Last week I did a pitch to the Des Moines chapter of One Million Cups (1MC), a program of The Kauffman Foundation that focuses on networking for entrepreneurs. It was my second pitch and my third time attending their (usually) weekly events. I did my first pitch at the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City chapter back in early January.
It's been not only fun keeping connected with these folks and good for my pitch/public-speaking skills for the business, it's been a boon to our growing business.
When I checked in with the 1MC-CR/IAC folks in March, they always presenters to ask how the community can support them and I made a simple request: "We need our first coffee shop account. That's a game-changer for any small roaster, and we don't have one yet." One of the organizers there put me in touch that same day with a nearby cafe owner and within two weeks our coffee was on the menu at Brewhemia in Cedar Rapids, which is a fantastic Third Wave cafe and have been so much fun to work with.
See, we're trying to build something bigger than a "mom & pop shop" here in small-town Iowa, and I quickly realized when we started the company that we would need to be intentional about networking with people in the (count 'em) five metro areas that surround our very rural Tama County.
So this is a "thank you" note to 1MC folks, especially the organizers that I've worked with: Sarah Binder & David Tominsky at 1MC-CR/IAC and Ben McDougal at 1MC-DSM. You folks are awesome, and I'm grateful.