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Growing a business is an ultramarathon, not a 5k

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The time it takes to grow a business is more like an ultramarathon than a 5k. The startup up world is full of 5k racers that want a fast ramp up,  and quick exit. The reality of it is, these startups rarely grow a profitable business. Rather than focus on running 5k you should run an ultramarathon. Ultras as trail runners call them, are races with 26-48 hour cut offs and range from 25-100+ miles. The time it takes you to finish one of these races is more in line with what it takes to build and run a successful business that generates a profit year over year.
It’s easy to get impatient though when the rest of the startup world is scrambling around looking for investors. It’s easy to fall prey to that. I’ve done it myself. I’m not opposed to investors, and in fact we are looking for investors now, but investors will not cure or solve your problems.

Your primary focus should always be profit! Run your startup in a manner that if investor money went away you could still stay in business.

Just like running an ultramarathon where slow steady patience is key. The same is true for running and growing a business. Bearded Brothers has now been in business for five years, and quite honestly we haven’t achieved the growth that I thought we would by now, but we are in it for the long haul. This isn’t a flip and sell business. We are an Evergreen company, and will be here for years to come.

Food Launcher Coming in March 2015

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It’s a new year, which means new goals, new projects, and new adventures. I feel 2015 is going to shape up to be an awesome year for me. I have decided to take on a big personal project, a side business if you will. The project is going to be called Food Launcher. Food Launcher is going to be a website/blog dedicated to helping startup food businesses get their project off the ground.

I haven’t decided for certain what all the site will have, but rest assured the site will be full of useful content for aspiring food entrepreneurs, such as blog posts, interviews, podcasts, and even a valuable ebook. This project is starting out of my own desire to help other aspiring food businesses launch and get their product to market. I remember vividly still all the frustrations and struggles I faced when starting Bearded Brothers. My goal is that Food Launcher will make it MUCH easier for new food businesses to launch.

So with that said, please sign up for my email list and you will be the first to know when Food Launcher goes live!

Keep first things first

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When pursuing any great endeavor, whether it’s starting a business, or volunteering at a local non-profit, you must remember to keep first thing first.

The first things I’m referring to are not responsibilities related to your work. First things are your family, your friends, your health, and overall sense of well being.

An absent father, mother, husband, wife, is neglecting their primary and most important duties joys in life. I can tell you from experience working 50-60 hours a week on a regular basis is NOT necessary to start a business. Sure, there is a time and a place, but as the norm; well, that should never be the norm for anybody.

Your personal health, family, and even hobbies are ultimately more important than any business you might start or job you might take with a company. If you keep first things first, everything else will just fall into place (see Parkinson’s Law).

Delegate using the 80% rule

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Delegating is one of the hardest things to do as an entrepreneur. But in reality letting go is what we find so hard. It’s not that we don’t want to delegate, it’s that we fear somebody else won’t and can’t do as good of a job as we can. I’m guilty of this myself. In the early stages of starting Bearded Brothers I had a hard time delegating and transferring over responsibilities to my team. I feared that nobody was going to do as good of job as I was going to do, there were even responsibilities that I actually enjoyed doing, but just didn’t want to let go of, even though they were things another person could easily do.

When I was struggling to start delegating responsibilities I was even aware of the 80% rule. The rule states if you can find and train somebody to do the job at least 80% as well as you can then it’s time to delegate. Even though I knew that I didn’t want to believe it was true.

But hindsight is 20/20. Now that Bearded Brothers is growing and thriving I have delegated lots of responsibilities, and it’s one of the smartest things I have ever done as a startup entrepreneur. Learning to delegate has freed up valuable time so I am able to focus on growing and expanding the business. I still do plenty of day-to-day operations type stuff, but even a lot of that I’m starting to pass on to other team members.

It can be extremely difficult to let go of duties in your business that you value and deem as important, but the reality of it is you can’t grow your business on your own. Delegating is 100% necessary for growth, and is the best thing you will ever do as a business owner. I promise, you will see immediate results as soon as you transfer responsibility, especially on time consuming responsibilities.

You don’t have to be an expert to start a business

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You don’t have to be an expert in a given industry to start a business. When Chris and I started Bearded Brothers, A Wholesome Snackfood Company, neither one of us had any experience in the food manufacturing industry. Heck, the closest job in food either of us had was the one I had working behind a sea food counter in High School at Albertsons: which ironically became our first commercial kitchen. We worked out of a re-purposed Albertson’s building and our kitchen space was the old butcher block/sea food counter.

Anyway, back to my point. Lack of experience did not stop us from pursuing bringing our organic, raw, vegan, gluten & soy free energy bars to market. We believed we had a superior product that people wanted, and we busted our butts to figure out all the laws and regulations in order to get our business off the ground. We literally started knowing nothing about this!

We learned as we grew. Four years later, we are still learning, and our business is still growing and thriving. Just because you feel you can’t do something because you lack the experience doesn’t mean it can’t happen. You just have to make it happen.

We azig_ziglar_help_enough (1)lso relied on the generosity of others. We called other established business in the food industry and asked them questions. There really wasn’t anybody that I can remember that turned down spending a few minutes with us to ask some questions to help get our business off the ground. We are now returning the favor offering other small business the same advice we were given.

I love the Zig Zgilar quote, “You can have everything you want I life if you will just help enough people get what they want.” It is now a motto I put into practice because others did the same for me.