What are some of the most common mistakes brands make in distribution, marketing, and manufacturing and how can you avoid them while also growing your business?
Jordan Buckner, Founder of Foodbevy, joins us in the next episode of The Physical Product Movement Podcast and shares some of his painful and costly mistakes in the CPG business.
Jordan started Foodbevy, an online platform and community that connects emerging food and beverage founders with the resources and partners to grow and scale their businesses.
He details why people coming into the food industry must understand how to build a company and get the resources to start building from scratch. Also, Jordan shares why you need to be much more selective in finding the right growth partners, how to work with retailers, and how to manage the greatest challenges in the food industry.
This has been a really insightful interview, and hopefully, you will find it helpful for your business.
Listen on Apple Podcasts here or Spotify here.
Ken: Welcome to the Physical Product Movement, a podcast by Fiddle, we share stories of the world’s most ambitious and exciting physical product brands to help you capitalize on the monumental change in how, why and where consumers buy. I’m your host, Ken Ojuka.
Ken: Today, I had the opportunity to talk to Jordan Buckner, founder of Foodbevy, a community dedicated to helping CPG brands launch and grow their businesses. They provide a directory, some great education, special promotions, and deals to help brands connect, learn, and scale. In this interview, Jordan and I focus on the common mistakes brands make in the areas of distribution, marketing, and manufacturing.
Ken: Jordan shared a painful and costly mistake he made that made it tough for him to move from a commercial kitchen to a co-packer once he was ready, and how you can avoid making that same mistake. He also shares tips on how to speak to get a buyer’s attention by speaking their language and focusing on their goals, and their metrics instead of your own goals, and your own product.
Ken: Jordan is a fountain of knowledge based on his experience and the combined experiences of his entire Foodbevy community. You won’t want to miss this episode. Enjoy!
Ken: Alright. Hey Jordan. Hi. Welcome to the podcast. Thanks for jumping on with me.
Jordan: Thanks so much, Ken!
Ken: Yeah. Hey let’s kick right into it. I know, sort of in the pre show, me and you were chatting and we’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s not waste any time. Do you have a quote in mind that you could share with the audience?
Jordan: Definitely. It’s a little thing that stuck with me for years now. But I had a previous boss, her name’s Michelle Hayward, and she had this quote that said, “Tearing up the game and turn down the pain.”
Jordan: And what that really means is right. Like work with the people, willing to work with you in your business and fire the people who cause headaches and just make life.
Ken: I really liked that. And that could even include, not only employees or co-workers or whatever, but it could also be customers, right? Like sometimes you get stuck with some pretty painful customers.
Jordan: Definitely. There’s a lot of customers who ask for a lot, push for a lot and just end up making your life so much harder. And so definitely even people who are paying you sometimes you better letting go with that relationship if it’s toxic.
Ken: Right. Oh that’s pretty interesting. I mean, do you have an example of a way that you’ve applied that in your life?
Jordan: Yeah, definitely.
Ken: Maybe you don’t share the names or whatever.
Jordan: Well, yeah I’ll protect some of them, but with my CPG company TeaSquares. So we ran, we were selling what the national distributor and there’s a national retailer who was our kind of key account for that and when we were selling to them, they were buying a ton of product. We are shipping. And then after a few months we try getting a touch, working with their marketing team to help the product move off the shelf and there are crickets coming from that. And what we realized as we started getting charged bats from product expiring, because it wasn’t selling through. They’re essentially over ordering.
Jordan: So I tried reaching out through the distributor through the retailer to say, Hey, one stop doesn’t order as much product. Two, let us come in to help merchandise it. Help market it out to your customers and couldn’t get in touch with like a single person to do that. And after looking at the numbers of turnout, 30% of all the products that we sold were returned to us.
Jordan: And not only that, but I had to refund them the original costs for them just to dispose of the expired product. And after that relationship or after that happened, we essentially told them we would not sell you any more products anymore and cut-off that deal in that relationship.
Ken: Well, and of course, you know, as a young you know, scrappy company, you know, you’re fighting for every bit of revenue you can. And so I’m sure that decision was pretty difficult.
Jordan: It was, and, you know, one thing that I learned as well as you’re growing, it’s easy not to have those systems in place to track, you know, every chart back and deduction and see but you know, you really have to stay on top of those numbers so that you can see the reality of where things are and either make the decision to continue or make changes.
