Matcha.com Update: How We Grew 300% YoY

$390K
revenue/mo
2
Founders
5
Employees
product
Matcha.com
from Tucson, Arizona, USA
started January 2016
$390,000
revenue/mo
2
Founders
5
Employees
145K
alexa rank
9.19K
followers
111
followers
987
subs
market size
$14B
avg revenue (monthly)
$158K
starting costs
$62.1K
gross margin
60%
time to build
10 months
average product price
$3
growth channels
Email marketing
business model
E-Commerce
best tools
Instagram, Klaviyo, StarShipIt
time investment
Side project
pros & cons
29 Pros & Cons
tips
9 Tips
Discover what tools Andre reccommends to grow your business!
Start A Tea Business

Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

I’m André Fasciola, co-founder, and self-proclaimed CMO (Chief Matcha Officer) of Matcha.com. We’re an eCommerce company leading the charge in the matcha green tea space, an industry with a market cap that might surprise you! We specialize in high-quality matcha and loose-leaf green teas all from Japan – but not just anywhere from the island nation, we source directly from the birthplace of traditional matcha – the city of Uji in Kyoto, Japan.

Our mission-driven business was created with two goals in mind. To provide the best matcha possible, and to support the few remaining traditional farming families left who are still producing matcha in this key region. There are only about 60 of these authentic matcha-producing families left in the area, a figure continuing to dwindle.

Without them? Access to high-quality matcha could entirely disappear. Below we’ll touch on what you can do to help, too.

The most popular products offered at matcha.com include our line of authentic Ceremonial Grade matcha green teas and our wildly successful Matcha Starter Kits which can help any newcomer jump right in. We put a tremendous effort into curating a range of the absolute best matcha.

Through the extensive tea-growing network we’ve developed with our partners in Japan, we’re able to provide a quality and a price to suit anyone. Still, growing and harvesting matcha is a particularly labor-intensive process, our pricing also reflects that inherent value and commitment to supporting our artisanal producers.

Our customer base really spans across all age groups and all demographics (and many coffee refugees). When we first launched our business the core demographic mirrored that from our co-founder, Dr. Andrew Weil.

He’s been in the public eye for a long time and during that time he’s built a lot of trust by offering scientific and sound health & wellness advice. For years this massive audience leaned towards 45 and older women.

However, our demographic really shifted after we were on the Joe Rogan podcast! Since that point, the momentum has continued to reel in a hugely promising (and massive) millennial and Gen Z demographics, full of people just learning about matcha for the first time. It really balanced the scales, and that’s the way we believe it should be because really, matcha is for everyone.

Everyday we’re flooded with new inquiries as well on the B2B side. Companies wishing to buy in bulk matcha, foodservice customers, food ingredient suppliers, co-packers, superfood companies – you name it!

Most recently, there’s been an added influx of businesses looking for a more 21st century, tech-first option for bulk matcha. We’re fortunate that we’ve been able to keep our finger on the pulse for that pent-up demand from COVID as we forecast the market supply. We’re stoked.

On the retail side, we’re hammering out several co-branded products with national-scale natural product brands. We’re looking forward to the challenge of having enough inventory to keep up with the green matcha wave.

On a related note, we witnessed on the backend the devastation that COVID caused to the foodservice industry. Thankfully, restaurants, cafes, CPG brands – they’re all sensing a release coming and mobilizing in preparation for the looming economic surge. We see this unfolding day by day as we build new relationships with these businesses who are grateful to have their matcha needs made easy.

On the DTC side, we've been remarkably lucky to be in the eCommerce space (and not brick and mortar) during the pandemic. Even though we were approached by one of the nation’s largest grocery store chains about building out a product line, it’s fortuitous that we chose not to enter directly into the retail space, instead of doubling down on our eCommerce efforts since before the pandemic.

