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267. “The Sweet Spot”

Last week I asked whether bigger is better when it comes to how much impact coffee companies can have on their partners at origin.  Today, I wonder whether there is a “sweet spot” between “Small is Beautiful” and “Bigger is Better” from which coffee companies can combine the best of both.

If there is such a thing as a “sweet spot” company what would it look like?

Small enough to keep layers of bureaucracy from getting between key decision-makers and farmer organizations.

Small enough to maintain the kinds of intimate relationships with farmers and associations that offer a fine-grain view of life at origin, and often lead to innovative ideas to improve smallholder livelihoods.  Big enough to put those ideas into action.

Small enough to stay farmer-focused in your trading relationships.  Big enough to be a primary trading partner.

Small enough to change course on the road to success.  Big enough to make a real impact at origin when you get there.

Big enough to attract the industry’s attention to your valuable innovations, perhaps even big enough to begin to move the needle on how the industry does business.

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