Ken: Awesome. Yeah, well, I think we could keep going down, that train of thought. I do want to just go back a little bit, tell people who you are, give us a little bit about your background, your experience, and then, hopefully that leads into your company at Foodbevy. And you can just tell us a little bit about what that is?
Jordan: Yeah, excellent. I’ll start a little bit and work my mate back in terms of how we got here. So, I currently run foodbevy.com, which is an online platform and community to connect emerging food and beverage founders with the resources and partners they need to really grow and scale their businesses. And every day I talk with founders, understand what obstacles they’re facing and help them overcome that. That’s my dream job. I got here because I’ve been in the food industry for over a decade now. I run my own brand, TeaSquares we’re just a line of energy bars made with organic tea.
Jordan: We manufacture our own product. We launched at Whole Foods, and we grew the business. We were selling on Amazon, and learned a lot in terms of what works in that business and what didn’t. Had some really great successes. We pivoted to kind of sell into food service and corporate office channels.
Jordan: Ultimately with the pandemic, made the decision to shut down that business, but learned a ton in terms of what to do and what not to do from running a business. And a lot of people always ask me how I became an entrepreneur in the first place and actually tell them it’s genetic because both of my parents were entrepreneurs. A lot of my, like my grandparents were entrepreneurs, so it’s something that’s just always run.
Ken: Okay. Cool. Cool. So, where are you from? Where’s your family from where’d you grow up?
Jordan: Yeah, I grew up in Chicago in the city there. And had a ton of really great experiences there. Kind of watching both of my parents, growing their businesses, growing up, you know, neither of my parents really had what you call a stable office job necessarily. And so that’s what I saw of always kind of seeing my parents solve problems and issues every day, which is what kind of led me down this path.
Ken: Okay. Cool. And then you’re currently based in Madison, Wisconsin. Is that right?
Jordan: Currently based in Madison, Wisconsin.
Ken: Okay. Awesome. Well, yeah, let’s dive into Foodbevy just a little bit more. So, if you could explain to us again, you know, what it is, and then who was sort of your ideal client, like who do you work for?
Jordan: Yeah. So, Foodbevy, as I mentioned, is a community that really supports founders as they’re getting started and growing through the initial stages. And, what typically happens is that founders will come to our community with an issue and say, hey, I’m looking to grow my retail business, or I’m looking to find a contract manufacturer, or I’m looking to find investors and we have solutions to help solve all of those. So for instance, we have a directory of over 400 retail and grocery buyers across the US everywhere from Whole Foods to Walmart, and Costco. And so, by becoming a member of our community they’re able to get access to all that contact information. So they’re not like trying to stop people on LinkedIn or Google them.
Jordan: And then for others as well, when they need help with say growing Facebook ads or marketing. We have resources that teach them how to do it themselves or we have expert partners that we curate along the way and to say, hey, here’s a great agency that’s in your price range that has been successful with other brands that we’ve worked with. And so in that way, I act as a kind of matchmaker essentially to connect founders with the partners and with the resources they need to help to overcome those obstacles.
Ken: Okay. Awesome. And do you have any examples of different customers that you’ve worked with or types of brands? If you don’t feel okay sharing their name, what type of products, what type of markets do you feel like you guys are really good fit for.
Jordan: Yeah. So most of the founders who come in are like, have a product in market. I kind of say of course, is between like 200K in revenue and 8 million in annual revenue and typically with a one to 5% founder team. And we work with founders across the board for all different things. So for instance, we partnered with Instacart when they were promoting black-owned businesses and providing free advertising credits and we’re able to get I think 10 to 15 of our members.
Jordan: I think something like $20,000 in free advertising credits through Instacart, which they were then able to leverage to grow their business, and we’re actually working with them to promote women-owned businesses now, too. So there’s going to be dozens more that we’re able to give those credits to. So opportunities like that,
Jordan: We’ve also worked with groups to promote say like pitch competitions. And one of our members, Ashley from B.T.R. Bar and B.T.R. Nation now. It was able to find out about this pitch event, through our resources, apply, get accepted, and actually ultimately won that competition and got grant funds for our business. And so it’s really servicing opportunities and resources for brands to either make more money or reduce the cost.
Ken: Okay. Yeah, that’s great. So I wanted to double click on something that you mentioned earlier, just in that, just how you help people with things like distribution or finding a good co-packer or manufacturing partner. And even some of the marketing wanted to double click on that in terms of, could we just talk about some of the, maybe some of the most common mistakes that you see. In any or other area of kind of growing a CPG brand. What are the most common things that you see that maybe your members are running into?
