I feel and think a lot of things about the fact that I am joining my husband and my best friend in bringing Maquina Coffee Roasters into being. One thing that I think about quite frequently is why we are creating Maquina and the way in which we hope to get it done.
I've worked in management and the running of businesses in various capacities for well over 10 years, and now I have the chance to really consider what I hope to bring into being with Maquina and how we hope to operate.
As many of you who are reading this know, businesses operate on the expectation of growth. Constant expansion. This makes sense for many financial reasons: brand awareness (i.e. everyone in your neighborhood/town/region etc knows about your business, which then becomes its own marketing engine), economy of scale (one marketing, hr, accounting team can service multiple locations, also greater buying power and negotiating leverage), and of course, the potential to make more money (and power and leverage and status).
This is a heady mix, and makes it hard to adequately assess the negatives of why growth can be undesirable. But you know what? Its not good enough. Perhaps the biggest reason is that as a business owner, growth forces your job description to change. If what you love about work is working closely with your community and being hands-on through the whole process, your ability to offer that will quickly disappear. As your staff, your customer base, your marketing needs, etc etc grow, you can lose the things that made you want to start a business in the first place.
With Maquina, I hope to seek out what I think of as the sweet spot. The spot where the business always stays small enough that Gabe and I can be deeply involved with the day to day running of the business-- because that is what we love. But also that it is large enough to have abundance for everyone who comes into contact with it: super-high quality goods to our customers, sustainable pay to our employees, good prices to our coffee farmers and a fair return to our family.
On a more human level, I want something I can be proud of, something that is a positive contribution to our community and isn't afraid to do things differently.