To be honest, the margins and the structure necessary to get into these retail channels seemed overly complicated, and worse for matcha, a race to the lowest possible price point. Our model is based on quality, often it feels like an uphill battle when there is so much downward pressure on your pricing, mostly due to the various parties involved in taking a percentage.

I certainly understand why many brands have been pivoting to a DTC model and just eliminating the middleman. Not to say we wouldn’t entertain the right opportunity when it presents itself in the future.

Our business had been growing 300% YOY before the pandemic. During the pandemic, our business grew another 300% which impressed us but did not surprise us. No signs of slowing down either, we attribute this growth to matcha’s fortifying health benefits, and its clean, zen-like energy.

In addition, it’s pretty obvious eCommerce as a whole (shopping online) grew by at least 20% due to traditional retail being on lockdown. People were forced online, even for their grocery shopping – it’s truly difficult to quantify how much this contributed to our growth since 70 % of our business comes from repeat customers, but we can say with certainty that it helped.

It’s such a deeply rooted product too, we saw this past year as an opportunity for new people to be introduced to matcha who may have never heard of it. Once people try it and realize how there’s definitely a chill factor to it, how the mental focus is really extraordinary, it takes care of itself.

In fact, matcha is super versatile: it’s stimulating, relaxing, it can help some people sleep – it checks all the boxes especially for people who’ve understandably been stressed out the past year. We also hear from many of our customers that the act of preparing matcha in a daily ritual provides comfort as a cornerstone of starting their day.

All these details have meant that our retail business (eCommerce) alone is now growing upwards from $390K/mo – but this only accounts for about 70% of the business revenue today. Our wholesale business is growing just as fast now and should surpass that amount any month.

how-we-our-business-grew-300-yoy
Inspecting our tea fields in Uji, Japan. Copyright 2021 Andre Fasciola/Matcha.com

Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?

Managing 300% YOY growth continually provides new lessons in problem-solving and iterating. We’ve learned a tremendous amount of the importance of a good-looking, well-functioning, and efficient user interface (UI). For example, we spend a lot of time looking at our KPIs and business analytics to determine what is working and what is not.

We employ a fair amount of hot mapping and predictive analytics. Leveraging this data gives us an actionable playbook as we optimize metrics every day. You can’t arrive at your destination without having the directions to get there, and any eCommerce business would empathize that, while the amount of data can be overwhelming, it’s key.

Most recently, a deep analysis of this data has meant the launch of a newly designed, extra functional website UI. For newcomers, returning customers, and even B2B clients this means a more seamless navigation experience, with emphasis on mobile-friendly.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably not new to the notion of ‘mobile-friendly.’ When we think about where tech will be in 3-5 years (let alone 1), we’re more bullish than ever on mobile-first design, we even have an app to show for it.

In terms of channels, it’s not just email and SMS anymore. The Matcha.com app is an additional owned channel, designed to provide a legitimate value-add to our monthly matcha subscribers. The convenience of the subscription model is more than a source of MRR, we recognized the opportunity to truly enrich the experience:

Paraphrasing the words of one of our favorite customers, “It’s not just about the matcha, it’s just as much the mobile tech experience too. The Matcha.com app means you guys have nailed both!”

how-we-our-business-grew-300-yoy
Download on App Store –– Matcha.com App/Copyright 2021

On the social media site, we also doubled our efforts and now have a team solely focused on interacting with our audience and developing fun and exciting collaborations. Collaborations are a great way (especially if you're just getting started) to tap into another company's audience and build your brand all at the same time. It’s also a great way to learn from others that have been successful in leveraging the power of connecting with folks on social media.

Again, it’s about adding value to those to who you want to speak.