Jordan: As you know, there’s so many, but what I found over the years is it really dials into two things. The first is a lot of people come into the food industry from outside the industry, meaning they maybe had a career in accounting or finance, or architecture, like something completely unrelated to food.
Jordan: And they have a product that has this. Was like really great for themselves and they want to commercialize it and they have no idea what they’re doing, getting into it, and making a lot of mistakes on the way. And then the second biggest thing is, some people are founders who don’t begin with the end in mind.
Jordan: And what I mean by that is there’s lots of paths that you can take to grow your business in this industry, but there’s a lot of pitfalls and watch-outs along the way. And if you don’t understand how certain parts of the industry work. You can make a lot of those mistakes. As an example, a lot of people think that if you’re selling with a retailer, like Whole Foods, that you’re instantly going to be doing really well and become a millionaire.
Jordan: And I love Whole Foods and they’re like a really great partner. One thing that I found is that, you know, for each store that we were selling in for Whole Foods, we’re probably making about a thousand dollars in sales per month, which, you know, a ton of money actually is even a little bit less than that, but like, it’s not a ton of money and you need to be in the whole entire region or nationwide with a retailer in order to actually make any real money.
Jordan: And so there’s a certain level of scale that you need and volume to be even like break-even in the food industry. And if you’re going to the grocery path, it could be a couple hundred stores. If you’re doing e-commerce, you know, it’s still. Hundreds of transactions or customers or there’s every month or even up to thousands.
Jordan: And so really understanding what does it take, you know, what’s your angle of building the company and what is it going to take to get there and to build that path from the beginning, otherwise you’re going to compromise on what your vision is.
Ken: Okay. Yeah. That hopeless example is actually a great, great thing to talk about because yeah, I think a lot of founders make the mistake of thinking, okay, I got that.
Ken: You know, that first PO from Whole Foods, I’m good to go, like we’re set and. And really what it is, it’s the trials that are put in the door. And there’s a lot of things that have to go right before that actually ends up being profitable for your business, or even a good path for you.
Ken: You may discover that you actually want to go a different way, and then I think we were mentioning Whole Foods, but of course we don’t want to pick on Whole Foods that could be, you know, a great partner. No doubt.
Jordan: We just realized that was exactly that right thing. We launched in Whole Foods, we grew to, or selling in 12 stores and just the volume wasn’t quite there
Jordan: and our product was really a niche and required a lot of education. And it’s just very expensive to educate consumers in store and that’s what we ultimately found. And so he’s where as we pivoted to understanding who our customers are, and where do they want to purchase our product and where are they using it?
Jordan: And for us, that was like, while they were working, when they’re at their desks, then going back over at the office. And so we pivoted to working with corporate offices and getting our snacks in the break rooms of companies like LinkedIn, Google. And that works tremendously well for us.
Ken: Right, until this thing called the pandemic showed up to the office. Okay. Yeah. Understood. I think that’s a really good tip. Anything else, any other sort of mistakes that you see people making?
Jordan: I think a big issue with starting any business is that it requires a lot of money to be successful. And a lot of founders in our current environment take the approach of, I need to launch my company and then raise a million dollars in order for it to have any chance. And to some degree like that’s right, like it does take a lot of money, but a lot of founders jumped to raising from like Angel Investors and Venture Capital Firms off the bat without
Jordan: even kind of getting their initial product market fit figure it out. And what it can do is set your company up on a path that you might not want to go on. So I’ve been really advocating for, is that companies take a profit first model at the beginning and say, what does it take not just to get product market fit, but what does it take to develop a minimally viable company to the point where our company is
Jordan: breaking-even, or maybe a little bit profitable because while paying for the founders and all the employees, and what that helps to get you to is a point where you can take ownership of the fate of the company to decide, hey, we can either grow sustainably from here on without taking it on any equity investment, or now that we’ve proven out our product and market, we can bring on investors, but we’re not in a time crunch because we’re going to run out of money in three months.
Jordan: And we just have to take up on the first check. You can be much more selective in finding the right growth partners to help you get to that next level. And so a lot of founders realized they hit this money crunch and just took on money from investors and then got into relationships and situations that they regretted.
