Food Entrepreneurship, HACCP and the E-Myth
I work with small business, from startups to several million dollar companies and I’ve figured out something that the ones that succeed have in common. The most energized and fastest growing have figured out how to divorce what the CEO/owner wants from what the business needs. Here’s an example of a call I get frequently.
“Hi there, I understand you write HACCP plans. How much does it cost?” Right there, it is tough to figure out if we are on the right track, so, as a consultant I have to back people up and figure out if their company has developed any set of procedures and systems to make a HACCP truly work for a small business.
What the owner wants is a HACCP plan because having an audited plan opens up many markets. But most times what the business needs is the creation of the underlying structure that makes the HACCP work. If you don’t have some pretty rigorous process controls in place, a HACCP itself won’t magically create them, but it sure will let you know where process controls are absent! It’s a system not much different from any other system a company implements.
It isn’t just me that believes in systematizing small business. The stupendously popular E-Myth Series promotes the same idea. Do things the right way, the same way, every time you do them. That idea (along with rigorous hand washing) will get you a 95% solution for food safety.
So, where do you, the food entrepreneur start? Well, I’d start by reading The E-Myth and thinking about systems. Then I’d look at which customers want an audited HACCP plan (this is academic if you are in meats, seafood or juice because the government requires HACCP) and then how you are going to put the people in place to train, write and implement it. Then I’d figure out if you can meet the demand with your current production schedule, and if not, how you are going to grow to meet the demand (hint, it’s either space or people).
Once all those are in place, that’s a great place to start to think about a HACCP plan! By then, it’ll be just another system!