Social media tactics/advice:

  1. Have something worth saying!
  2. Find a brand that is cruising it and do what they do. Simple but super effective.
  3. Provide ‘above and beyond’ value - content, skills, education, success stories, etc... Whatever it is - try harder always. If you think you’re doing all you can, go and watch Gary Vee!
  4. Share everything about your starter story, product development, content creation, troubles, etc – be authentic and you won’t struggle to find your voice.
  5. Automate as much as possible
  6. FB is where people go for information (mostly inaccurate), IG is where people go for inspiration, Tik Tok is where people hang out. Strategize accordingly.
  7. Video content WILL be King - get on it!
  8. Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate.
  9. Make it easy to shop on your social media accounts.
  10. Focus on building your audience (and interacting) on one platform at a time. See #6.
  11. People love lists! 1-10 of (fill in your topic) Top 10 things of whatever.
  12. Always be testing.

On growing your audience:

Paid advertising, for us, seems like a zero-sum game - plus, it’s super boring! Although it also represents at times a necessary evil, our only recommendation on paid ads is to not create a ‘make it or break it’ type scenario for your business.

Podcasts have been key to our growth. Do whatever you can to get your brand involved in podcasts, no matter how you do it. One tip for a good place to start is to find the gatekeepers for these podcasts. Check on LinkedIn and Twitter. Send texts, DMs, emails, and/or samples; like, follow, and interact any way you can. It’s worth it.

Or hell, create your own podcast! Either way, a YouTube channel is a must. It’s mostly free and you can say nearly anything you want to on it. Of course, still, be professional, and definitely aim to offer something unique in value to viewers.

Content:

If you’re not creating great content and educational information that your audience can learn from and enjoy, your brand Will. Not. Grow. We spend a serious amount of effort curating content that is both educational and actionable. Producing value is not easy, it’s time-consuming, but consider a two-birds-one-stone approach in order to create the space. For us, every action we take, every piece of content we create must have a two-purpose outcome.

For example, we invest in high-quality content that adds educational value first, and brand messaging second. It’s a more sincere way to connect with people in general. This leads to a much stronger network effect too.

Our matcha is another example of this two-purpose outcome. We primarily focus on quality and taste, but in doing so we’re afforded a positive feedback loop due to the health properties that customers often quickly begin to notice. Matcha happens to be one of the healthiest beverages a person can drink, but you have to start drinking it first.

There’s a real lesson in here about thinking critically of your approach to new customers. On the contrary, if you’ve spent any amount of time in business circles, either in person or through channels like podcasts, you’ve certainly heard successful entrepreneurs say that “the secret to building a successful business is to find a problem and then find a solution to solve it.”

I certainly think there is merit in this approach but it seems short-sighted (first-order thinking) and, for me, lacks the magic of organic discovery. Solving a problem for the sake of solving a problem is one thing, but, a second-order thinking principle is thinking further ahead (after you solved the problem) and thinking holistically.

The mounting success of Matcha.com is at least one point of proof that this is a potent approach. So, find the right angle where you can create exceptional value for your customers, potential customers, and even society in general; contribute whether it’s content, your personal brand, starting a business, product development, technology innovation, etc.

Here is a good example: The US leads most other industrialized nations in rising levels of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and various cancers. Much of this can be directly correlated to dietary habits and poor food/beverage choices.

How do you get people to eat healthier foods?

Our co-founder and my business partner, Dr. Andrew Weil, created a successful restaurant concept/chain called True Food Kitchen around 10 years ago. Really the first concept of its kind.

As the story goes (I was there), his to-be restaurant partner at the time did not believe that a menu based on Dr. Weil’s principles of healthy eating would gain enough traction to be a mainstream success.

He literally said, “Health food doesn't taste good and because of that, it won’t sell.”

He was very reluctant to deviate from the (his) restaurant formula that was popular at the time. At the time, many restaurants built their success upon a heavy emphasis on lards, creams, butter, heavy salts, and unfresh/low-quality ingredients. The compensation for poor taste was made up through extra-large, and salty, portions.

Remember, this was before the time of healthy/delicious Mediterranean diets that are popular these days. It wasn't until Dr. Weil made a meal for Sam that he believed this new concept could be a success.

He’d never tasted food that was as healthy and delicious as that meal. It was a means of second-order problem solving: By focusing on the taste and the use of high-quality ingredients, the food tastes amazing, and it just so happens to be healthy for you.

