Welcome to our weekly update of the "Founder's Log" a blog dedicated to the progression of American Butchers JERKi, highlighting the things we've accomplished thus far in the past week, paths we are currently working towards right now, and unchartered paths we hope to accomplish in the upcoming week! Starting a business can be a tough decision so I've added this so you can stay up to date with things I've learned along the way! Have a question, don't hesitate to leave a comment below!
A look into the past week
The wait has finally come to an end! American Butchers JERKi officially launched on Saturday 16 May 2020. We chose this day for a number of reasons but most importantly Saturday was Armed Forces Day. A day dedicated to all of our military members currently serving the United States, we found no better day to launch lining up perfectly. A few days before the official launch, I decided to open up the store a little early to see the mechanics behind launching for first store. We call this a "Soft opening." It allowed me to spend some time figuring out aspects of my store that could only be accessed while the store was live. If I had to recommend doing a hard launch vs soft launch, I would highly recommend the second. Mainly for the benefit of understanding the behind the scenes before you decide to tell everyone the official release and ensure everything is going great.
Okay so part 2. of the past week, Launch was incredible. As it stands right now with writing this blog, we are officially SOLD OUT of two flavors (American Classic & Sweet/Spicy) and we are very close to selling out of a third. The contribution towards success was incredible. I don't want to tell you that the first few days were slow. As we decided to soft open the store, the first three days before our official launch were dry. I would find myself constantly checking the store analytics, seeing if anyone visited the store or checked out any product and NOTHING. It was very depressing, i knew that no one had heard about my store and that was our own fault. That being said, come official launch i knew that we needed to do something. After reading countless articles about making your first sale on Shopify, the main takeaway was to pitch your idea to your inner circle, your close friends and family. We decided to campaign on my own personal Facebook page to gain publicity and attention. This was a great idea because of our mission as a business and the action of others to donate. We provided a day sale of 20% off the store to gain some initial attraction and we explained the mission of donating a bag overseas with each 2 purchases of beef jerky. A great strategy and outstanding opportunity to share our mission.
Continuing into the past week, we have some recommendations for Instagram very quick before we move on to the other sections. After everything we have tried to grasp in the last 4 weeks of writing in this Founder's Log has been the inability to gain social following. We started with 35 followers and i remember that being quite the struggle. This past week I decided I wanted to see how marketing and ads worked through Instagram and decided to run a campaign for $5/daily for a total of a week. $35 bucks didn't seem like a lot at the time so we ran with it. As it stands today, we have a total of 102 instagram followers and the one focused post has a combined like count of over 125. That's incredible for the $35 I spent, especially when we still have 3 days left in the campaign. I know I talked about the importance of not relying on social media and focusing on the likes but to see your account surpass 100 followers is a pretty good feeling.
With the benefits of selling orders comes the increase in time fulfilling orders! As it stands right now, we are averaging about 2 sales a day which i would say is pretty consistent given we've been open for a little less than a week. I've learned the ins and outs when it comes to shipping and packaging so I will probably have to focus a specific blog entry to order fulfillment and understanding shipping. I also spent the majority of this morning trying to figure out why sales tax wasn't being charged on all orders. *Insert mind blowing knowledge* Not sure if you've ever heard of a tax nexus before but if you haven't, this guy is pretty dang interesting. So think of it like normal sales tax on a product (you purchase a product and there is ALWAYS tax) well the good thing about sales tax nexus is that it's based out of the state you are located in. Without boring you to death providing information regarding nexus, check the link out above for the full in-depth definition but in short. Tax nexus allows us to eliminate sales tax from out of state orders (basically all orders since we are E-commerce) until we have reached a threshold of sales in that specific state. So if you are every creating a tax breakout for your business and wondering why certain states aren't charging taxes, well it's because you haven't made enough in that state and thus can void yourself for the time being.
As our orders continue to be fulfilled, I have ensured that our smoke house is running constantly and our marinades are in full blending mode. Looking at the results, we are almost sold out of everything which is incredible and i am glad we started when we did. We can expect hopefully by Saturday to have more inventory and restocked ready to rock! Speaking of fulfillment, we shipped 25 bags of "Taste of Home" to a unit stationed overseas. I want to talk about this in a blog dedicated to this entire process so be on the prowl for that soon! Onto the future!
Cheers to the Future
As highlighted in the Today feature, we are still waiting on product. We should have all inventory back to 100% by this time next week. We have also increased our production as the demand increases so that we don't have another sellout similar to this one (always a good thing).
In regards to future outreach and social awareness, i've been reading a wide variety of marketing videos trying to figure out the best strategy to assist the most amount of soldiers overseas. I've thought about social influencers, paid ads, finding others to market our own business but I think when it comes right down to it - We can be our own social media influencer. I will socially influence this business by writing our own blogs, publishing our own stories, and creating our own content! In return, I hope that this will gain social attraction and publicity. The #1 thing i've read is to provide the customer (aka you) the insides and outs of the business operation and understanding of who we are and what we are doing. This provides satisfied customers and knowledgable customers to increase awareness and support. All great things!
As we becoming our own social media influencer, that requires a little more work on my end to highlight and engage in write-ups. I am doing my best to provide you a consistent upload when it comes to these Founder's Log insights which as it stands will be published every Tuesday. The goal is to keep consistency for you, the reader. I also will be highlighting other aspects of the blog such as the donation process, military highlights, and knowledgable information business operations. Just have to try and figure out categories to put these all in.
This has been one of the longer blogs to date so I do appreciate if you have read this far into the log. As I continue to increase blog production, I want to incorporate a flip to the coin giving those who are not as much of a fan a chance to listen in on a podcast variant of the behind-the-scenes. It will cover almost everything in the written blogs but I am 100% that I will be adding extra stories and let the words flow in our Founder's Log Podcast. Until next week everyone!
The Founder's Log is designed to be a behind the scenes of American Butchers JERKi. With that, I encourage you to ask any questions you might have regarding our product or about the business! Hope to catch you next week, Same time?