Three Tips to Becoming Profitable in Three Years

December 9, 2021 | Bank Iowa


Most kids aren’t planning to make their lemonade stand a full-time gig when they get older. So why are parents so enthusiastic about encouraging their kids to hock lemonade on the corner just to make a few bucks? Probably because these lemonade stands act as a way to teach children about achieving a goal, believing in themselves and becoming more financially literate.


With that idea in mind, we recently asked three young Iowa entrepreneurs for their advice when starting a business. The results led us to three tips to make any new business owner profitable in three years. 



Put in the groundwork


At 21, Erik Fahner felt like his day job was no longer adding value to his life and decided to take a leap of faith. Within months, Fahner launched his new art product and clothing line, Biig Pluto, in hopes of spreading a positive message to those wearing and seeing his designs. 


“My mission is to be vulnerable and share perspective into people’s lives to have a positive impact on them, said Fahner. “A lot of this perspective has to do with mental health awareness, how to positively impact people, choosing love over hate, and finding fulfillment in life.”


As a one-man team, Fahner learned how to source, produce, design, screen-print, market, package and ship his products through trial and error. He said that the first year of starting any new business includes a lot of hustle and paving a path to success. 


“Find your passion and don’t be afraid of giving up,” said Fahner. “The more groundwork you put in and the more committed you are, things will start to work out and the universe will have your back.”



Be patient and trust the process


 Sisters Market, a local produce stand in Fredericksburg, Iowa, was started by two sisters at the ages of seven and four. Both have learned a lot since their grand opening in 2017. 


Over the last four years, the duo has grown their produce stand from one garden to three, and every season, the sisters set up a stand to sell a variety of produce. While the first two seasons presented challenges like knowing the right time to plant, harvest and sell, the sisters have learned their business’ key to success: creating meaningful relationships with clients and the local community.


“We love providing our customers with fresh produce and flowers every season,” the Steege sisters shared, “We have enjoyed getting to know our customers and gain a better understanding of each customer’s purchase and what they expect when the visit us every time.”


By trusting the process, Sisters Market has made a significant profit. The Steege’s split their earnings between their college funds and a donation fund for their community. Over the past four years, the Steege sisters have donated toward the Chickasaw County SNAP and other local organizations like the Fredericksburg’s batting cages, elementary school, fire department and golf course. 



Don’t undervalue yourself


 As a former school teacher, Hannah Achen left the classroom to work full time at her family farm. In 2021, she opened her beef storefront, Achen Farms Beef, for local consumers. 


Launching during the pandemic led to Achen learned first hand about the difficulties of opening and maintaining a business. The biggest lesson learned? Never undervalue your products, services and time put toward your business. 


“The success of how your products preform does not necessarily reflect the amount of time and energy you put into what you do daily,” Said Achen, “It can be easy to fall into the trap of negating the extra energy and sacrifice it takes to run a small business and create high quality products.


Achen also encourages new entrepreneurs to adjust their expectations of what the anticipated business model may look like. If the business plan originally set doesn’t not go as planned, making one small change and pivoting your energy, time and money away from what is not successful can change everything. 


When starting your own business, remind yourself that there is no expectation to turn a large profit right away. As your business continues to grow, invest back to your business, reevaluate what is working and what isn’t then adjust your goals and finances to meet what is right for you. 


Running a business is a labor of love. By laying down the groundwork, staying patient and reminding yourself to never undervalue the work you are doing, you will slowly start to see those lemons turn to lemonade.