Some might say that this seems like common sense, and they’d be correct. At the time though this truly was the very opposite of thinking in the restaurant business.

I’ll emphasize this one more time: Instead of trying to solve the problem of mainstream restaurants' unhealthy foods (second-order), Dr. Weil led the charge by making food that was delicious (first-order), and doubled as good for your health. It’s a very important, subtle distinction.

Long story short, consider doubling down on quality and value – no matter what your product is – you may just end up solving two problems at once. That is how you change a culture, and is also a near-guarantee in acquiring a loyal customer base.

Not only is the restaurant concept successful (36+ locations and 10M annual visitors), but now many other healthy eating restaurant concepts have taken hold based on Dr. Weil’s food philosophy. We’ve followed this same principle with the business model for matcha.com.

how-we-our-business-grew-300-yoy
Dr. Andrew Weil, the co-founder of Matcha.com, sports a Matchazilla Shirt | Copyright 202)

We focus on sourcing the best tasting, most invigorating matcha found anywhere in the world. Providing the highest steps of quality allows us to automatically generate additional value for our customers, and as a result of this obsession, we happen to create a ton of second-order benefits for our business and our customers.

Our mission of obsessive-like focus on quality eliminates many of the normal pain points of building a brand or, at the very least, makes them a whole lot easier to hurdle.

Some examples of what I’m referring to:

The better tasting the matcha (umami), the more health benefits that are associated with drinking that matcha.

By sourcing the best tasting matcha available we help support the last 60 traditional farming families left in Japan, while at the same time keeping the time-honored production method (since 1295 A.D.) of authentic matcha alive.

As the leader in the matcha space, we’ve been a driving force in the rise in popularity of matcha across the US and Canada. This increases the demand for great matcha coming from Japan. As the matcha demand grows in Japan we’re now seeing a movement from young people in Japan wanting to come back to the rural areas to grow and produce “craft matcha.”

It’s important to note that farming in Japan has been on the decline since the 90’s as young people have moved to the cities in search of better-paying jobs. Now though, for the first time in decades, Japan is seeing a growing interest in these rural/traditional means. We’re stoked to be helping drive this positive development. We support many of these organizations and our customers can feel good doing the same.

Great matcha tastes great, period! There is no replacement or shortcut in the matcha space. We cannot express enough how many times, every single day(!), that we both see disgusting images of brownish matcha on social media, and hear negative feedback from the community about how bad that matcha tastes.

Imagine for a moment how hard it can be to earn that 2nd chance with people, convincing them to forgo that bad run-in, and that not all matcha is created equally (almost all of the cheap matcha out there is Chinese-origin or blends).

With any industry, there are always going to be bad players solely focused on price points and volume. Surprisingly, you’ll see this in national café chains (I think you know who I’m referring to). In doing so, they’re not only lowering the total value of the matcha industry, but they’re also damaging the long-term viability of high-quality (real) matcha – especially as the few remaining tea farms cripple under corporate (economic) pressure to choose yield over craft.

Those bad players capitalize on the rising popularity of matcha and in doing so drive down the quality of matcha for everyone. Cheap matcha tastes terrible, looks brownish, and turns people off to matcha, many of them permanently.

Ask yourself if you’re in the right business (at the right time) with the right product/service. Are you with the right people? Is it like ice skating uphill? Seriously, these are very important questions to ask if you’re struggling to grow your business. Take inventory and ask the hard questions: It could be that by changing just one of these areas the business will start growing again.

As a way to hide the bitter tastes that low-quality matcha is known for, companies just add a ton of sugar to the point that you only taste the sugar. More importantly, cheap matcha lacks most of the health benefits high-quality matcha is known for and is a trojan horse for other drawbacks such as high sugar intake from those bad sources.

Amid the industry misinformation and generic brands out there, we’re incredibly proud that we’ve now introduced a real sense of quality to more than 2,000,000 unique bowls of matcha.

