Sari Kimbell has made supporting and transforming the local food movement her life’s work.
A former history teacher, Kimbell started her food consulting business in 2016 after seven years of working with restaurants and CPG products. Located in Fort Collins, Colo., Sari Kimbell Consulting is helping local entrepreneurs start and grow their packaged food businesses.
When Kimbell began consulting, she had a grasp on some of the financial dynamics of growing food businesses, but she didn’t have all the tools or the bigger picture yet. In 2018, the Extension office at Colorado State University extended an offer to attend the Food Finance Institute’s Consultant Training, funded by a 2016 USDA LFPP grant award. FFI’s training helped Kimbell add that bigger piece to complete her financial toolkit with templates, spreadsheets and examples to assist with pricing, projections, forecasting and financing.
Spearheaded by Tera Johnson, the FFI Consultant Training Program provides consultants with expertise and guidance in business model optimization and financial packaging specific to the food industry. Few consultants are experts in both food business models and the financial requirements that food businesses need to be successful – that’s what makes the training uniquely valuable to the participants.
“No Money, No Impact”
Kimbell is making a difference in her clients’ lives while working to transform the food system from a processed, highly monopolized industry to one that encourages entrepreneurship, innovation and better tasting food.
Tera’s phrase “no money, no impact” resonated with her, and she quickly learned how much you need to scale up to be profitable. It’s important that she helps her clients understand just how much money it will take.
“Food producers have such strong passions for what they make, and it can blind them from reality,” Kimbell said. It’s her job to make sure they don’t have a distorted vision of reality that simply fits the picture the way they want it to. Her clients love what they make, and that’s awesome, but at the end of the day, she’s helping them start a business, not an expensive hobby.
No Longer a One-Woman Show
Kimbell is practicing what she preaches by scaling up her own business with the Food Business Success Accelerator online program, which she created in January 2019.
Sari Kimbell Consulting has served many clients in Colorado, but she can only provide so many businesses with 1-on-1 consulting as a one-woman show. The Food Business Success Accelerator allows her to help multiple clients at once, expanding her reach to many more early-stage food business entrepreneurs.
In the next few years, Kimbell plans to continue building the online program so she can help as many clients as possible.