While several of my posts to date have focused on ways in which Amazon may be hurting small businesses, I wanted to also look at how small businesses can potentially benefit from a huge company such as Amazon. Within the last few days, an article was published talking about how Amazon’s take over of Whole Foods in particular can help small businesses grow. I was very intrigued by this article, and wanted to share what I read.
For entrepreneurs in the natural food and products industry, Whole Foods has served as a launch pad for small companies looking to increase brand awareness about their products. Since Whole Foods is widely known for their organics and natural foods, they have played an important role for start ups because when Whole Foods decides to place a product from a small company on their shelf, it increases the credibility of the product. Whole Foods has expressed that they are committed to developing small, local businesses. “All Whole Foods Market stores will continue to sell local products, and our buyers remain committed to discovering and incubating local and innovative brands,” spokeswoman Betsy Harden said in an emailed statement. In a way, Whole Foods greatly benefits from small businesses as well, by helping to make sure that there is a variety of local and national products available for customers.
A story was shared from the founder of JC’s Pie Pops, Jennifer Constantine, who had made a surprise appearance at the Natural Products Expo. She was approached and told that a lot of young and small brands like hers are scared and think that they aren’t going to be able to survive in such a competitive world. Constantine’s response was that if you are a small company and not able to produce much business, it is going to be tough, but if you are able to sell your product and create awareness about it the chances are much greater of surviving. This definitely speaks to the high level of passion and hard work that it takes to be a successful start up company. Whole Foods ended up helping Constantine break into the specialty food market by selling her homemade Panna Cotta dish in several stores. With 5.3 million dollars in sales last year, Constantine’s products are now available in lots of chains including Publix and Giant.
This article provided a newfound perspective for me on small businesses and their ability to collaborate with large companies to enable success for both small and large businesses. While this collaboration doesn’t totally ensure a start up’s success, it certainly helps. There is a lot of benefit that is gained in working together, and in the health food industry in particular, the customers benefit as well, by getting more of a variety of products.
In closing, I look forward to continuing reading about other ways in which small and large businesses collaborate with one another. While it certainly doesn’t take out competition all together, it hopefully makes it a little less intimidating for small businesses.