Mike Rosenberg, founder and owner of Gorilla Bars spoke with my Business Strategy class this morning. Mike is St. Mike's graduate who was able to turn a passion into a successful business. His presentation was of particular interest because as I have mentioned in previous posts, Business Strategy is my senior capstone class where I am working with two awesome group members (Andrea and Lauren) to create a business plan. Our business plan idea involves opening a specialty dog biscuit business.
Now I know you might be thinking dog biscuits and energy bars, what could they possibly have in common? Well, maybe the products are dissimilar, but the process Mike has gone through to create a Vermont based business is exactly the kind of information my classmates and I have been searching for.
During his presentation, Mike spoke about the importance of distribution and how sometimes taking a more cautious approach can lead to success. One of the challenges my group members and I have been struggling with for our project is what retail channel would be most effective for our dog biscuit distribution. Mike gave us some interesting things to think about, especially because his bars are sold entirely through their online website.
Although I enjoyed all of Mike's presentation, the thing I found most interesting was that Gorilla Bars has not spent any money on marketing and yet they're turning a profit each month. This statement caused one of my favorite student moments to happen: when what you're learning in the classroom translates to something you can relate to in real life.
In my consumer behavior class I am reading a book called Buying In: What We Buy and Who We Are by Rob Walker. Just last night, within the pages of this text I was reading about a website called BzzAgent. BzzAgent is a social media machine that accelerates sales through product advocates, whose passion is creating a buzz about new products. Buzz seems to be exactly what Gorilla Bars is using, word of mouth coming from people who have enjoyed their products. As a consumer who truly enjoyed eating my first Gorilla Bar today, here is my shameless plug: Try Gorilla bars, the honey makes them extra sweet and so delicious!