Both good questions. The answer is complicated. I’ll start with the “why bother” question first.
Not long after starting my business, I began a friendship with two other people who were just starting down the same path. I offered them my help. I never stopped to wonder why.
Starting and running a business like this is a lonely struggle. Maybe I just wanted to have a couple of friends facing the same challenges. But in each other, we found camaraderie, and advantage in pooling our knowledge through shared experience.
Since then, I’ve developed friendships with many other microbrand owners. We share knowledge, and root for each other’s success. I can’t speak for the others, but I feel a small sense of pride seeing someone newer in the business applying some bit of advice I gave them, avoiding some mistake I made.
Over my first six years in business, I’ve been approached at least two dozen times by someone seeking my advice on some matter related to starting or running a microbrand.
But there’s so much more to this than I could ever explain in a single email, or on a single phone call. And yet, I didn’t have the time available to do more than that.
At the same time, it’s becoming increasingly clear to me, if not many others, that microbrands are part of a larger trend of change within the industry. As a group, we need to up our game, if we want to continue growing in importance.
I believe that improving how we all do business will lead to positive changes in the industry, benefiting both the brands and customers alike.
Why would my competitors want my help?
I like to think that someone who’s in pre-launch or still new in business would see the value of having direct access to someone who’s been there, done that.
But even for the more experienced microbrand owners, those who may not want to admit they need help, it’s not just my help they should want, it’s the help from the other people involved in this workshop.
My business grew 40% from year one to year two. Then it was 30%. Then it was 20%. Then it was 10%, and stayed there, at 10% year-over-year growth, for three years.
I had to admit that I didn’t know how to grow my business anymore. And yet, I was still working incredibly long hours, always putting out fires, and worst of all, not making enough money. I needed expert help, and I was ready to admit it.
I was introduced to John Tooher, of Headroom, and we spent two full days doing a deep dive into my business, to see what was working, what wasn’t, and forming a plan to get to where I wanted to go with it. From there, I made a lot of big changes.
I brought in Josh Irons from River Avenue Digital to run marketing and promotion, which was a huge benefit to my business. Josh radically changed our approach to marketing, and the impact has been enormous.
We expanded and extended our retail partnerships with folks like John Keil, of Watch Gauge. Like me, John saw the future for microbrands in this industry, and we’ve had great success working together. He’s been able to apply what he’s learned to working with other microbrands, and I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned to work with other retail partners.
Since making those changes, our production and unit sales volume grew by 50% last year, and we’re working to grow it by 100% this year. I’m working fewer hours, putting out fewer fires, and paying myself more.
I think there’s a benefit to all micros in helping micros be better. No matter how good you think you are, or how good you think your business is, there’s room for improvement, and this workshop can help you improve.
We’re so confident in the value, we’re offering participants an unconditional money-back satisfaction guarantee.