(Part 1) Business owners face unprecedented challenges in 2022. Join us as we welcome Greg Fischer, co-founder of the red hot Burn Pit BBQ, as we discuss best practices for scaling your business.
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Read Greg's article Why I Left My Corporate Job to Focus on BBQ:
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Intro & Outro Themes:
Barry Dallas - I’m Gone (https://uppbeat.io/t/barry-dallas/im-gone)
Noise Cake - Light It Up (https://uppbeat.io/t/noise-cake/light-it-up)
Today on Wisconsin veterans forward. Hey , it is restaurant and retail month restaurant and retail month. Very exciting month. We love talking about food. We love talking about our, our veteran business owners who have , uh , products that they're distributing either locally or online. It's an exciting month and we're, we're kicking off restaurant and retail month with , uh , a , a , a guest favorite , uh , a favorite guest of ours , uh , from last year. It's a , it's a , it's a return guest , uh , who has had just a heck of a year, like a crazy good year, scaling a business , uh, against all odds, really in the , in the face of a lot of economic uncertainty. And , uh , a lot of just like uncertainty across the board, socially, politically, economically, everything is just uncertain. And , uh, this guy you'll recognize him. Uh, you'll recognize him as the guy who left his corporate career to follow his dream of , uh, launching this business. Um, can you guess who it is? You can guess who it is throwing in the comments. Uh, but, but he followed his dreams and launched this business that started from him like he was deployed and he made a grill out of an ammo canister, maybe that gave it away. Uh , and then that down the road turned into a dream of him, you know, having his own company and, and distributing products that were meaningful to him under the brand that was meaningful to him and against all odds during this period of turmoil and uncertainty, like has just been knocking out of the park. This business is red hot. So for anybody that's watching here, not only is it an exceptionally interesting story, but we're gonna talk about, we're gonna get into the nitty and gritty about how he grew and scaled his business and had success. Uh, had marketing success, had distribution success in the face of all of these challenges. And it's not just like a , you know, an , an economic challenge. You have supply chain issues across the board. He's trying to distribute products. I mean, I can't wait to hear about how he faced those head on , because all of you out there who have entre entrepreneurial ambitions or own your own bus or whatever, these are hurdles that you're gonna face. And this is a guy who, who , who met 'em head on and then just like karate, chopped them into pieces and is just continuing to blast on through it. So if you haven't guessed yet, it's Greg Fisher , co-founder of burn pit barbecue . The , these products they're staple at our house, the , the , of Q sauces, the rubs, the seasoning they're staple at my house. My kids ask for them, for those products, you're making chicken, make sure to use burn pit, that sort of stuff. It's, it's great stuff. I can't, I can't , uh , recommend it enough. I mean, it really is fantastic. And so very excited to talk to Greg, learn about what he's been doing and how he's been having so much success over the last year. We're gonna get into it right after this brief bumper. You are listening to Wisconsin veterans forward. Wisconsin's premier audio resource for veterans, military families, veteran owned and veteran-friendly businesses, Wisconsin veterans forward is brought to you by the Wisconsin veterans chamber of email@example.com , Greg, my friend, how are you?Speaker 2:
I'm doing well, Adam, how are you doing buddy?Speaker 1:
I am doing all right , man. Uh , it it's , you are , you are one of the few people who we have asked back on the show. Uh that's cause the first , uh , it iteration was such a hit and such a success. People just want, they , they really resonated with your, with your story about your transition from corporate life, you to what you're doing now, what do you think it is that is so intoxicating about, about your brand and your story? Cuz people just, they can't get enough of it.Speaker 2:
Um , wow. That's uh , I don't know . Sorry . It's probably, yeah , it's uh , it's a lot of , uh , hard to beSpeaker 1:
Hard to respond to that question with humility.Speaker 2:
No ,Speaker 1:
Just let it out. We're all friends here.Speaker 2:
No, you know , I , I'm truly honored to be back and to have been asked back to kinda giving updates and share our journey where we're at right now, you know, it's been, you know , 18 months since that decision to quit my job and go into this thing full time and we continue to , to build and grow. And that's only because of the people that follow and support us. Um, so no, I'm , I'm honored to be back. And, you know, I just hope that , uh, you know, maybe some of the stuff that I can share today maybe will inspire somebody or, you know, maybe some tips that I give, you know, as we have this conversation will help somebody in their business, but I still got a long ways to go. So , um, you know, I appreciate just as support and to , to be asked, be back onSpeaker 1:
