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How to Barbecue Your Way To A Cash Cow

How to Barbecue Your Way To A Cash CowIt started out with a love to cook and a burning desire to not wear a suit. Pig of the Month is a barbecue company that sells homemade meats, sauces, and sides nationwide. You can check us out at http://www.pigofthemonth.com/ to get a better feel for what we’re all about and then come back and hear the rest of the story.

It all happened back in 2008, right after we all figured out that Wall Street was in shambles and no one was safe in their jobs any longer. That’s what I graduated college and entered the job market facing. Add to it a disdain for work apparel and working in a sterile cubicle and you had the perfect cocktail for a newly formed entrepreneur.

I’ve loved to cook ever since I was young. My mom likes to say she knew I was going to be in the food industry ever since I was 10 and at a restaurant with my parents and insisted on ordering the Chateaubriand. But, I didn’t know that until a couple of years ago.

I brainstormed ideas ranging from consulting to party supply until one day my dad was looking to buy the best ribs online and realized there was nothing great out there. Just a lot of the same old smoked, fatty cut of meat that you can find at every bar-b-que joint out there. The idea was planted.

Pig of the Month BBQ got its official start in January of 2011 after many trials with the USDA, local health, and zoning boards. We sell homemade barbecue ribs, pulled pork, 6 styles of regional bbq sauce, southern favorite side dishes, and locally sourced deserts and ship them mail order all over the country to be reheated in your own home.

How to Barbecue Your Way To A Cash CowIt was started with a great deal of effort and financing from our own pockets. We bootstrapped every chance we could get. The kitchen is part of my dad’s engineering warehouse that we tiled and walled into a clean kitchen using our own labor. The equipment was all sourced from going out of business auctions and used equipment stores. The grill was custom fabricated by a local metal shop that was about to go out of business. I researched and learned how to write a HACCP plan all by my lonesome. We took every cost cutting corner we could find.

On the business side of things, I take the same attitude as well. I use Zoho for our free accounting software,invoicing, and CRM. I use Elance more than I care to admit to find everything from graphic designers to web masters to e-mail marketers, and they are all well priced and of great quality. I’ve found that using Google Docs and Open Office completely takes over for Microsoft Office which is so expensive. Heck, even to this day the business is still being run off my personal college lap top. You don’t need the fancy toys to make a business a success, and I’m proof of that.

A huge part of our success has been in utilizing social media and other low cost or no cost media and publicity. I network and participate regularly in the LinkedIn forums and groups. Its been a great way of finding industry leaders and store owners to connect with and ask questions or send samples to. Friend me LinkedIn and we can talk some more

(https://www.linkedin.com/uas/login?session_redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Elinkedin%2Ecom%2Fprofile%2Fedit%3Ftrk%3Dhb_tab_pro_top).

I’ve garnered a following of over 1,500 on twitter

(http://assist.babylon.com/babylonassista/dnsassist/main?domain=twitter.com) and have found twitter is the best way to contact major media and bloggers and get to know them first. Either way you do it you need to make contact with industry leaders and ask for advice and do the same with media, but ask for reviews of your product or mentions.

Currently there are 6 people working with Pig of the Month, 4 in house 2 freelance. We find that we only hire when we’re desperately needing someone and that everyone should at least have a hand in trying to do the job before hiring someone in for it. That also helps when hiring because you will have a much better idea of the skills you’ll be looking for in someone.

The best advice I can give to new entrepreneurs is to ask! Ask for the recommendation, ask for a discount, ask for better payment terms, ask for anything that you think will help your business be in better standing. It never hurts a relationship and if anything you come out ahead.

Pig of the Month is currently operating in the black, but it really took some time and leg work to get people coming to the site to buy our products. I had to learn to get outside my normally reserved demeanor and start shouting about Pig of the Month wherever I went, online and offline. The more you talk about your business the better it will do, trust me.

Looking to the future, we plan to do over $400,000 in sales this year and continue reinvesting in the company to fuel growth to new stores and markets. We plan on opening up markets in Asia and Europe next year and are anxious to see how that goes. We bring a great product to a niche that was under served and we plan on being around for a long time!

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