Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ricky Klein, Co-Founder of Groennfell Meadery, located in Swanton, VT, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We're a craft meadery based in Vermont. We sell our mead (primarily in cans) all throughout the US.

Tell us about yourself

I've been brewing for years, and a little over a decade ago, Kelly (my wife and the CEO) decided to go big with our brewing hobby. When we started, we were one of only five craft meaderies in the world. Now, a decade later, we're still going strong through all of the ups and downs of being small business owners, and the number one thing that keeps me going to work is the team that I've built over the years.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Surviving financial crises is one of the mainstays of small business ownership, but surviving massive growth is the real challenge. We had to scale an order of magnitude, then prepare for the inevitable contraction that follows that type of growth. It was rough, but we're still going!

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Having a strong set of values and sticking to them is absolutely essential for long-term success in any business, but remembering what you stand for and why you started the business can be extremely challenging as you're hit by wave after wave of crisis and the inevitable advice from those who aren't in your shoes.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Your purpose and mission will come with time. If you start with something that you're excited or passionate about, you will discover the mission within it. Don't be taken in by the pervasive belief that you need to have your "Why" figured out 100%.
  2. If you have a great business idea and no one else is doing it, you only need to ask yourself one question, "Why is no one else doing it?" Spend as much time as you can answering that question.
  3. The old adage about "getting the right people on the bus" is so true. I have seen very successful companies pivot again and again because they had a great team, but the best idea will fail if the wrong people are on the bus.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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