Competitive Edge

What is BUZZ COCOA? It’s an ingenious blend of caffeine and cocoa – making for one energizing cup of hot chocolate! Why do I mention this on an article entitled “Competitive Edge” you might ask?

Because I have edge on the competition.

Not strict advantage – I haven’t been around long enough to muster a name as bold as Carnegie or Rockefeller. But nonetheless, I have established a strong personal brand and several months ago set out to establish the #1 Caffeinated Hot Chocolate Brand in the world.

We’ve had orders from everywhere – US, Canada, the UK, Australia, Latvia, and throughout Europe. The BUZZ COCOA brand went from nothing to being on the 1st page of Google for “caffeinated hot chocolate” in just 3 months, and we’re on our way to surpass any other listings in the near future.

What other crazy things are we doing??

  • Negotiating large wholesale agreements with both mid-tier & big box retailers
  • Getting some sweet PR deals (currently can’t be disclosed)
  • Rocking your Snapchat filters (more to come!)

Aside from going GLOBAL in just 6 short months, we’re working with investors, brokers, and retailers in the hopes of stocking your local shopping centers with the BUZZ. It’s an incredibly time consuming and scrupulous venture, but completely worth it in the end. Why? Because of competitive edge.

Business boils down to timing and execution. I believe that I have done both flawlessly.

And I’ll surely toot my own horn at that. Five, six years ago, you would have seen Swiss Miss trying to establish a caffeinated hot chocolate mix. Great idea! But you only put 98mg of caffeine in there… pathetic. That wouldn’t even wake up my grandmother.

And then a few years after you saw some pre-adopters – companies trying to make moves in an uncharted industry. There were two companies that did well, but their appeal died out and people vaguely knew about their brand identity. Not with BUZZ. You see, even reading this right now, and sharing this post across whatever social network you’re on only brings more power to the BUZZ COCOA brand name.

And in an effort to promote the BUZZ COCOA brand, I’ve been taking gigantic steps in the right direction for our PR presence – which includes, but is not limited to, our Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Business Collaborations, Press Articles, and so much more. We’re not even talking about some of the awesome stuff that’s about the debut before and during the summer.

So really, what is this Competitive Edge? Well, as many of us learn about Industrialization in America, the term Competitive Advantage came from what a business had over its competitors – betters workers, better facilities, better location. Or in my case, a better brand. I can assure you, in ten years, BUZZ COCOA will become commonplace in the United States, and the better part of the developed world.

I want to bring BUZZ COCOA everywhere.

My competitors simply want to test the market, profit, and sustain. Business projects should have a life cycle, regular products should have a life cycle – but when your product is a LIFESTYLE, it doesn’t come to a close, and it doesn’t stop. It keeps me on edge, wanting more. It keeps going.

That’s what my Competitive Edge is. And it’s that exact edge which keeps me alert and focused on building this brand and the product offerings it includes. Seriously, check out some of the stuff BUZZ has been doing.

And not to mention that our Snapchat has been BLOWING UP! Friends, I thank you so much for your follows and Snapbacks – they mean the world! But just in case you missed one of our Snapchat stunts in NYC this past week, below is a video summing up one of our experiences with Snapchat geofilters…

Still, while our PR stunts and awesome products may be getting us through now, there is much more going on behind the scenes in development for what will be coming. The BUZZ COCOA brand is going to revolutionize the way you energize your life and excite your world.

If there’s one thing you should walk away with from this article, it’s to build your own Competitive Edge. Find your passion within your current business or area of employment and beat it to a pulp – own that passion. Am I allowed to wake up and say to myself, “Eh, I don’t want to be the cocoa guy anymore,” really am I? To achieve a Competitive Edge, I won’t even mutter those words to myself, let alone think them.

To have the edge, you have to be all in.

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Follow BUZZ COCOA‘s journey to greatness on Snapchat (open on mobile): http://snpcht.me/BUZZCOCOA

Consistency (or the lack thereof)

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Consistency is something that you rarely find reflected in every aspect of our lives. The term “work-life balance” has come out of the woodwork as more millennials aspire to avoid the long hours and the stress which comes with a lucrative career. Funnily enough, many people have turned to entrepreneurship as some sort of “safe haven” of limitless time, excitement, partying and playing bad-boy in the boardroom. It’s actually hilarious.

You see, over the past few months, I have hyper-focused myself on business (in addition to my scholarly pursuits), and haven’t even found the energy to make a well, thought-out post until now. Truly, there’s been a lack of consistency on my part in regards to this blog, and so I will use that deficiency as an example for this piece.

