January 15th, 2022. Founder’s Log #29. Do you ever wonder how many years it takes for businesses to feel like they’ve made it? What is the definition of a successful company? Someone once told me that it took Amazon almost 14 years to finally turn a profit. Talk about a crazy success story. Initially going public in ’97 and looking at Amazon’s quarterly net profit seeing at one point they were down a little over half a billion is crazy. Often I find myself wondering about the relationship between personal funds and business funds. Meaning… How much of my funds should I continue to invest in a business before you want to start to believe the business should be able to eventually run itself.
That’s some food for thought to open for our conversation today. Last week we highlighted the struggle we had faced with a lack of placement we felt being so far away from the source of production for American Butchers JERKi and the challenges faced when it came to ordering production and fulfillment of orders. Well long behold the truth will set you free. I ended up messaging our customers whose orders were delayed with the COVID scare and the holidays wrapping up and everything worked out extremely well.
When it comes to running a business, one of the most important things I can highlight is the key to success is communication and transparency. I suppose this is similar to marriage as they always say. I wrote an email to each customer highlighting the struggles we were facing and a sincere apology for the delay. To my joy, they each wrote back expressing their complete understanding of the situation and their patience for their orders. They highlighted the importance of the cause they were supporting for the donations overseas more than the jerky they were about to receive and that hit me. It is easier to communicate and express your current dilemmas than leave a customer in the dark hoping it will get easier or orders will soon be flowing again. It’s all about the recipe for success.
To bring us back around to our opening conversation about the success of a business. For American Butchers JERKi, I measure our success on the donations overseas. Our goal for the first year was 500 bags and we crushed that goal. In my eyes, that was a success. For the second year, we’ve set the goal of 1000 bags. Some say, why not more? Well, 1000 bags for a 2-year operation was a goal I had to get myself to achieve in my personal 5-year goal. When I figured started ABJ and we were sitting in a COVID quarantine lifestyle bored out of my mind, I set up goals that I wanted to achieve in my Personal life, my Work life, and my family life. Goal number 2 for personal life? “Grow the business to 1000 bags donated.” I think it’s safe to say we are well ahead of this goal and probably by the time year 5 comes around we will have doubled this initial goal.
The measure of success comes from the values and accomplishments we set ourselves. Will we be the fastest beef jerky brand to grow? Probably not, we might already be behind this business, but what I can tell you is we will be the ones to make the largest impact in the military community and the local community. 1000 bags is right around the corner and this correlates to our current avenues. For the past few days, I have been documenting a #Daily30 which is a 30sec highlight reel of 24 hours. I want to be able to look back through these days and relive 30 seconds. Enough to grab my attention but not make it a full video. These 30 seconds are being published daily (on day 3 currently) over at my YouTube channel so feel free to check them out and stay engaged as we progressively move along with ABJ.
The #Daily30 will also allow me to shamelessly plug America Butchers JERKi in any way that I can do it from having products displayed in the videos to repping an ABJ shirt throughout the day. Sometimes marketing isn’t necessarily done through throwing brands right into your face but rather having subtle hints at the projects you are promoting and hopefully in time, your audience begins to see those hints and gets curious to see where they lead.
We are continuing each day to pursue new avenues and ways of making ABJ grow but there is one thing I cannot continue to do. I cannot continue to compare ABJ to other businesses and wonder why we are not growing at the rate at which they are growing. A great quote I read from Theodore Roosevelt is that “Comparison is the thief of Joy.” We cannot compare chapter 2 to other businesses chapter 15. Our timelines are moving at remarkably different rates and the only thing you can continue to do regardless of your business is focus on the things that resonate well with your audience and try and maximize the things that seem to interest you as you continue to take a step each day for your business. At the end of the day, creating a business is creating something brand new, and that ultimately leads to success and hiccups. Someones the best road is the road less traveled. It is alright to learn from others and see tips and tricks that helped them be successful but it is also important to realize YOU are YOU and not them.
As I leave you all for this week's closing, just remember this passage because I too often forget about this and zone myself out when the things I try and work towards end up not showing the same return I had hoped for. Thomas Edison didn’t believe in failure stating “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps. “Great success is built on failure, frustration, and even catastrophe.” So until next week, thank you all. Goodbye.