Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mike Alksninis, Co-Founder of Alksinny Bros Health Foods, located in Quincy, MA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We specialize in organic and protein granola. Our customers are anyone who enjoys granola! We have a particular focus on health-conscious individuals between the ages of 25 and 40, who tend to be our strongest customers and advocates.
Tell us about yourself
Both fitness and health enthusiasts, my brother and I were unsatisfied with the selection of "healthy" granola options on the market. We found that many granolas were packed with hidden sugar, unhealthy fats, and unsafe additives hidden within a long list of ingredients. These products were usually heavily processed, genetically modified and required a Ph.D. in food science to truly decode the ingredients label. Furthermore, the granolas that were seemingly healthy lacked a functional appeal – where does it fit into the day? We became fixated on creating granola that was not only transparent, super healthy, and tasted great but also served a purpose for the everyday working professional.
The phrase "working professional" comes in many forms, from a full-time mom or dad to a corporate employee and everything in between. The idea is built upon the notion that there is an athlete in all of us, and we should fuel our bodies in a way that optimizes health and how we feel. As a former Army Captain and Matt, a former college punter turned finance consultant – we body embody the spirit of this idea.
We believe the quality of food we choose to fuel our body is correlated with how we feel – eating healthy is not always easy! We are passionate about doing our part to demystify the complexities of healthy eating through education and providing a healthy, no-nonsense snack that you can eat guilt-free, makes you feel great, and serves a purpose in your everyday life.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Turning our personal passion into a commercial idea. All of the time spent on countless experiments in the kitchen to get the recipes just right and ultimately onto store shelves and into the hands of our customers so they can share our passion for health, wellness and transparency.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things can be metering passion for growth with the realities of the macroeconomic landscape. For example, supply chain and inflation challenges have been very real. Costs of all raw materials, shipping, and manufacturing have gone up considerably. We've had to raise prices slightly, but the increase in cost has drastically cut into margins. We've overcome these challenges by dialing back spending in areas such as marketing and manufacturing and approaching on a smaller scale until the current market climate improves.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Have a clear understanding of the problem you are solving and who you are solving it for.
- Understand your product, market, and how you differentiate from the competition - have the plan to make money eventually.
- Lastly, embrace grit and resiliency - it won't be easy, there will be challenges and roadblocks, but ultimately success comes from the intersection of passion, hard work, and luck. Having passion and working hard will put you in the best position to be lucky.
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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