Absolutely man , and you know, for anybody that's interested in, in Greg's background story, the last time he was on the show, we talked extensively about that and he wrote a lovely article, which we have republished on , uh , our firstname.lastname@example.org . Uh , if you go there that the most recent blog article is our repu of that, where he talks about his journey, like why he left corporate America to become, you know, the co-founder of burn pit. So we won't go too deep in depth. If you wanna learn more, I'm gonna put the link in the show notes to that and the link in the comments here in a minute. So if you wanna learn about his journey, what we're really hoping to do today, and Greg and I were talking about this , uh, before we launched here , uh, is to talk about just this last year, since we last spoke , uh, and, and how, how burn pit is ex exploding and expanding and facing this month to month to month growth. Um, and why people continue to keep coming back and buying this product. So , uh, obviously if I were to say, you know, what , can you pinpoint one of your challenges over the last year? It probably would be hard to do, but, but what do you think one of the biggest obstacles has been for you to over overcome over the last year? And have you, have you yet overcome it? Are you still working on it? Yeah.Speaker 2:
Yeah. That's a great question. And there's so many challenges that , uh , you know, we've faced over the past 12 months. Um, the biggest one that we, you continue to, to , um , not struggle with, but continue to try and overcome is , uh , just that brand awareness. We are, you know, still a brand , a brand new brand. Um, there's a lot of competition in the barbecue sauce and spice and rub , um, categories, you know, across, you know, the board , um , locally and across the , the country , um, very low barrier to entry. So we're seeing probably, you know, a dozen new competitors pop up every month. Um, so that's been a challenge for us is to continue to get the word out for who we are , um , what we do and what we provide. And , uh, that's what we , that's our focus , um, going into year two here.Speaker 1:
Well, how do you achieve growth then? And let me encourage anybody while I'm thinking about it. If you have questions, whether you're watching on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Twitter, doesn't matter, throw it out in the comment section, I'll make sure to throw them greats sway , and we will answer your questions live. If you have any, sometimes we have zero questions, sometimes we have 50, so, you know, just all 'em out there, we'll, we'll get 'em all in. But how, how do you, how do you focus on scaling or how do you scale in the face of so much market saturation? Cuz you mentioned there's 12 new competitors every week, there's a low barrier to entry. How do you, how do you kind of nudge your way forward and stay above the fog?Speaker 2:
Yeah, we , um, so when we first started this, we, we set a course where we were very specific on where we wanted our products to be seen. Uh , the type of people that use our products and uh, having that in place really helped us focus on where do we, what do we put in our daily actions? You know, what are we doing each day to move our, our mission and our , our business forward. Um, so those things really helped and you know, just for us, we want to dominate this state of Wisconsin. You know, we don't want to get too big, too fast. We know there's gonna be some growing pains going forward , um, year two and beyond. So , um , we really wanna , you know, focus on our , our , our own backyard, Wisconsin before we really focus on , um, the , the nation, you know, we do, we do have some retail partners across the country, but , uh , our primary focus has been here in our own backyard in Wisconsin and we continue to do that , um , each day.Speaker 1:
Well, and you've also started to distribute new new in this last year, since we last spoke. If I'm not mistaken, you're distributing. Now you have an Amazon distribution deal now, correct?Speaker 2:
Yeah. Yeah. So that's, that's one of the partners. Um, strategically we knew we needed to continue to reach new audiences. Um, you know, Amazon is the largest player in the world as far as online distribution. So we've been doing that and we've had some good success, you know, our first three years we , or the first three months we started in , uh , October of 2021 and we quickly became the number one new selling rub , uh , on Amazon. And, and we continued to, yeah, yeah, it was , uh , quite ex , uh , exciting for us, you know, within the first few weeks of launching our products that we were in the top 10 and we had a number of products in the top 10 in the barbecue Robin seasoning category. Um , and again, that goes back to the support and the , and uh, just awesome following that we have and we've, we've built over the first year , um , of people that support us, like our products and, and share our products. So again, we couldn't do this without those peopleSpeaker 1:
