Small towns have endured boom and bust cycles, commodity crashes, mill and factory closures, environmental disasters and losing their economic reason for existing. Rural communities have reinvented themselves before, and rural businesses are re-inventing the way they do things.
How Holyoke Hummus stays Idea Friendly through a crisis
John is the owner of Holyoke Hummus in Massachusetts, along with Dawn and their family. Like a lot of food entrepreneurs, John started by cooking for friends and family. He grew through a series of small steps and experiments, from selling at a folding table at a event, through a tiny food cart, a mobile truck, and pop-ups at more events. Eventually, he opened a cafe in downtown Holyoke across from city hall.
Holyoke isn’t a small town, but you have seen this same type of experimentation by entrepreneurs in small towns that you know.
This was a perfect example of the Idea Friendly Method in business. You start with your big goal. You use that goal to Gather Your Crowd. You turn your crowd into a powerful network by Building Connections. And you and your newly-powerful network accomplish that goal by Taking Small Steps.
Through each step, John was Gathering His Crowd as he built a following. He was Building Connections networking to find resources and answers before taking each step. And of course he was Taking Small Steps.
Business was up and down, mostly good, until COVID hit and closed down the downtown around him.
John didn’t stop. He closed his dining room, of course, but he kept experimenting. As soon as mobile dining was allowed, he converted his cafe to a production base for his food truck. He is also exploring opening it as a shared kitchen for other food businesses needing a base for their mobile operations.
Since the downtown location wasn’t working anymore, he wanted to test a new location for his food truck in a nearby community, but there’s a local regulation that doesn’t allow selling from food trucks on the streets. John found the owner of an empty muffler shop building. He asked him for permission to park on his parking lot, and the owner said yes. So he’s setting up shop on the empty parking lot and building a new customer base. Another Small Step.
It’s not easy to keep a business going when a crisis hits, but the Idea Friendly Method makes it possible to move forward without knowing all the answers.
Thanks to our friend Rob Hatch for sharing updates on his friend John and the Holyoke Hummus Company.
Update: 2022 Growing again
Holyoke Hummus is still adapting to changing times. Read how they’re growing without going back to a restaurant.
Idea Friendly means you don’t have to know it all
You don’t have to know all the answers. You just have to be open to new ideas.
Being open to new ideas requires us to let go of worrying about whether the idea will work. Lots of those ideas will fail. In fact, most ideas will fail. By keeping the tests and trials very small and immediate, we can reduce the cost of failure to almost nothing.
Author Clay Shirky says “Failure is free, high-quality research, offering direct evidence of what works and what doesn’t.”
It will never go back to the way it used to be. You have to start from here and go forward, one small step at a time.
Get the Idea Friendly Method Video
At SaveYour.Town, we’re offering a special video on using the Idea Friendly Method to make your community a better place. Learn more about the Idea Friendly Method video at SaveYour.Town.
- About the Author
- Latest by this Author
Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.