As a result, we see ⅓ of those customers breaking free of coffee (what we call a hard drug) and a few thousand every months breaking free of sugary energy drinks - replacing an unhealthy daily drink with quality matcha instead.

Hopefully, in some small way, folks switching over to a healthy beverage like matcha might be able to make a dent in growing diabetes and obesity epidemic in the US. And overall, we work very hard to provide a higher standard for the entire matcha space in general – so if you have a friend that says they don’t like matcha, definitely send them our way as your good deed for the day! We’ll make sure to make them happy.

how-we-our-business-grew-300-yoy

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

2020/21 saw a tremendous shift in the business world as we know it. No matter how big or small, businesses have witnessed the negative effects of a global pandemic/supply chain disruption, and many are still trying to find the best ways to move forward.

I think businesses have long taken for granted just how stable our cultural climate has been and how quickly things can change. Businesses that have been able to pivot during this massive change have survived, and those who haven’t have been subject to serious losses – many have not survived at all.

It’s important (critical) to find the opportunity in the midst of a crisis - and not be frozen by the fear change may bring. With that said, I’d say the biggest lesson we’ve learned this year is to be quick to pivot (experiment), have a backup plan for every part of your business, and that everything in business is negotiable.

In my own experience, when you are almost out of operating cash flow there’s a desperate panic that creeps into your mind forcing you to rack your brain on how you’re going to cut costs, hold on to the cash you have, negotiate better terms with your vendors, and so on.

We faced these issues a few times during the pandemic. As the business kept growing, so did our orders from Japan. Our orders grew bigger and bigger (to keep up with demand), and logistics took more effort and planning. Out of necessity, we pushed back on every expense.

We learned how to look at our expenses closely and decide what is strategic and what could be put on hold until next year. In the end, the strategy worked out very well. You can always find a solution to a problem.

On negotiating:

A good friend of mine rents a small retail space/business and due to COVID restrictions, he was not allowed to have people physically in his store. So for 10 months, he had no business. He was running out of cash pretty quickly and he was feeling desperate because he might lose the business that he spent the last 5 years growing.

My friend is very proud, hard-working, and honorable. I knew this experience was very hard for him (like many businesses affected by COVID) and somehow he was thinking if the business failed he would fail as a person. He’s the type of person that would never ask for help or a lending hand. He’s rock-solid that way and I totally respect him for that.

He and I were talking about ways to help the business and I said to him, “did you go to your landlord and explain how COVID had affected your business?'' Maybe to negotiate lesser rent payments. He said, “why should I put that on him? It’s my rent and I need to pay it.”

I completely understood the logic in his response. However, if the business closes altogether, the landlord is going to lose a good-paying tenant anyway.

He agreed, and not only did he go back and ask for a reduced rate, but the landlord also reduced his monthly rent for the next 24 months. All he had to do was ask (negotiate).

I know it was hard for him but in the end, it will most likely save his business. Having gone through this myself I am continually surprised by my own psychological constructs (and that of others) when it comes to social norms that are perceived to be cemented in stone.

Take pricing as an example. Things like the prices in, grocery stores, gas prices, doctors fees, credit card rates, bank fees, loan fees, vendors’ fees, and the list go on. Society has said these constructs are not flexible.

For most people, this psychology prevents them from even thinking that pushing back/negotiating is even an option. Even worse, some people think it’s embarrassing to push back as if it’s somehow tied to their individual self-worth.

The same applies in business. Everything is negotiable. Everything.

To this point - a colleague (he calls himself post-economic - meaning super-rich) of mine often demonstrates this point by going into Starbucks and asking for a discount on his coffee latte (still trying to get him to switch to matcha). Clearly, he doesn’t need the discount. He does it because that is his mindset both in life and in business.