Ken: Right, and I’m pretty passionate about founders finding ways to, how do you put this to just be more scrappy when they’re looking at getting that initial product into market. And I think that, there’s tons of examples of these. And in fact, I think that there are more resources today,
Ken: if you want to start a CPG. Then there ever has been. So there’s lots of different ways. And in order to do this, do you have any examples or particular, favorite ways that you’ve seen founders just get that initial product manufactured or made and then start working towards that product market fit?
Jordan: Yeah. A lot of the founders, there’s kind of two, two sides, some founders work out of a commercial kitchen to start making their products and they are able to do small batches, other founders take the route where they don’t have access to that. Either the skillset or the resources to do it.
Jordan: And they’ll maybe work with a contract manufacturer to do pilot runs as two ways of getting started. I think the biggest challenge is really building your customer base. And there’s two really scrappy ways that I enjoy doing that, the first is to leverage our existing network. So, when I launched T squares, I literally went through my Gmail.
Jordan: I clicked export on everyone I’ve ever emailed in my life and used that as our initial mailing lists. And said, hey, here’s, there’s like 3,500 contacts. You know, some are friends. Some I knew closer than others, but I use that as a starting point to say, hey, you’ve had some interaction with me. Here’s a new company that I launched.
Jordan: Here’s why check it out and drop them on a landing page to buy the product. And that’s how we got our first hundred initial orders as we started out. So that’s one way for people to say like, hey, I have no customers, like, how do I do?” Get the word out about my company. Like you can do that completely for free.
Jordan: The second there’s a founder named Damian who runs a company called Effin’ Good Snacks and so, what he actually was able to do is he started building that community actually pre-launch. And so, he set up a Facebook group. He started posting about it on TikTok and on LinkedIn and on Facebook to say, hey, here’s a company that I’m building.
Jordan: Here’s a day in my life. Every single day. Here’s the challenges I’m doing. Here’s the vision that I’m trying to take on in the world. And he was able to build a following of thousands of people before he even launched. He sent samples like pre-production samples to potential customers so that they could be involved in that journey.
Jordan: And when he launched, he was able to sell like thousands of how he had built that audience before he even had the product ready. And so he did almost like a toy to a pre-order that was almost like a pre-audience building so that people were really excited to support him even before they tried the product.
Ken: Yeah, that’s interesting. Yeah. I’ve kind of heard people refer to that as sort of the documentary approach, you know, where you’re documenting and sharing the experience of actually getting the product to market. And people love coming along for that journey and hearing that story, and what’s cool about it is you can do exactly what he did, which is you can sell to that audience that you’re building.
Ken: Yeah, that’s pretty cool. Let’s just double click a little bit on the commercial kitchen side, so you mentioned some people don’t have access to that kind of thing. Talk to a gentleman who, when he was making his first product, he actually, you know, he got really scrappy. I love this story. He went and he found a, it was like a camp kitchen. You know, and so, you know, during the off months he was able to actually use this kitchen to produce this product. And he actually, he went a long way with it, you know, he was able to use it. And then even during the camp-like camp season, he was able to do it, after hours and weekends and stuff like that.
Ken: Just working with the owners of this camp kitchen. And so he was, he had access to this kitchen for like 500 bucks a month, you know, which at the time, you know, w was all he could afford you know, and I love that kind of story and even there, you know, there’s advantages of being involved in the manufacturing of it and the creation of the product early on, instead of just giving that to a co-packer just in the fact that you can like you can iterate
Ken: much faster. Right? You take that feedback that you’re getting from your customers and then immediately in your next batch, right. You’re applying those learnings instead of having to wait a lot for a co-packer to be able to make it for you. Do you have any tips around stuff like that?
Jordan: Yeah. I know a lot of times founders have gotten started and they’re like local church commissary. So a lot of churches will have, you know, licensed kitchens and whether you’re like a member there or not, they’re happy, usually they help out people in their community. And so that’s how a lot of the founders I know across the country have gotten started there. And there’s also new organizations like in Chicago, there’s a group called the hatchery and they have a shared kitchen that you can vent out.
Jordan: Just brand new, it was built just a couple of years ago. And then also these private kitchens that you can upgrade to. And so a lot of these areas are becoming more and more accessible to the idea of starting out and making the product yourself. You know, there’s definitely some pros and cons there that I’ve experienced personally.
