January 8th, 2022. Founder’s Log #28. Well, one week of 2022. How’s everyone’s new year to me mentality? The 2nd iteration of these founder’s logs only means that we are continuing to play the commitment role here. This is one of the things I hope to set as a goal for American Butchers JERKi. I figure I’ll continue these as long as I don’t have an excuse to have a break because, in a busy lifestyle, a break will automatically work itself into my life, kinda like going to the gym. There isn’t a necessity to take a rest day because more times than not some days you won’t be able to get to the gym and those days turn out to be your rest days.
I also enjoy these writing assignments that I’ve given myself. A weekly write-up allows me to practice a skill that, let’s be real, doesn’t often get the attention that it deserves. I come up with a story-type mentality and help portray it on paper and eventually do a podcast recap to incorporate the writing styles present in these documents.
And without further ado, the past week. Let me first start, it is a challenge running a business from a completely different country. What do I mean by this? Well if you are new to the storyline here, I am currently deployed overseas and have been for the past 6 months. While I’ve been over here, American Butchers JERKi is currently being handled by my lovely parents, thank you, mom and dad. They handle everything from production to processing, and shipping. What do I do? I seem to handle the website, the blog posts, customer engagement, and feedback. Doesn’t equal out between the two.
The biggest challenge that this presents is the delay in order transactions. Hmm, order transactions? Let me explain. When everything was being handled by me, orders could pretty well be turned around in about 24 hours. I receive an order and can ship it out all while handling thank you letters, printing labels, and handling any day-to-day necessities. Well now that I have eliminated myself from the equation for a short time, this lag time has increased a little. Think about it like this, American Butchers JERKi is my baby, my pride and joy. When you create something you want it to be the very best and you’ll work extremely hard for it. Now when you hand that something off to someone else, that same type of compassion or commitment to a project won’t always transfer over.
Now I am NOT saying that my parents don’t 100% provide a high level of appreciation and work to make something like this happen but it isn’t their number 1 priority. They have an entire other business to run with their problems and goals.
This brings us to our present situation. Orders aren’t turning as fast as previously would be. With the holiday season just past us, my folks took a leave of absence and enjoyed the festivities. What does this mean for American Butchers JERKi? Well, it had to be put on a temporary pause as there was no one there to smoke beef jerky or process orders or fulfill them. As a small business with a small team, it’s important to make time for family and friends and understand that work can be put on pause to enjoy the holiday seasons. It essentially means though we had to let all customers know that for the timeframe of the holiday season we would be halting operations. As the holidays began to conclude and we thought a normal lifestyle would soon be approaching, things began to take another unexpected plan. Especially when your parents now find themselves with COVID self-isolating and not returning to work for an unknown expected time.
So as I sit here with orders ready/ needing to be fulfilled, we honestly can’t at this moment be able to provide the quick response turnaround that we have normally been able to. This is one of the challenges that, as a small business, we face because we don’t have many employees, we don’t have many orders, and so when unexpected things start to get in our path, we have to react in the best way that we can.
Now as some orders are 2 weeks overdue, deep down inside it hurts a little. I am so far away from the fight or where the action happens that I can’t be there to fulfill orders. When customers reach out asking for a status on their orders, ultimately the only thing that we can do is be as transparent as possible and provide them as much information as we can, given the current situation. At times I wish that American Butchers JERKi could hire a full-time employee that would prioritize the handling for everything related to ABJ while I am away and help take some of the extra work off my parent's lap but in reality, with the order quantities and only 6 months left in my deployment, this type of dream is only that. A dream.
I do see this becoming a reality in the future as we begin to grow and conquer new avenues but that’s what this is all about. Looking towards the future and seeing where ABJ could be taken one day. I do hope that things hopefully start to clear up and customers can appreciate that we are a small business doing our absolute best to ensure your beef jerky taste amazing and comes in an appropriate amount of time. There are different challenges that we face each week but each week we see how to handle them and prepare ourselves for next week. One day at a time.