Lesson learned - Everything is negotiable. Negotiate as if you’re always in the middle of a cash crunch. If you don’t feel a tad bit uncomfortable by the level of your request/pushback you’re not asking for enough. That’s the right mindset you need to be successful in business.

The word “entrepreneur” originally comes from the combination of two Latin words, “entre”, to swim out; and “prendes”, to grasp, understand, or capture. Now swim out and capture your victory!

Lastly, the pandemic really has taught us to focus on what really matters. Authentic relationships with our customers, supporting our team members, and finding time and connection with our friends and loved ones. It’s been a hard year for a lot of people, but we will come out to the other side stronger and better.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

To keep up with our growth we’re about to add 12 new products to our current lineup. It’s been a lot of fun listening to our customer feedback and developing our new product line to align with our customer’s needs. One of our driving principles is to meet our customers wherever they are in their journey – whether in matcha or wellness.

We’re also excited to announce that we’re expanding internationally. We now have offices in Canada and we’re in talks with a UK distributor.

I think a positive trend that we are seeing coming out of the pandemic is people are looking for ways to reduce anxiety, de-stress and get better sleep. You see this playing out with the growing popularity of meditation apps, breathing apps, sleeping apps, (our matcha app!), and not to mention the growing CBD/Marijuana movement. Look for this trend to continue. P.S. Matcha is a perfect adjunct to all the above.

Have you read any good books in the last year?

One of the benefits of being on lockdown is it allows me to catch up on my reading. Man, the thing with reading is the more you think you know, the less you really do.

On business books

As far as “business books,” I can only stand them every so often – they most commonly talk about systems creation, management. These books are good for folks needing to develop a basic strategy and craft an evolving tactical plan that guides their general direction. Books that highlight tactics are valuable for entrepreneurs whose specific circumstances match those outlined in the book.

However, specific tactics of these books are often difficult to translate into markets outside those which they narrowly describe. One of the best quotes I’ve ever heard was, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” Mike Tyson.

Most business books are written by intelligent, accomplished, and informed individuals. A few might even be actual entrepreneurs in their own right. The reality though is that these entrepreneurs are not the intended target for such books, as publishers often target their books to a wider, more generalized audience. I feel like most of these books could be summarized in fewer than 5 pages. That’s not to say there aren’t excellent business books to be found. Look for the books that stand the test of time. Go with the classics.

At this point in my business career, I look at myself as a business. If I want to grow and evolve with the sole purpose of getting better and learning to be more adaptable, I need to invest in quality content and information. Always invest in yourself. They say you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with - books totally fall into this concept. Choose your people (and your books) wisely.

For me, this area of investment is in my own personal development and reading to understand what's happening around us through the lens of a historical perspective.

It’s a fundamental necessity to pull ourselves out of the micro vision (daily running of the business) and look out onto the macro landscape.

Everyone’s schedule is different but doing this as often as possible will not only give you more insight into yourself and running a business, it will also stimulate your creativity, problem-solving skills, and strengthen your ability to focus on your true north.

The most impactful book I’ve read this year is The Tao of Seneca, Practical Letters from a Stoic Master. I believe this book was done by Tim Ferriss, who is a big fan of stoicism.

The book is a compilation of letters written by Seneca The Younger to his friend Lucilius. Each letter contains practical advice on how to be (stoic), how to live, what’s important in life, and what’s not important in life. These letters provide a practical and principled philosophy of life while instilling a practical guide for navigating the business world. This should be mandatory reading for all college students.

The other book that’s been very impactful is The Laws of Human Nature, written by Robert Green. He’s the author of another must-read called, The 48 Laws of Power. From a personal development standpoint, this book has given some very good insight into why we often behave unconsciously of ourselves, acting irrationally and in contraction to logic and common sense.

From a business perspective, understanding peoples’ motivations are at the core of any interaction, be that as an employee or as a customer. To me, recognizing this simple fact feels like a requisite to being a leader – or – a champion of your brand messaging.