Right on. So, so the Amazon thing was it, was it , uh, complicated getting your products into that pipeline? Was it easy? Uh , and then once it launched, was it just a boom and then it fizzled, or have you had a steady that , like what have you learned about that Amazon process for people who might wanna get their products in that pipeline?Speaker 2:
Yeah, so it's, it's a , it's a massive owner undertaking. So we , um , we hired some strategic partners to help us with that, that were experts in Amazon , um, fulfill fulfillment. So we have, we have weekly meetings with those and they help us , uh , get our brand up on Amazon. And unfortunately, you know, Amazon's a pay to play, so right . You know, running, you know, running sponsored ads , uh , to our storefront on Amazon, to our product on Amazon. Um, it started off real fast, real quick, and then it continued to build off of that. So we actually had, again, month, yeah. Month after month growth , um, until, you know, we hit January and February, so we had a big , uh, a big spike going into the holiday season. And then we had a little bit of fall off coming into the new year. Um, and I , I think that was to be expected and, you know, we're, we're in this for the long haul, so we know that , um, we're gonna have those peaks in those valleys and just to continue to state , of course , um, not only with our business, but then also with our online distribution on Amazon.Speaker 1:
So is that your full product line? Are you also , uh, or is it just the barbecue , uh , or just the rubs rather, or is the bar sauce also available? What about the apparel? I still have my burn pit beanie cap that I wear all the time almost every day .Speaker 2:
Yeah. So we , we , um , again, we're very strategic in , and we're very thoughtful with how we launch our products, you know, not only on our own website, but also when we , when we partner with other websites like Amazon. So we started off with just our rubs and seasonings. Um , and then we, we we're , we're gonna test our hot sauce. So our garlic ERO hot sauce is out there right now. Nice. Um , before, before we go full into the sauce game, so to speak. And so very much how we launched our products on our own website. We are very strategic in, you know, doing a few products first to see how it goes, learn the process, learn the procedure, and then continue to add products after that. So , um , that's been a challenge, you know, we've , uh , had to grow and we've had to learn and adapt with how Amazon does business. Um, and , uh, we continue to learn that waySpeaker 1:
Now is that so, so looking back on it, are you glad that you added the Amazon aspect that arena to your business? Has there been like a no doubt or ROI on it? Has it been pretty steady? Do you see there being benefit later? Or are you like, Mmm , maybe if I could do it again, I wouldn't do it.Speaker 2:
No. I think for us it was the right decision at the time. Um , and we, you know , we're , you know, we , again, we have a long term vision, you know, we , we see what our competitors are doing on that platform on a month to month basis. And we know we have a, that we can, can match and beat what they have. So , uh , we know we, weren't gonna get there overnight, just like our business on our online website. It's not gonna happen overnight. So this is a long term strategic play for us is to continue to build our Amazon brand , um , and continue to add products as we go along. But , um, you know , there's been some bumps in the road just with any , any time you're adding , uh , another platform and just your distribution system. Um, but no, I'm glad we did it. And , uh, you know, as far as the , the question on ROI, no, I'd say , um , because we do, there was quite a , a lot , a large expense to start up , you know, we're still underwater there. Um , but we do see growth and we see the potential for , um, larger growth in the future. Especially at the end of this year,Speaker 1:
What were some of the bumps in the road getting, getting to a , a , a larger online, a national distribution platform like Amazon. Like if you could go back in time and be like, dude, I be aware of blank. Yeah . What would you, what would you tell yourself? It's a good question. We're gonna find out what Greg has to say about that one in the very next episode, Wisconsin veterans forward , it's sitting there waiting for you . Hop on over. We'll meet you over there. Thank you for listening to Wisconsin veterans forward brought to you by the Wisconsin veterans chamber of commerce. Please visit email@example.com . Don't forget to subscribe to this podcast, leave a rating and review in whatever platform you're listening through.