COO Nick Meyer talks to me about how he got his start, and what had led to the success of Bearded Brothers.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in Austin, TX, and went to TCU in Fort Worth, TX for my undergrad. I’ve worked on a social enterprise startup with two others called Nisolo, which took me to Nashville. I eventually left and went back to school at Vanderbilt to get my MBA. Then I worked at Dell for about 1.5 years until the opportunity at Bearded Brothers came up.
How did you get started with your business?
Bearded Brothers kicked off in 2011 after our founding members realized there simply wasn’t a clean, organic energy bar in the market…so they made it themselves. This past June, the “baton” was passed to my brother-in-law, my father-in-law, and me to continue the growth and trajectory of the company.
What has helped you succeed in your industry and on your business path?
The dedication to “what’s inside” our bars. From sourcing the vast majority of our organic ingredients from U.S. based family farms to producing our bars in small batch at our Austin, TX facility, we are meticulous about the quality of our product. At the same time, we won’t skimp on taste and we make sure our food bars are worth enjoying. At the end of the day, the quality and taste of our product alone help us to “stick around.”
What was a mistake you made in business and what did you learn from that mistake?
Not fully understanding my strengths and working to put myself in a position to capitalize on those strengths. Taking time to be introspective, to learn about myself, my goals, and my strengths has been instrumental in helping me understand how I can best thrive, and therefore how I can best contribute to a team. Conversely, not doing this can lead to a sort of “drifting along,” and not always taking ownership of what you’re doing.
What surprises have you had along the way? What have you learned from those surprises?
Everybody’s human. As a younger professional, I tended to think certain folks – especially those that had achieved certain levels of success – sort of “knew it all” i.e. didn’t necessarily have the common struggles that many of us have. As time has gone on, I now realize that everybody has shortfalls and insecurities. And perhaps most importantly, I have realized that those aren’t things to run from but rather to lean into, and better yet perhaps even to be used as a way to gain trust and to relate to others.
What advice do you have for those just starting out in your industry or for other entrepreneurs?
Try to have your passion and energy for your product/business shine through – that passion and energy can take you a long way.
What helps you stay passionate about your goals? What are your upcoming goals?
Having a vision for what accomplishing those goals looks like and setting plan in place to accomplish those goals.
What key factors help you position your brand? What makes your brand unique?
Our customer is the main factor. Understanding who we are speaking to is key when identifying how we position “who we are.” Simply put, our organic food bar is the bar you can feel good about eating and sharing.
What marketing advice do you have for others in your industry?
Start with your customer – understanding the details of “who is our customer” has been key in helping us formulate how to position ourselves.
How do you build relationships with your customers or clients?
We do our best to listen. Ultimately we try to understand the needs and desires of our customers and clients and then work to try and meet those needs.
Any tips or insights on leadership, communication or growth?
Help your team understand their strengths and work with them to put them in a position where they are consistently utilizing those strengths.
Tell us more about you. What motivates you? What relaxes you? How do you find balance?
I once did Simon Sinek’s Why Discovery course where I drafted up my “why statement,” which as it’s put on their website, “is the purpose, cause or belief that drives every one of us.” My statement is “to lead and empower others so that together, we can build and create something bigger than ourselves that creates value.” For me, working with people toward something that we all truly feel is worthwhile and of value is incredibly motivating and gives me quite a bit of energy.
Finding balance comes via family time with my wife and two year old daughter. It’s so much fun to giggle and run around with them, and it also helps me to detach from work, which for me is helpful and important.
Where can people find you?