Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mark Murrell, founder of Black Point Seafood, LLC., located in Portland, ME, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are an e-commerce company that is obsessed with customer experience...we happen to sell and deliver the finest Maine lobster and seafood from dock to doorstep. Our customer is anyone that appreciates that the highest quality comes from the source, not the isle. They tend to be family-oriented, adventurous, and value experiences over things.
We are the highest-rated online delivery company of Maine lobster and seafood; accordingly, we were recently voted #1 service provider. Why us? We begin with the desired experience we want for the customer, and then we build from there. We invest heavily in customer support so that people feel they have the support they need to fully embrace and enjoy the experience.
Finally, we always make it right...even when we get it wrong. Our promise is that you are going to have an unforgettable experience....when you don't, we make it right. Surprisingly, this is not normal behavior for many companies. We work hard to mark working with us easily.
Tell us about yourself
First off, I never thought in a million years that I would be selling lobster online. Yes, I grew up in Maine; however, I was never much of a lobster and seafood consumer. It was not until I moved to Chicago that I started to desire the "Maine" experience. Quality lobster and seafood were not readily available. And, as the universe would have it, a fishmonger friend of mine asked for my help. He wanted to start selling lobsters online. At the time, I was a marketing consultant focusing on leveraging mobile and the internet to scale a business. Upon doing some research, I discovered that there was a lot of demand; however, not a ton of supply (aka providers).
I shared with him that it was a great opportunity. However, he needed to be ready and aware of the work it would take to get repeat buyers. Having live Maine lobster delivered to your house in a box is a daunting experience. You need to invest in smoothing out all the worries for the customer and execute flawlessly. This idea scared him, and he chose not to pursue the venture. However, customer experience design was my thing....so I jumped in!
What excites me about the work? We get to be a part of people's fondest memories. Lobster is typically served for celebrations. To be trusted with providing the essential elements of a special meal is humbling and empowering.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I would say 2020 was my biggest accomplishment. I scaled the business by 600% and somehow was able to execute. 2020 was by far my biggest challenge and accomplishment. To go from 50 boxes per day to 500 per day and then in the peak season (Holidays) to over 1000 per day was an amazing learning opportunity.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
People. I am lucky; I have an amazing team that is capable of producing magic. However, we are all humans. As you grow your business, you bring in more humans. We are all individuals and have unique needs and desires. Meanwhile, we have a job to get done. I am still learning how to be a good leader, how to recognize when someone needs to kick in the butt or a bear hug.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Invest in financial knowledge. While I am not a big believer in traditional higher learning, I wish to spend more time educating myself on the financial side of the business.
- Be of service. I cannot express this enough. For some reason, as a society, we have gotten away from being of service. Have your business be focused on service and be committed to the person you are serving. Treat them like family.
- Have fun. Run the business, do not let it run you. For most of my 12 years running Get Maine Lobster, it has run me. I am obsessed....which is good. However, balance is better.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
A fourth tip - give back locally and globally.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.