Top 10 Insights From Alex French of Bizzy Coffee

Alex French of Bizzy Coffee

Any entrepreneur can tell you, launching a startup is a learning process. Therefore, one of the best things you can do prior to launching a startup of your own is to learn from those who have blazed the trail. We were fortunate enough to hear some valuable insights during our interview with Alex French of Bizzy Coffee that will inspire, motivate, and teach aspiring and established entrepreneurs alike.

1. Entrepreneurship Isn’t Always Glamorous

“It depends on where you look, but the whole ‘owning your life,’ and ‘owning your day’ ... That is for the very, very, very lucky select people. The vast majority of businesses fail. The vast majority of successful businesses are carried on by the backs of the founders. It is extremely difficult to succeed. And until you're 10 years in, 15 years in, it's not glamorous, it's not fun, honestly in a lot of situations.”

2. Profitability Is More Important Than Valuation

“[Y]ou don't need to raise money to be successful. And raising money, like Shark Tank, [by] selling equity and getting a high valuation is not that important. Being profitable and having profit at the end of the month, at the end of the year, is 10 times more important than just a vanity metric of revenue.”

3. Venture Capital Isn’t Always the Right Choice

“If you can make $100,000 in profit off of $200,000 in revenue, I would take that business over a $100 million dollar business that loses $10 million. So I think there's this glamour around raising money from venture capitalists, but they're actually vulture capitalists, and they do anything they can to make sure they win. So raising money is, people think it's really glamorous, but it's really not.”

4. Build a Network of Mentors

“Let's say I need help on fundraising. Well, I'm going to go talk to a CEO that's raised money. Or conversely, I want to talk to an investor just so I can get their perspective on how they think about things. If I'm having an issue with legal or trademarks, I'm going to go find a mentor that knows that stuff. So it's really all about mentorship. And the smartest people you can't get access to, so listen to their podcasts. And then just try and build the network of people around you that can just basically give you advice.”

5. Good Leadership Is About Empowering People

“I think [good leadership] is empowering people to be ... the best version of themselves. As we've learned, company culture and values are really important. So, we make sure to adhere to those. And for us, our whole brand statement is “be your best.” And we want everyone to be the best version of themselves at work, and we got to empower them to do that [by] giving them the opportunities and trusting them to do their job … We do as much as we can to make sure that people are happy, satisfied and ultimately putting their best foot forward.”

6. Entrepreneurship Requires Resilience

“[Entrepreneurship] is really hard. I'm an endurance athlete. I've done 24-hour races. I've done Iron Man. I think I have a pretty strong mind and grit. And ugh, it is tough. There are days when you just don't want to go into the office. I had to work until 1:00 a.m. on Monday, and I had a meeting at 7:30 the next morning ... you just gotta do it.”

7. Write Down Your Start Idea

“I think the first step [to starting a startup] is you have to write it down. Once you write something down, it becomes tangible, and it becomes real. Everyone has ideas. Everyone in the world has a business idea. But, that first step is just writing it down because then it's real. It's a physical thing. It's on paper. It's in a folder. To me, that's the most important thing.”

8. Find a Business Partner Who Aligns With Your Values

“I highly recommend finding a business partner as quickly as possible, and make sure they have a shared value system because if they are unethical or willing to spend money frivolously when you're frugal, that's just not going to work.”

9. A Strong Mission Is Crucial

“Best case scenario, you have a strong mission where you ... want to make a difference or do something, and that mission will help drive you to continue working — where if you're just chasing the dollar and you're not getting those dollars right away, you're probably going to just quit.”

10. You Don’t Fail Until You Quit

“[Y]ou don't fail until you quit. And if you stay in the game long enough, you'll get lucky. We were unlucky for the first five years. I mean, we kept running out of money. I was working 100 hours a week living with my parents ... We just stuck with it and just didn't give up. And then COVID hit, and our business exploded, and now every investor wants to invest in our business, even though they all told me ‘no, your idea’s stupid.’ There's nothing different about it. You're just like every other coffee brand. And then we just stayed in the game and just kept working, and now it's working.”

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