Jordan: So one you’re totally right. You can iterate on products and get feedback much quicker. The watch out that I would say is to understand what product category you’re actually making. Is it cookies, is it a refrigerated beverage like what that entails. And understand and visit manufacturing facilities to see how it is manufactured at scale so that you can align your process with a manufacturing process for when you grow.
Jordan: I made that mistake because with TeaSquares, we ended up like designing there to give you a quick visual. They were like one inch by one inch cube. And they’re made out of these like lightened puffy ingredients. And in order to get them into the right shape and form, I actually had to go to a metal shop and have them custom fabricate a mold to make the shape.
Jordan: The metal kind of looks like an ice cream, the ice cube tray out of metal. And like that’s what made the initial moles that we were doing. We’re baking them in a convection oven. When I went to manufacturers and said, hey, we have this great product at scale up. None of them could actually make it because what it turned out is that there are three main manufacturing techniques for making energy bars.
Jordan: There’s a slab method, which essentially pushes them on a conveyor belt and flattens them. There’s an extruder, which pushes them through a tube, pushes the batter through a tube, which basically gets a lot of those like protein bars and things that you see. And then the third is what’s called rotary molder.
Jordan: And that’s, what’s able to cut a bar into a specific shape and our product requires the rotary molder, but there are very few companies in the US that actually have that equipment. And it was the most rare, most expensive. And just for instance, like if we were to get a, even if we found a manufacturer that had the basic equipment to get our shape for the mold cost, like $50,000.
Jordan: And that was just like four specific machines that would take six months. So all that said, right? Like if I had known that going into it knew the, allow me to make better decisions, say, hey, let’s change the form factor a little bit to work with one of the other more common methods, or just know that we’re going to have to fundraise and maybe make this thing ourself or buy the full piece of equipment
Jordan: adding the full piece was like $400,000 total. So that’s why I say I like the game with the end in mind. So you know what you’re getting into otherwise you’ll end up with costly mistakes like that. I think we wasted $20,000 in failed manufacturing runs from partners, trying to make it in other ways that couldn’t.
Ken: Huh. Interesting. Yeah, I think that’s great. What did you ultimately end up doing? Did you have to change the form factor anyway?
Jordan: No, we ultimately just kept making ourselves. We started off in our you know, my mom’s a chef and she had a commercial kitchen, so we were able to work out of there. So we started there, went to a manufacturer that didn’t work, came back into our facility for a little while longer, went to another manufacturer, like a multi-million dollar company.
Jordan: They. Tons of products for big name brands. They’re like, yeah, of course I’ll work. That didn’t work. It failed. And we ended up back in our facility and said, hey, we’re just going to need to invest here for the time being until we can raise enough money to maybe go to another manufacturer later. But at least at that point we knew what was required.
Ken: That’s a great tip. I love the idea of people being scrappy as they do whatever they can to get their product out. Any other tips, you know, maybe on the marketing or distribution, you know, like, let’s just say I’m brand new, I’m a brand new company.
Ken: And you know, like I take your tip and I export my list from Gmail. All my contacts. I reached out to them, put up a landing page, what are some of the other things that you’d recommend that somebody should do to get some of those initial sales going?
Jordan: Yeah, I think one of the biggest drivers I’ve found as you’re starting out, even before you have a progress, as you’re developing it is to align your product with a consumer trend or behavior.
Jordan: That’s for all. So, one of the most recent examples of that is the Keto food brand, right? So anyone who launched a keto brand in the last five years could easily do a million dollars in their first year, just because there was a growing wave of awareness. There’s tons of free press. There are a ton of early adopters who are moving into that category and it had a very high repeat rate where other categories were maybe stable and coherent.
Jordan: And so that is what I’ve seen be the number one success driver of products that grow really quickly and five years versus those that stagnate, it’s aligning your product with a growing consumer trend. Now it doesn’t have to be keto. There’s tons of others out there. But that’s been kind of a number one. It’ll make everything a whole lot easier for you moving forward when you don’t have to fight against.
Ken: Yeah. Have that wind at your back actually pushing forward. Okay. Yeah. And there’s a woman called April Dunford. And actually like a lot of her stuff, she talks about positioning, and this is actually one of the things that she talks about quite a bit, you know, positioning your product in line with some of these trends now she talks about how it’s not, you know, it’s not absolutely necessary and there are plenty of counterexamples of people.
Ken: Who’ve done it without that but it definitely helps, right. It definitely helps. And so, yeah, April Dunford, she wrote a book called positioning. It’s great on Amazon. She also gives a lot of talks, so you can check her out on YouTube just just look up her name and she talks everywhere.
