Strategic & Sustainable Growth: Going From Side-Biz to Full-Scale Company and Beyond

In this panel preview special, Andrew Edens of Smoky Mountain Vintage Lumber shares some of the driving points behind his moderated panel: Strategic & Sustainable Growth.

Visit this panel and more at The Maker City Summit, happening all-day at The Mill & Mine in Knoxville. Also joining Andrew on this panel are: 

  • Jesse Barlow, Blacksheep Printing Co.
  • Leanne McQueen, McQueen Pottery
  • Shaun Parrish, Old City Java, Wild Love Bakehouse, Pearl
  • Zack Roskop, Knox Brew Tours
 Photo of Andrew Edens by Ali James/Special to the  Knoxville News Sentinel

Photo of Andrew Edens by Ali James/Special to the Knoxville News Sentinel

Tell us a little about your experience, the good and the not so good, in growing businesses?

"Employees are one of the toughest, as that is something [you] can not control 100%. Also, they represent your business to the public."

Andrew touches on an important point here. As businesses grow, it's almost inevitable that they'll need help - both in the management of the business and the continuance of daily operations. When it comes to hiring employees, especially for a business owner who has only ever worked with themselves or their family, have a lot to consider when choosing, training, and helping employees succeed. 

What do you feel are the 3 - 5 top ‘must-haves’ for a company looking to scale sustainably?

"You need to delegate to grow."

Whether it's hiring employees or working with contractors, delegating tasks to those who are more skilled in that area frees up time for you to focus on what you're best at in your business. This could include "someone to help with paperwork, taxes, marketing, personnel, cleaning... obviously paying someone for all that is or could be an issue." 

Andrew also adds: "You need a good work ethic; you need to do the uncomfortable things with a smile. You need to sacrifice a little to gain a lot in the future."

What inspires you most about being the moderator of this panel?

Fear inspires me for this situation. Most people do not like speaking in front of people. I look forward to the challenge this gives me. Plus I feel [it's] important to moderate something like this.

You can gain so much more from Andrew in person at his 2 pm panel: Strategic and Sustainable Growth, in which he'll lead a 45-minute discussion with local makers and entrepreneurs about their experiences, challenges, successes, and stories from growing their companies.