Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in product development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Eric Johnson, COO and Vice President of Aureus Product Innovations, Inc., located in Woods Cross, UT, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are The Bluapple Company! We design and manufacture products that help to keep produce fresh longer. Our customers are usually the main shoppers of the home, the person who is in charge of buying produce. No one we have ever talked to, regardless of income level, likes throwing away spoiled produce.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Eric Johnson, and my business partner, Timmy Chou, and I decided to try and tackle the food waste problem back in 2009. Produce was expensive back then, even more so now, and watching people, ourselves mainly, buy produce and then throw a good portion of it away didn't quite sit right with us. The technology Bluapple uses has been used in commercial products for the last five decades. We are just bringing it to the everyday consumer.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Building a brand that has helped to reduce food waste in millions of households around the globe. We know we have a good set of products that are based on science and have a positive impact on people's food and financial resources. We know our product helps people eat more fresh produce, which is a much healthier choice.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
For our business, the hardest thing is education. Figuring out ways to educate the general public in a cost-effective manner without being right in front of them explaining how it all works. Once we can explain there is a solution to the produce waste problem, it's an easy decision for the consumer.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The top 3 tips I'd give someone wanting to start their own business are as follows:
- Clearly define what your product or service is going to solve or the need or desire it is going to fill. Talk with trustworthy people who will tell you the truth and with whom you can have a dialogue about what you are trying to do and accomplish. You want to do this to actually see what the objections or hurdles are to making your idea a business. This should be people who have the knowledge and aren't looking to angle to get a piece of your business.
- Make sure you have adequate resources, capital money, and time. It takes about three times longer and three times as much money as you think it will. Don't start a business because you need a job. Consider buying an existing business that already has customers and some cash flow.
- Learn to leverage social media and those participating in it to your advantage. For example: when we decided we needed to get people talking about Bluapple, we hired our kids (college students) to research and contact bloggers to review and talk about our product. We would sponsor giveaways for their subscribers to win one of our products. This allowed us to get noticed and other bloggers to contact us so they could write about it. We never paid anyone for a review. It is a risk, but we knew we had a solid product.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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