Ken: Talks a lot about, yeah, a lot about software products, but I think that these things exactly you know, the same principles apply for CPG products.
Jordan: I think the other thing along with that is to position your product in relation to something else they exist on the market to make it very easy to understand. So yeah, as a consumer walking down a grocery store shelf or scrolling through Instagram and looking for things, they should be able to understand what your product is in the first two seconds. And then they should make you able to make a decision on if this product is for me or for them within the next three seconds.
Jordan: And that’s about as much time as you have either through your packaging or through your web design. One mistake that I made with TeaSquares early on as well was building too big of a moat around our products. So as I mentioned, they were energy bars, essentially, but instead of making it look like every other energy or protein bar. One, we made them into bite sized squares. Two, instead of it being in a bar, we had a multi-serve pouch with like 16 on the squares. Three, our product was called a tea-infused energy snack.
Jordan: And I can tell you. No one has ever gone into the grocery store, looking for a tea-infused energy snack, not even me. And four, we are flavors where things like citrus, green tea macha, which to me sound good. But for someone who’s never tried this product and it looks completely different from anything else that they’ve ever had.
Jordan: It’s another barrier to get them to try. I had so many people during demos who told me like, huh, that looks interesting. But then I just walked by, like I didn’t try it, cause I didn’t understand what it was, what it would taste like, what it would do for me. And they were all these barriers. And so instead of having like three or four points of differentiation from your competition, I always recommend brands like really ground their product
Jordan: in an existing category or existing behavior like protein bars and then pick one really strong differentiator of why you’re different, maybe two, but really just like one to say, hey, we are a protein bar, but do X, Y, and Z. And make your packaging, the macro ingredient lists everything else aligned with the category so that you’re pulling customers and say, hey, I would normally buy brand X, but yours is like brand X better because of this
Jordan: and I care about these new attributes. So I’m going to buy yours. If someone has to say, like, what is this? They’re not going to buy.
Ken: Yeah. No , that’s good too. All right. What about working with you know, we talked a little bit about working with retailers, like Whole Foods, what’s another tip that you could give the audience in working with or even getting into stores, or maybe a mistake that you see people make when they’re trying to get into retailers?
Jordan: Yeah, I think there’s a couple sides. I think one is to start locally, especially if you’re in a a big Metro area, like your in Chicago, or New York, or San Francisco, LA, Houston, start locally in the area that you are because one, it’s a lot easier to service those areas. And then two, you can concentrate your brand awareness there as well.
Jordan: And it’s much easier to get into a store with a local story than if you’re from across the country. It is a lot more cost-effective to service those stores as well. I would say then, as you’re pitching to retailers, a lot of founders go into it and I did this myself by pitching like your story, why you made the product, how the product is so great to eat and how it tastes delicious.
Jordan: But what retail buyers are looking for is how is this product going to hit me as the buyer? They helped me as a buyer meet my goals and objectives, which are around product velocity, SKU assortment on shelf, in-stock rates, which are completely different from what a consumer is necessarily looking for.
Jordan: And so, as a founder, you need to be able to talk the buyer’s language. You know, one mistake that I saw last time I just made two is right. They come into the store like, Hey, my product is good, so you should try it. And then you put it on your shelf. What you might not realize at first glance. But when you think about it, that seems kind of obvious.
Jordan: All the shelves in the store are already completely full. Like there aren’t empty slots, just waiting on the shore store, shopping for someone to come in, like in order for your product to get on the shelf, you may have to replace someone else. So that ultimately it means your product needs to be better than the thing that is being replaced.
Jordan: Otherwise, why would I replace? And so as a founder, you have to speak that language and say, hey, look, this competitive brand has three shelf facings, right? And like, that’s not doing much for additional sales. Let’s try my product. We outsell this competitor, you know, three-to-one wherever we’re on shelf. So give us a shot in this slot
Jordan: like this is where they put us, and then we can measure how we compare against that competitor or in this set. And then let that be the determining factor on giving us more shelf space or growing to other stores. And when you start talking in that language, buyers start to think like, oh, okay, like that makes sense. You’re making it easy for me to do my job. So I don’t have to do more work to think about where this product’s gonna fit,
Ken: Sure. Now that’s amazing advice. So Jordan, I know that you’ve got a hard stop here, so I want to start wrapping up and make sure to go through the quickfire round.