The other amazing book is called Salt, written by Mark Kurlansky. It follows the history of how humanity and salt have co-evolved together. Through the lens of business, it’s a great history lesson in developing markets, demand/scarcity, trends, cities, governments, and even general business strategies. The book also touches on how easily these can be destroyed. The lesson here is that human nature hasn’t changed at all, only different commodities.

Valuable business concepts, but therefore it’s also a cautionary tale.

If you want to predict the future, learn from the past.

Read anything by Kevin Kelly! Especially the 99 additional bits of unsolicited advice. It will change your life and possibly your business.

I also read a crazy (cautionary tale) story by Ray Bradbury called “There Will Come Soft Rains.” I won’t give it away.

I’ve been getting into Rich Roll’s podcast lately. With Dr. Weil as a guest, we’ve done quite a several podcasts by now, but Rich was extremely well-prepared, his line of questioning opened up the floor for Dr. Weil in ways unlike any before. I’d recommend everyone listen to his podcast, even the recent episode with Dr. Weil.

how-we-our-business-grew-300-yoy

Also, the new podcast by Kevin Rose is called “Modern.Finance.” I’m really intrigued by the crypto space (clearly the future on finance and a ton of other stuff). Kevin has gone ahead and distilled the tech so we non-techies can better understand it.

And last but not least “My First Million.” I was hesitant to add this podcast as I feel like I’m giving away my secret tactic toolbox. Developed by Sam Parr and Shaan Puri (from the Hustle Newsletter), the podcast originally consisted of people sharing their story of how they made their first $1M.

More recently, the podcast has matured and expanded to talk about much broader ideas and stories surrounding business tactics. If you’re not listening to these guys you're missing a total cheat sheet to business (and trends) today.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

If you’re in it just for the money you will likely not succeed.

Remember, cash = value given. Make sure you're on the right side of the equation.

If you’re struggling and unsure what to do, find a set of guiding principles; a rulebook of sorts, some type of methodical system that you can learn from.

Everything you need to be successful is out there and you just need to put in the leg work to find it! Find someone who is crushing it and ask for advice. You’d be surprised how helpful these folks will be if you reach out.

Ask yourself if you’re in the right business (at the right time) with the right product/service. Are you with the right people? Is it like ice skating uphill? Seriously, these are very important questions to ask if you’re struggling to grow your business. Take inventory and ask the hard questions: It could be that by changing just one of these areas the business will start growing again.

Oh, and find ways to create leverage (and multiplier effect) for your business.

Day-to-day Dos-

  1. Double down on content and education.
  2. Spend more time providing an amazing experience for the customers you already have. Chasing new customers is expensive. Remember, 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. Look up Pareto's principle.
  3. Follow Pareto’s Principle for all else as well.
  4. Always look/think for/about growth opportunities.
  5. If possible, control/guide the narrative in your space/industry.
  6. Pivot early and often. If your strategy is not working, try changing it.
  7. Leverage your network!
  8. Do more of what is working and stop doing what is not working.
  9. Leverage free marketing and advertising strategies and tools.
  10. Don’t fall into the trap of “paralysis by analysis.” Just get it out into the world - you can perfect it on the fly.
  11. Hire people whose strengths complement your weaknesses.
  12. Start each day with a proper mindset and/or ritual. Discipline = Freedom
  13. Tell your story (you’re why) to anyone and everyone that will listen.
  14. Smile when you're on the phone even though people can’t see you - they can feel you.

