Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lori Levine, Co-Founder of Scott's Protein Balls, located in Plainview, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We make a protein ball that is a plant-based, gluten, dairy, and soy-free indulgent snack, and we are the only refrigerated protein ball on the market! We are sold with cut-up fruit or in healthy grab-and-go sections in markets. Our fresh-from-the-fridge protein balls are perfect for your sweet tooth while giving you natural energy with high protein without added sugar. Our classic flavors include Peanut Butter Cacao, Mint Chocolate Chip, Brownie Batter, Confetti, Snickerdoodle, and Java Peanut Butter, and we recently launched limited-edition Red Velvet Balls that were so popular we decided to make them a permanent flavor.
Our customers are people 25-50 who prefer to eat healthily and are tired of poor-tasting protein snacks – although we have a loyal fan base much younger and older too! Since we are plant-based and gluten and dairy-free, we provide the option of a healthy, delicious snack alternative to people with dietary restrictions and people who just want to eat cleaner. We also have three nut-free flavors, so there is a flavor for everyone.
Tell us about yourself
We’re accidental entrepreneurs! After a battle with breast cancer in 2017, I decided to clean up my diet a bit and went to a nutritionist who told me to stop eating protein bars. She said most of them have soy, a lot of sugar, can sit on a shelf for up to a year, and are filled with chemicals and preservatives that we should not put into our bodies. Eliminating protein bars from my diet left me without a grab-and-go snack, so my husband (Scott) decided he would find a solution to my snacking dilemma, and he started making a peanut butter chocolate protein ball. It soon became my go-to snack, and I carried them with me everywhere!
I am motivated because people love our products – we do too! We are a healthy snack for pre/post workout, for a coffee break/mid-day pick me up, or for dessert. Seeing our customers reorder on the website and the stores we sell in reorder regularly continues to motivate us to do what we do every day. Knowing that people connect with my story and want to make a change in their lives to eat better-for-you snacks is something that keeps me going every day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
We love being able to partner with companies working to fight cancer. We donate 1% of gross sales to BCRF (Breast Cancer Research Foundation) so they can continue their extremely valuable research, which impacted my battle with breast cancer, in their battle to end breast cancer.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Everything falls on you. It’s hard to find quality workers to delegate to as a start-up with limited funding, which means the owners need to be involved in almost every aspect of the business. It’s also 24/7, so you need to figure out a work-life balance that can help you be the best that you can be – and it’s not an easy task.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Have a strong partner to work with. Building a business is difficult and overwhelming. Having a strong partner who you can trust and work with will help. It’s also important to know when to ask for help and to take care of yourself mentally and physically in addition to running your business.
- Make sure your funding is in place. It will cost a lot more to get things done than you expect, plus you will likely make expensive mistakes while you are learning and building the business.
- Treat your employees and your customers right. Relationships are everything at the start of a business. Be kind and respectful and always ask for feedback, both positive and negative, so you can learn and grow.
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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