REFLECTIONS FROM TWO YEARS OF SLINGING SNACKS
We can hardly believe it, but this week we are celebrating the TWO YEAR birthday of Siren Snacks! Our second year in business been quite a whirlwind of growth, changes, and plenty of ups and downs. We took a break from the birthday celebrations to bring you our top takeaways and learnings from the past year:
- Just because others are doing it doesn’t mean we should: The food start-up world is small, and companies often look to other brands for marketing tactics, sales strategies, and inspiration. There are plenty of companies spending tons of money on Facebook / Instagram ads or sending free product to hundreds of people, but we’ve found that just become one company is doing something doesn’t mean we should, too. We’ve learned to avoid distractions, keep those blinders on, and focus on the things that are working for us (not others!)
- Celebrate the “Little Wins”: As a start-up, it’s easy to get caught up in those lofty long-term goals and lose track of the small steps we’re taking each day to get us there. So, we’ve developed a series of traditions to help celebrate the little wins and milestones along the way. When a new retailer brings Siren Snacks into their store, we ring a large copper bell that we’ve installed in our office to celebrate that success. Similarly, when we get positive feedback from a customer, we forward that note to our team so that everyone can see the impact of their hard work.
- Progress takes longer than you think: Having spent two years in this industry, we’ve learned that progress takes time. You might get a “Yes” from a new retailer interested in bringing in your products, but oftentimes it takes at least 6 months for your product actually makes its way onto the store shelf. Similarly, developing new products takes a ton of time with product testing, ingredient sourcing, and packaging design. We’ve learned to plan ahead and always think about what’s next. On that note, keep an eye out for some super exciting new things from us coming soon ;)
- Listen to feedback, but stay true to who you are: We listen to and seriously care about the feedback we receive from our customers. In fact, some of the feedback we’ve received over the past year has led to actual changes - like removing stevia from all products and introducing a smaller pouch size for our office customers. That said, we’ve also received plenty of suggestions, such as adding sugar alcohols or other ingredients like soy to our products that would be stepping away from our core values. Ultimately, it’s about listening and being open to feedback while still holding true to your mission.
- Taking time to disconnect: As founders, we’ve learned that burnout can be real. In the first year following our launch, we were working 24/7 with late nights, weekend demos, and hardly any days off. While we still work incredibly hard, we’ve found that setting aside at least one day off each week has helped us feel refreshed and ready to go at the start of each week. For us, Saturday tends to be the day where we unplug, take a break from emails, and recharge outside the office.
- Customer service counts: As we grow, it can be tempting to ignore the inquiries and emails that come through our inbox daily. And at this point we’ve seen the FULL SPECTRUM of emails - from customer fan mail telling us how Siren Snacks has positively impacted their lives, to some serious spam and a fair share of online trolls. That said, we’ve learned that customer service and responding to all customer questions is crucial to growing our community and keeping everyone happy.
- Gracefully accept the 'no's' and remember that it's possible to eventually turn that 'no' into a 'yes': We hear 'no' from people every single day - its become a part of our job as entrepreneurs! We've learned that its ok (and normal!) to regularly hear no's, and that the best approach is respond graciously, even when that 'no' may be disappointing. We've also learned that it IS possible to turn a no into a yes by being patient, polite, and persistent.