Day-to-day Do NOT’s

  1. Don't be a dick. If I have to explain what I mean - you’re probably a dick. This is the fastest way to lose my business.
  2. If your business is a SaaS business stop emailing me and asking if I have a few minutes to talk to you about why your product is different. It’s not different. What it is, is just plain lazy, and it’s the least amount of effort one can put forth. Those go right into my trash bin – especially those who ask if I have time for coffee (what!). Tip - If you want some of my time, demonstrate you know my brand by doing some homework, layout (and send the f--- pricing) some ideas that save me time, money, reduce costs, increase sales, etc. Or hell, buy some of our matcha and tell me why you love it. It comes down to hustle and value add. If you’re not hustling to provide value and stand out (and get my business) how can I trust you’ll hustle for my brand after I hire you? Maybe I’m old school but you have to work at least as hard (or as smart) to get my business as I work to get my customers’ business.
  3. Don’t spend so much time creating lists or organizing things just for the sake of organizing things. Busy work does not make the dream work.
  4. For me, checking (and responding) to emails first thing in the morning is counterproductive and it sucks the time away from really important tasks. I’m still working on this one myself.
  5. Don’t trust ROAS!
  6. Don't build a moat around yourself. Ask for help early and often - you don’t have to go at it alone.

The Pandemic was a difficult time for so many people and businesses. If you made it you’re a damn rockstar. If not, get back up and try again. The night is the darkest right before the light.

Some hard-earned advice to entrepreneurs struggling to grow their business or thinking about quitting altogether:

Since I was a 5th grader selling lollipops to my classmates I’ve always dreamed of having my own successful business. The road is long but...

Never give up (that does not mean don't pivot) because success is right over the next hill. So many times I’ve seen cases where the person was almost there but they gave up. It’s like a weird perverse cosmic challenge the universe puts people through.

I can speak from my own experience because I almost quit too. After years of hustling (and failing), building business after business, developing and launching products, pitching VCs, losing money, (making some money) and in some cases coming so close, I could almost taste success, only to have it fail on me at the last minute.

This was not only difficult for me it was also difficult for those close to me. It came down to one faithful day. After years of struggle and uncertainty, I was headhunted by a corporate recruiter for a C-level position out of state. It came with all the trappings of a great corporate job. The money was fantastic and the benefits were great. It meant job security, health insurance, PTO, car allowance, and a spending account.

I am certainly not knocking corporate jobs here - I just felt like spending my time enriching others and building their business was not me at my core. It was a difficult decision to make but it wasn't just about me or my dreams. My wife had stood by me and weathered the ups and downs of being married to a wannabe entrepreneur.

After years of struggle, I decided to take the job. We packed up and got ready for the move. I can still remember so vividly the night before we left, I was sitting alone in my (old office) thinking about what the meaning behind this new job was. At that moment I felt like the door was closing on the one thing I had put all my energy into, for such a long time.

I think I had a panic attack. It was like the universe was saying do not give up on your dream. I had been sitting on the idea (after traveling in Japan and falling in love with matcha) of starting a matcha business. At the time there was really no place to get great matcha. On the tail end of this panic, something in my mind felt like it switched on. I said f--k it and sent my ideas for the business to my current business partner.

I literally said, “It’s now or never.” He loved the idea, “Let’s do it.” The rest is history.

Or, should I say: he loved the idea but I still took the job; it took two years to get the business up and running. I got up early and worked on matcha for a few hours before going to my day job. I worked on it each night for a few hours after work. I worked on it on the weekends and my days off. I took calls on my lunch break, built the website during my vacation time, and launched the brand on a 3-day holiday weekend.

Ok, now the rest is history.

One of my favorite Japanese proverbs is “Fall 7, but rise 8.”

how-we-our-business-grew-300-yoy
Andrew Weil and André Fasciola enjoying an Arizona sunset / Copyright Andre Fasciola 2021

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Yes! As the business grows we’re hiring for a National Sales Manager for our expanding food service/wholesale/B2B business.

We’re also hiring for an extremely talented and creative content creator (video and collab) and producer for our (upcoming) podcast and video channels. We’re going to be investing heavily into our Youtube/Tik Tok channels Q3/Q4 and next year.

We are also hiring for a Social/Business Collaboration Guru/Ambassador Development Extraordinaire.

Last but not least, I’m hiring someone to find me Mark Wahlberg’s cell phone number! Better even - make an introduction!

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

-  
Andre Fasciola ,   Founder of Matcha.com
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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