be fun to help. The estate sale was in Oak Ridge and it was about a negative 4 degrees and we were freezing! Wesley and I spent 11 hours working outside after we assisted in staging the home.

After the estate sale was over with, we returned to our favorite coffee house in Georgia, but we were asked if we wanted to move to Tennessee and work in the estate liquidation industry. We knew what our vision was. Our vision was to start a coffee house without taking out a bank loan. Estate liquidation would be a way to make more money than we were making in Georgia, and it seemed, at that time, our fast track to owning a coffee house.

In December of 2011, we were on our way to Maryland to work an estate sale when we came across a house on Charles G. Seivers Blvd., in Clinton, TN.  Long story short, that would be the site of Our Little Coffee House, but first, we had to make the Maryland trip.

We opened the coffee house but had a difficult time finding suppliers. New business. No track record. Not enough inventory needed in order to qualify for a wholesale account, and don’t even get me started on the prices of organic produce!

We had to shut down the coffee house and evaluate our vision. How can we get the ingredients we need in order to make the coffee house feasible? That’s how we came up with a plan to start a market garden. But, life was not a bowl full of peaches and cream. Far from it. We were about to be launched into homesteading in a way we were not prepared for.

You should have seen the look on the health inspector’s face when he showed up to do an inspection on the coffee house.  He didn’t know we had closed down.  If ever there is a government person that cares about the state of people’s circumstances, it was him.  If only he knew the story behind the coffee house, and what led up to the point where he showed up, perhaps he would have advised us to quit.

We tell the details of our journey in the subscription plan, along with behind-the-scenes videos and detailed business plans. If you would like to know more about what happened to the coffee house, and how we got into homesteading, please join us behind the scenes. We took a lot of video on our journey.

I can say this much about making plans. You can make them all you want, but that doesn’t mean you will be in the right timing to carry out the plans.  I have seen a restaurant go from planning to launch in a matter of a few months, and they are successful, but our story is not about the destination.  It’s about the journey itself.

Ultimately, it is a very simple question, with the answer resulting in many years of wandering through the dessert.  The question is, do we trust YHWH.  The answer was, no.  And so, our path would change and we would experience something that brought about every emotion known to man.

Estate liquidation was not our career choice, but it is our dessert.

BUSINESS MODEL INTRODUCTION

Each of the businesses have the same business model, even though the requirements are a bit different. Our model is very simple.

1. INQUIRE OF THE LORD

I don’t want to be on a path I’m not supposed to be on.  Yes, it is possible the reason we don’t have the coffee house is because it’s not the Lord’s will.   Even if He says no to mine and my husband’s vision, I would rather inquire of Him.

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, But it is the counsel of יהוה [Jehovah] that stands. ~Proverbs 19:21

2. VISION

Define the vision, mission, goals and objectives.

3. LEADERSHIP

Commitment to see the vision through.

  • Ability to succeed – I am a firm believer that success is being in the will of YHWH. This is why when you serve Him, your plans may not go as you dreamed they would. It might take you longer to get through the plans and live the dream, but one learns to accept the process of getting there as part of the journey.
  • Willingness to succeed – We have scrubbed many toilets, cleaned countless houses and the contents, driven many miles, and still walked the agonizing path of poverty. All for one thing. We want to walk through our vision of having a homestead, market garden and coffee house. We hear critical comments all the time. “Why don’t you just quit?” We can’t quit. How will we ever know what’s on the other side of the trials if we just quit? We are willing to keep going.
  • Knowledge of product and/or services – Have you ever walked into a store and asked a question and the person you asked doesn’t know, and doesn’t care to know about what the company they work for is all about? I want to know where our chocolates are coming from. I want to know what ingredients are in the products we serve. I want to know who is growing the ingredients we can’t grow ourselves.
  • Have a passion for the subject – What is the point in chasing a dream if you aren’t passionate about it?
  • Look for opportunities – We couldn’t find suppliers, which created an opportunity to grow our own produce. Growing our own produce opened up another opportunity and then the market garden ideas was born.
  • Learn the value of money – This seems easy, but when you lose everything, money is all you can think about. Our journey started out with our vision, but turned into a battle to overcome poverty. Example: One meal at a cheap restaurant could have been a loaf of bread, peanut butter and jelly, which would have created many meals.
  • Not afraid to fail – I can look at the blank road sign in front of the house that used to be Our Little Coffee House, and I can quit. Or I can learn from our mistakes and fix things, then re-open. Yes, we hear a lot of talk. We learned to keep quiet, and instead of trying to explain, we just decided to do a documentary instead.

4. CONCEPT

Concept development involves discovery to make sure the vision is feasible before moving forward.

  • Problems that need to be solved.
  • Solutions for the problems that we can provide.
  • Niche
  • Products
  • Services
  • Branding
  • Market fit
  • Industry standards
  • Federal, state and local requirements
  • Networking opportunities

5. PLANS

Detailed plans required for the business, services and/or products.

  • Business Plan
  • Operations Plan
  • Financial Plan
  • Marketing Plan
  • Project Management Plan

Under this category for homesteading, operations plans can include:

  • Animal husbandry
  • Soil building
  • Crops
  • Property management
  • Etc.

Under this category for market gardening, operations plans can include:

  • Same as homestead processes
  • Packaging
  • Food safety
  • Inspections
  • Etc.

Under this category for the coffee house, operations plans can include:

  • Recipes
  • Health inspections
  • Inventory management
  • Bakery
  • Coffee bar
  • Prep kitchen
  • Etc.

6. IMPLEMENT

Carry out the plans.

7. MAINTAIN

Maintain the business and action plan. Our action plan is detailed behind the scenes.

8. EXIT

Exit strategy for closing down the business, or parts of it.

PROJECT PLAN

I will get into more details concerning how we manage each of the projects at a later time. The big picture of our project plan is done in phases.

Phase 1: Homestead

We are learning homesteading by walking through it, though we did not plan for it to be done through an estate sale. It is top priority for us to set up a homestead and grasp the basics.

Phase 2: Market Garden

Our market garden will provide produce for Our Little Coffee House, but first, we have to be able to grow enough crops for ourselves and our CSA subscribers. Once we are able to manage that, we can increase the amount we grow. Our goal is to grow enough for 50 subscribers.

Phase 3: Coffee House

The coffee house vision has been changed from its original direction back when we first opened. The new vision is to keep a seasonal menu, according to the market garden crops, and to keep everything simple. It’s like visiting a homestead. Laid back, cozy, inviting and some place you would want to retreat to.

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Want to go behind the scenes and watch our videos, get detailed plans, and join our community?  Visit the [About This Site] for more details.  You can click on the links at the very top of the page to see more sections of the site that are open to the public.

You can also subscribe to our [YouTube channel]  and our [Facebook group].

 

TO DO LIST

  1. Add all the September and October journal entries.

  2. Member page.

  3. Set up Market Garden section.

  4. Finish adding content to the Action Plan.

  5. Add inspiration photos to the action plan > to schedule

  6. Set up bee binders.