Business success or failure isn't about age. To prove this, I digged & found a story of a 9-years old boy from Australia who scaled his eggs business from nothing to 9,000 dozen eggs a week. This is a story about Josh's Rainbow Eggs.
Josh Murray, a 9-years old boy, living in the Macedon Ranges area of the Victoria state (Australia), started selling eggs to his neighbours for $ 4 a dozen. It all started when Josh's mother offered Josh to take care of their 40 hens & as a reward take all profits he generated by selling eggs. Fair deal, yeah.
Imagine, a nine-year old going door-to-door to sell his eggs. Amazing. The best part? The neighbours were quite supportive. And why shouldn't they be? After all, they were meeting a passionate entrepreneur of Josh's age.
Ah, yes, the name? That was given by Josh's friend who was delighted to see a bunch of colorful Aracauna eggs. Thus, the name - Josh's Rainbow Eggs.
But, the challenge for Josh was to scale his business. For that, he needed more customers. Preferably, the retailers who could help him to reach out to more consumers.
So, every Friday, Josh used to visit local grocery stores & pitched his eggs there. The sales was picking up. As Josh says, on a good day he used to sell 30 dozens.
By now, Josh had around 100 hens.
Then, he decided to focus on local farmers markets at Lancefield, Woodend, Riddell & Kyneton. Basically, every Saturday, he used to place a stall there & pitch his eggs to his customers/retailers. He made sure he personally met his clients & explain them about the uniqueness of his eggs.
So, what was unique? - Josh's eggs were ethical & cruelty-free. Customers loved the idea when Josh's explained how he takes care of his hens. When you add a uniqueness factor to your product, marketing becomes easy. No more you need to compare your product to your competitors. Your product becomes a differentiator & creates its own segment of fans.
At farmers market, Josh was able to sell around 40 dozens of egg a day.
At 11, Josh had 800 hens & was selling to local shops & stores in the Macedon Ranges area. At 12, he had 1200 hens & started employing people to help him with taking care of daily chores like cleaning eggs, packaging, labeling. Still, Josh was responsible for the sales & marketing part. And, he never stopped meeting his customers. In fact, he made it a rountine to visit the farmers markets once a week (even when he wasn't selling there).
Josh was so maniacal about meeting his customers that he would go to the stores (that stocked his eggs) & distribute flyers & explain to his customers why his eggs are different. He would even go to an extent of cooking the eggs & distributing it as samples!
So, what else? Was Josh satisfied & laid back on the success? No. Now, his aim was to get his eggs on the shelves of some of Australia's top supermarket chains like Coles Supermarkets, LaManna Direct, etc.
By 2014, his business was growing like wildfire with most supermarket chains in Melbourne city selling his eggs.
By 2017, Josh was selling 9,000 dozens of eggs a week. Not only this 17-years teen was running a real business but also scaling it fast.
What would a normal teen do? Go to college, hang out with friends, or dream about building a business? And, look at what Josh had achieved at that age.
Lessons Learned From Josh's Rainbow Eggs Success Story:
Here're a few lessons I learned from Josh's incredible success story:
Outreach Is Important
Josh's strategy was simple. Build a differentiated product & promote the heck out of it. As already discussed, he was a master when it came to outreaching his target customers. And, let me tell you, it isn't easy to place your product on stores' shelves.
You got to call managers (or God knows who) multiple times, follow up even more number of times & then when you're lucky they might give your product a chance. Believe it or not, Josh also used to market his eggs by giving talks at schools & libraries
Personal Connection Matters
Josh, now, is the sales & marketing director of Josh's Rainbow Eggs. While he may have outsourced his routine work, he still visits stores to explain potential customers about his eggs.
Imagine a business owner himself going to talk to his customers. How many businesses do this? Most growing ones will perhaps hire a few sales person & let them handle that. Josh's success is built on the base of his personal connections. It started with his neighbours & continues with the large retail stores. Personal connections makes you trusthworthy in the eyes of your customer. She'll be ready to try your product, as a consequence. And, if she likes your product: Congratulations, you've earned a fan for lifetime.
Word-of-Mouth Marketing Is The Best Form of Marketing
There're 3 reasons why customers like to talk about Josh's Rainbow Eggs.
First, the eggs are differentiated, they aren't the usual eggs produced by following cruel poultry practices. On one hectare of land, Josh only keeps around 1500 hens & treats them really well. Other farms don't do that.
Second, Josh himself. The customers feel amazed when they see a teenage guy running a successful business. They cannot resist talking & sharing Josh's story.
Third, the egg quality. Let's admit it, no matter how much gimmicks you do, your product is your ultimate & sustainable marketing medium. And, when it comes to quality, Josh is very vigilant.
These three reasons combined together help Josh with word-of-mouth marketing. And, the best part? It's free of cost.
A Differentiated Product Is Easy To Market
Same is lame. Don't run the rat-race & offer a yet another product. Be different. Give your customers a strong reason to buy your product over your competitors.
Once differentiated, your product becomes easy to market. Because your customers will look at it as a unique offering. Not something they've tried & tested before (hence not interested).
Example: If you're into cosmetics business try producing products that haven't been tested on animals. You never know - there may be a market there. Target audience - animal lovers, vegans, etc.
People Do Pay Premium Price For Commodities
It's a myth that people don't pay premium price for commodities like eggs. Josh's Rainbow Eggs sell at $ 7 / a dozen whereas the competitors sell their eggs at $ 4 / a dozen. Does Josh's business suffer because of that? No.
As long as your customers are convinced of your unique offering & its benefits, they'll buy. What matters is whether you sold your story & created that emotional bond or not. That's what it takes to sell a product like eggs at a premium price.
Avoid "Shiny Object Syndrome" Business Ideas
Most aspiring entrepreneurs are interested in building the next Google, Apple, Microsoft or Facebook. They're in the race to "change the world", "disrupt the world", "the next big thing", "a billion dollar funding", etc.
Do you really need to go that way? Josh just showed up how to build a business from scratch without any fuss. Can't anyone else replicate Josh's success? Yes, it can be done. In any industry. We just need to widen our horizon & avoid falling into the "startup trap". It doesn't matter whether a business idea sounds interesting or not, what really matters is: whether that idea will help you build a real business that delivers value to your customers & makes you money.
At least, this approach is better than building a startup, raising funds to scale up, losing money & then finally selling your shares. Isn't it?