I published my last post on August 13th, 2015 regarding Beaches & Brands, and what they had in common. Since then, I have taken the liberty of beginning a niche, new product by the name of BUZZ COCOA – a caffeinated hot chocolate blend (www.BUZZCOCOA.com). The product has been doing quite well, and I’m currently in talks with big box retailers who are interested in placing some BUZZ in their storefronts. While there has been much success with the product, there has been even more time sacrificed to make the business work.

(Psst…if you want to try some of my delicious cocoa, use “BARDEN20” for 20% off your order)

Alright, got my shameless plug in there, now back to the meat and potatoes. The work I began seven odd months ago led to a tremendous pile of deadlines and stress in a field I was definitely not well-versed in. I had never launched a consumer product, and being consistently concerned with the product appeal, its progress, and next steps, I almost lost my mind. Not to mention the logistics department, which consisted of only myself, and was pretty much a stand-up comedy show for the first week. Literally, I would stand for hours as I put together packages and readied them for shipment. Let me correct something I said: I actually did lose my mind.

The progress was great, the business was booming, and the feedback was always positive, but my head was spinning.

Amongst all the other obligations I had in my life, finding the balance between my work and life became much harder. I would sometimes slip into what I called “cocoa-comas,” where I would be working for hours upon end with my phone on silent, completely out of touch with the world and what else I had to get done. After several weeks of this, I realized that I wasn’t doing myself any good by obsessing over everything BUZZ, and ignoring all other to-do’s. That’s when I came up with a plan and set out to achieve that balance.

The above video shows Admiral William H. McRaven giving the 2014 commencement speech at the University of Texas at Austin. To save yourself some time, you can skip to the 4:45 minute mark where the golden truth reveals itself. The Admiral says that in basic Navy SEAL training, he was instructed to make his bed each and every morning. Sounds silly, right? Why would young men training to become hardened warriors need to make their beds? He continues on to explain that the reasoning behind making your bed each morning (as the first task) stimulates your brain in such a way that it recognizes the little accomplish of making your bed, and encourages you to keep making more accomplishments throughout the day.

So I did just that. I went ahead and made sure I perfected the art of making my bed, each and every morning. By the end of the first week, I saw noticeable changes in my morning routine. I would wake up each morning groggy, wanting to hit snooze one last time. But when I saw that reminder saying, “Make bed,” I would drag myself out of bed into a standing position, begin making my bed, and once I forced myself to smooth out the creases and round the edges – I snapped out of my grogginess and felt good about what I had just accomplished. It actually worked.

Now that I had found the way to start my mornings out right, I began undertaking more accomplishments. I would set a list each day of what I needed to get done (in addition to any meetings or prior commitments), and before bed each night I would review those to-do’s and see how much I accomplished. Since I began making my bed to perfection each morning – consistently – I saw my productivity dramatically increase. That tiny accomplishment at the beginning of my day has now given me the extra push I’ve needed to get things done.

That brings me to our topic at hand: consistency, and the work-life balance enigma. In order to master this higher power of work-life balance, one must achieve consistency in all that they do. But in order to achieve consistency, one must be consistent in the little things. For those little things pivot our thinking at a delicate pace, so-much-so as to not overwhelm you with the overbearing feeling of “too much”. Start small and work your way up.

Finally, the application – how do we blend the theory of consistency and the application of success? Well, correlating consistency and success is a start. But to fully bridge the gap, we need to address one final facet of the struggling millennial mind…entrepreneurship. Being an entrepreneur is really a great endeavor – you work in your own world of creativity and development, immune to the red tape of regular corporate conglomerates. Plus, if you’re good enough, you might end up becoming the 6th richest person in the world.

All fantasies aside, the path to entrepreneurial success is not as simple as setting up a website, buying business cards, incorporating your LLC, and putting together a pitch deck. It’s not all about strategy and vision. A majority of entrepreneurs these days miss out on the most key component to success: determined perseverance, also known as hard work. I use that fancy terminology because it has a place in what we’ve just discussed.

Mastering your work and your life requires achieving consistency in both. In order to achieve consistency, one must be consistent in the little things. In all areas, the little things are what annoy us most, and so they require determined perseverance.

Push yourself. Identify what you want out of your life and your work and push yourself. That’s the only way you will see the results you want. And you cannot simply pass over the little things. As my good friend Shia LaBeouf once said, “Just do it.”

