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The 5 lessons I learned from launching a product that failed

Hey Broya fam, Tim the founder here. 1 year ago we launched our Broya Bites and today I’m announcing that we’ll be discontinuing them. You might be thinking why I’d announce that. It’s not positive news. That’s what this place is for, right? I love this product so much, however, out of all the mistakes I’ve made with this business, launching the Bites was probably my biggest one and I figured this failure was worthy of sharing for those who might be interested to learn something about launching a product.

1. Be clear on why you do what you do and don’t settle for anything less 

When I thought it aligned with our brand to promote sustainably raised, antibiotic and hormone free meat, it actually took away from who we really are. Of course, sourcing high quality meat is super important to us, and we would never source conventional meat, ever. However, our mission, first and foremost, is to help people heal themselves with good food choices. Most people see a tremendous amount of health benefits from drinking broth on the regular, and that’s why we do what we do.

2. Timing is everything

I thought this product was clearly something the market was missing. There are very few, if any, high quality meat snacks in Canada so I assumed people would be thrilled to see this product. However, most of the market wasn't as pumped about this product as I was. Bites are still not ‘in’ in Canada. They’re all over the US, but unfortunately, most Canadians still think this is a weird concept and view most jerky-like products as low quality with a bunch of crap in it (thanks Jack Links).

3. For the love of God, know your customer and talk to them every damn day

When I thought our loyal broth customers would love this product, they actually didn’t care that much about them. People who drink broth do so for specific health reasons (like myself) and they don’t care much about a healthy meat snack. This seems so obvious in hindsight, but as a hopeful entrepreneur, I let the ‘build it and they will come’ sensationalism get the best of me here. Major fail.

4. Keep it simple, you silly goose (KISSG)

When I thought this would diversify our product set with the broths, it actually made it 10x harder to manage. Different buyers at the retail level to deal with, a new production process I had to learn from scratch, and a new facility half way across the country to complicate the supply chain. When you’re a startup in the food space staying in 1 category and producing in 1 facility, makes your life a lot easier and your focus sharper as your customers get to know you.

Another lesson on keeping it simple; if I were to do this over again, I'd keep the flavours as simple as possible and I would have listened to the market and made it keto-friendly. I would also steer away from the tender bites format and go with traditional jerky or a peperette stick, which are much more common in Canada. The less you need to make your customer work at understanding what you're selling, the more likely they are to pick it up and try your product.  

5. Is your competitive edge enough?

Although I believe this is a superior product to everything else out there in Canada, our price point wasn’t competitive because we were competing with jerky products that were owned by the farmers who owned the land or large companies that owned the production facilities. We had neither so we paid extra to produce this product, which resulted in us being priced $1-2 per unit more than our competition. Our high quality meat and tasty product were not enough for a customer to choose us over the competition. 

So as you can see, this was akin to launching a second business when my first business (bone broth) still needed a ton of TLC.

If this resonates with even 1 person, that makes me happy, and hopefully, you won't make the same mistakes I did. So, please, do me a favour, go to our store, order some Bites, use the discount code BITES50 for 50% off your order, and tell me how much you’re going to miss them.

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