Ken: I’ve got four questions for you. Are you ready?
Jordan: Let’s do it.
Ken: Okay. What’s one tool or resource that has helped you the most in your current position?
Jordan: There’s a productivity software called Sunsama, S U N S A M A and it’s like a to-do list plus calendar builder. It’s like the number one tool that keeps me focused every day.
Jordan: And I recommend everyone.
Jordan: Okay. We’ll check it out. I’m actually in the market right now. I’ve got so many sticky notes and random things on my desk right now. I need a better system.
Jordan: So try this out. I’ve been using it. I haven’t used any other system for more than four months and this one I’ve been using for about four years.
Jordan: So it works.
Jordan: Okay. Awesome. What is one book that you could recommend to the audience?
Jordan: There’s a book called “How to build a StoryBrand” by Donald Miller. And it talks through how to tell your story of your company and your product in a way that appeals to customers so that they understand how the products are going to improve their lives. And this is really powerful information
Ken: Ok,and the book name again?
Jordan: How to build a Story Brand
Ken: Okay. Awesome. What’s one piece of advice that you would give your 21 year old self?
Jordan: Don’t try to rush through life, and everything doesn’t have to be accomplished by the time that you’re 30. I think there’s this idea that if I don’t make it to where I need to be by like 30, then like my life is going to stay, you know, like really stale after that.
Jordan: And one thing that I’ve learned is really. Opportunities will arise throughout your entire life until the very end. And so make sure to change, just take on new challenges as you grow and give yourself the grace and time to do so.
Ken: I liked that one. And then, you know, even try to enjoy it, you know, as you try to do all this stuff, it can be really fun, you know?
Ken: Who is one person in your field of work? Maybe another entrepreneur that you look up to or that you watched their stuff that you love to take to lunch?
Jordan: There’s so many of them. One that I really respect is Alli Ball, and she works out like in a very similar space from the outside. We might look like competitors, but we collaborate on a lot of things and we’re both just set on helping these emerging food and beverage charters to be successful. And she does it with such amazing transparency and grace as well, and is able to really provide impactful tips and resources for founders. We haven’t gotten the chance to actually meet in person, but we’ve known each other for years now. So one day once the pandemic dies down, then I hope we’ll be able to do so.
Ken: Yeah, Alli’s cool, we had her on the podcast a little while ago, so she’s a great one. I’m curious if maybe some of your other ones are?
Jordan: I love the team at Mid-Day Squares. There are three founders there. Jake Karls. And so like they’re doing awesome work. And I think what’s really exciting is that you feel they’re building a CPG brand, but they’re also building almost an entertainment and media company at the same time. And that’s proven really well. And building a loyal following in audience
Ken: Nice. Well, you know, Jordan, this has been a really good interview. Obviously, you know, your stuff, you talk to food entrepreneurs, people that are doing this, you know, all the time. If you had to give some, you know, let’s say some parting advice to other entrepreneurs out there what would that be? And then maybe you could conclude by telling the audience where they can get a hold of you if they wanted to reach out to you.
Jordan: Definitely. I think the biggest advice that I’ve learned is as a founder, that every day is a rollercoaster and it can seem like everyone’s, everything’s working against you. Build your entrepreneurial journey in a way that you enjoy every week. You might measure it every single day, but enjoy every week because having this destination is like, oh one day, I’m going to sell and have a hundred million. Well, it might not come. And so don’t waste the time on a dream that might not happen, that’s really rare, like your happiness on that, and just enjoy the everyday in journey leads back to the pool that had the beginning of, you know, turning up the game and turned down the pain, like work with people who you enjoy working with because that’s the ultimate measure of success.
Jordan: There’s a lot of entrepreneurs, even though I know Mike Fata who had Manitoba Harvest, right? Like he built a company over 20 years, and had a great exit. And was he doing it now? He was just like jumping back in and helping other founders, which is amazing and right. Money can be life-changing when it happens. But enjoy the journey that you’re on as you get there, because that’s going to make the best impact.
Ken: Okay. Awesome. And how can people get a hold of you?
Ken: Yeah, you can find us at foodbevy.Com or active on LinkedIn as well. And just find me at Jordan Buckner on LinkedIn.
Ken: Okay. Awesome. Thank you, Jordan. Appreciate it.
Jordan: Thanks so much, Ken.
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