Actually, what might help you get focused is a little jolt of energy. I may be biased, but each serving size of BUZZ COCOA has the same effects as a strong cup of coffee. Let’s not forget that I’ll give you 20% off if you use “BARDEN20” at checkout…

Speaking of shameless product placement, I can check that off my to-do list now! #Accomplished

What do Beaches and Brands Have in Common?

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Personally, nothing sounds better than the crashing of waves and a light breeze off the water. The embodiment of vacation, the pinnacle of summer – the beach has been a haven to many people. Residents and tourists alike continually come back to the shore for more. Having grown up in New Jersey, I can accurately attest to the seasonal return of the tourists to our sand-filled paradise.

So what do beaches and brands have in common exactly?

Well, beaches are what brands strive for: to be a perfect, self-sustaining, self-marketing, economic mechanism. Brands seek to sell themselves with a catchy slogan, unique logo, and a slew of advertising campaigns – with the hope of building a strong enough name that they might alleviate their marketing budget just a tad bit, while still accumulating more and more consumers.

Beaches do this perfectly, and rather innately too. Beaches are warm, comfortable, and provide a sense of relaxation as you lounge back on your Tommy Bahama beach chair. If you find yourself on an island getaway, the “beach butlers” will refill your beverage of choice within seconds, and if you’re lucky enough, they will also fan you with palm tree branches. What a life!

Granted you are a fan of going to the beach, doesn’t that sound absolutely wonderful?

But wait. We forgot the most important details! How do you get to this sand-filled paradise? Ah, right, the long drive, the plane ride, the bus trek – the hours upon hours of traffic, both there and back, just for a few hours of precious seawater and sticky-sand.

If it’s such a pain getting to this so-called paradise, why do we make the trip over and over again, multiple times a summer, each and every year? The answer is simple: the beach is a perfect brand.

Think of the top brands in the world… Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Apple, Microsoft… We will sometimes go out of our way to get what we want from these brands. Whether it be discount Coca-Cola, the newest iPhone, or a midnight release of the Surface Pro Ultimate 5000 – I guarantee you that people will setup camp and sleep outside the store, just to have first dibs on this brand.

The beach is no different. In fact, we’re crazier for making those long trips to the beach more so than waiting outside all night for the next iPhone. At least we get to go home with something tangible, right?

Let’s breakdown the elements of attraction for beach-goers, and identify ways for you to implement these elements within your startup or pre-existing business.

Supply & Demand

Face it, when anyone heads down to the beach or the shore, what’s the one thing you can count on? Price gouging. Now while the prices offered at most beach towns are higher than prices inland, it’s certainly not illegal. But it sure is infuriating.

The way beach businesses sell their products and services exhibit the natural principle of supply & demand. As a convenience, you can get food, purchase beach equipment and attire, and rent rooms, all at a higher cost! Considerably, it’s a fantastic business model that more people should be making use of.

For your business: Analyze your prices, and identify your supply & demand curves.

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Taken from Investopedia.com. Click here!

 

Comfort & Control

Piggy-backing off the first point, comfort comes from the lack of inconvenience, which is solved by the close proximity of almost everything that you will need while relaxing at the shore. The beach allows you to take comfort and soak in some sun, forgetting about all your worries (unless of course you have kids). Still, even with family, the sand-filled wonderland becomes quite the enjoyable adventure.

But what is so innately attractive about the beach? It’s the fact that you have complete control over your time there. Want to set up a tent? Go for it. Want to just lay out in the sand until the high tide crashes over you? Fine by me! The beach gives you the option to do whatever you want (within the confines of the law, of course). That’s absolutely incredible. When was the last time Burger King really let you have it your way?

For your business: give your consumers options, because everyone loves options. Burger King even built their whole marketing campaign around the idea of options – so that’s something of merit!

Simplicity

Finally, the inherent simplicity behind a day at the beach is something to marvel at. It’s just sand, water, and good weather! You could do that in your own backyard – so why make the trip down? It’s the fact that this simple yet invigorating experience lets you comfortably relax on your own terms, while enjoying the convenient treasures which surround you in the local beach town of your choice. It really doesn’t get any better than that

For your business: Don’t over-complicate your startup. Unless you’re in the finance, insurance, or medical field, it only penalizes your business if you over-complicate your product.

 

That’s all I have for now. Hopefully my insight on why beaches and brands are similar will help provide your business with a tactful advantage over your competition! Remember, supply, demand, comfort, control, and simplicity. Don’t sweat it.