Business Journey Update

Thoughts

Here’s a peak behind the scenes at McKenzie’s Meats. 

This blog post isn’t strictly meat related, it focuses on the business side of McKenzie’s Meats.

I delve into the numbers, touch on what seems to be working (based on your feedback and the numbers) and I reveal some challenges.

My mission is clear: to help you access the best meat and in turn, improve your health plus save you time and money so you can pour your energy into what you truly care about.

I won’t be successful on my mission if McKenzie’s Meat isn’t a great business

(This point may seem obvious, but I’ll keep going because I think this it’s often-overlooked)

With business growth comes scale. More sales mean we can bring on more team members. We can invest in better software. We can spend more time on processes. I can spend less time in the weeds and more time focusing on the big picture ensuring our customers are get the best service possible.

In short, the better we are, the better we can serve you.

If I’m to serve 1,000 of you (and that’s my goal), then McKenzie’s Meats needs to be an excellent business.

I’m going to share my journey with you - ups and downs. 

Whether McKenzie’s Meats becomes a ‘success’ remains to be seen. But, the odds of us learning something along the way, and enjoying the challenge, are firmly in our favour.

So, where are we at right now?

Subscribers = 47

We are lucky enough to have 47 of you subscribed to receive our exceptional meat on an ongoing basis. The frequency of delivery varies from every week to every month and the size of order varies from 4kgs through to 12kgs+.

In March of this year we got to 64 subscribers (our most ever). Since then, our subscriber base has shrunk a little and this is due to a combination of factors (I think):

  • McKenzie's Meats used to be subscription only but due to demand for a more flexible arrangement, we now offer one-off purchases and subscriptions.
  • We've put less energy into social media and focusesd on nailing our systems and caring for our existing customers. It can be draining posting on socials all the time but, I think it’s time to revisit our social media approach as it does help more people find us!
  • Inconsistency overall. Life can get in the way and when it does, business often takes a backwards step. The lesson here is to have systems in place so when things start to slip, there’s a process and a team there to keep the plane flying! 

(This graph shows our subscriber base from 1st of January 2021 to present.)

Monthly revenue = $18,792 (May, 2021)

Our total revenue has been fairly steady in 2021. Our best month was February where we did $20,151. The reasons for a slight decline in overall revenue are similar to the factors outlined above. 


(This graph shows our revenue since inception. Note, revenue for June looks low as the month isn’t over yet, it’s the 22nd of June at time of writing.)

Instagram followers = 1,218 (growth has slowed recently due to less posting)

Email list = 285 (about 24% of you open my Weekly Special email each week)

Products = Grass-fed and finished beef and lamb, sow-stall free pork and free-range chicken (Canberra only).
Plus, we have recently started stocking Undivided Food Co’s ready to drink bone broths (very popular) and Spicery’s range of crap-free spices (launched last week).

5 star reviews on TrustPilot = 22 (this is the stat I’m most proud of). 
You can check out our reviews here https://www.trustpilot.com/review/mckenziesmeats.com.au

Locations = Sydney-wide and the Canberra region
Canberra has been going from strength to strength led by Jimmy and his team.
Next weekend I’m headed to Canberra to do a Meat Day with Jimmy and check out his operation. In bizarre Covid circumstances, I haven’t checked out Jimmy’s set-up yet and couldn’t even make it to Canberra to help Jimmy launch. This is a story worth delving into more in the future.

Average order size = $156, we’ve been fairly consistent at this level all year.

Most popular product = Premium thick sausages
Most popular meatbox = Beef & Lamb Classic (8kg)

So, what’s working well?

Flexibility

We listened to your feedback and we’ve made our service more flexible.

You can subscribe with one click and get meat delivered ongoing based on your chosen frequency. Or, you can purchase any of our products as a one-off.

Also, you can now create your own custom meatbox. Custom boxes are becoming more and more popular, as they say, variety is the spice of life.

Quality of products

We continue to get great feedback on the quality of our meat. This is crucial and it’s our number one priority. We’ve also had great feedback about the Undivided Food Co. ready to drink bone broths.

Dedicated delivery drivers

We have a steady team of four delivery drivers who take great care in ensuring your meatbox is delivered safely and on time to your home. They also do a great job of collecting your used cooler bags and gel packs.

Partnership with Field to Feast

For the last month or so, our delivery team has delivered Field to Feast’s fruit and veggie boxes along with our meatboxes. This has been a win-win for both businesses - our delivery system has become more efficient and both businesses have gained a few new customers.

Weekly Special

In early April I started writing a ‘Weekly Special’ email to our subscriber base. These emails have given our customers great deals like half-priced bacon and free sausages. Writing the newsletter has forced me tp write more and in turn I’ve formed a deeper connection with many of you.

I use a mail software system called Klaviyo, it has been a revelation! Templates look professional, it’s easy to get the hang of and it gives you access to useful data points like open rate, link clicks and time of open, all broken down by subscriber.

If you’d like to receive my Weekly Newsletter head to our home page and sign up (it’s free).

What challenges are we facing?

Here are three big challenges McKenzie's Meats is facing right now. The first is specific to the meat industry, the other two are universal challenges most businesses face.

1. Price of meat

Meat is expensive right now relative to years gone by. The best explanation I can give is this: during the drought farmers couldn’t afford to feed their animals so they cleared out their stock by selling their animals. In the last couple of years it has rained and there’s been an abundance of grass. It’s been the perfect opportunity for farmers to restock by breeding. This means they’ve sent less animals to market, instead focusing on multiplying their current stock. Lower supply and steady demand = higher prices.


(This graph shows the price of cattle over the last 3 years. The top line is 2021 (face palm). Source: https://www.mla.com.au/prices-markets/#)

On top of this, it seems like the price of everything is going up?! Getting into the nitty gritty on inflation is beyond me... but, when the price of petrol, coffee, property, stocks and everything else is going up I tend to think we have a little inflation going on. Will it stick around? I have no idea.

2. Using time wisely

I’m not the only one who struggles with knowing how to best spend their time. A big chunk of what needs to be done at McKenzie’s Meats simply keeps the business tracking along as is. I often find myself thinking ‘will this move the needle?’ Often the answer is ‘no’. 

The most valuable time is what I call ‘creator time’. It’s when you go deep and assign time to think, to learn and to write. When I do this, good things happen. The challenge is to find this time consistently.

3. Growing organically

I’ve never had much luck with paid advertising on Google or Instagram/Facebook. Obviously it works, otherwise millions of businesses wouldn’t pay these internet giants for advertising. But, for me, I’ve never had much success. The reason for my lack of success is most likely because I haven’t assigned enough budget to testing to get the results I want.

And right now, I’m locked out of paid advertising on Instagram. I’m not sure why I’m locked out, maybe my content doesn’t align with Facebook’s ideology? Maybe I’ve pissed off too many vegans? Either way, I need to get to the bottom of this and unlock my Insta asap.

I definitely prefer to grow organically - through word of mouth and through people finding McKenzie’s Meats because they’re looking for our service. I love hearing people say they’ve been looking for this service for years and they’ve finally found it!

And of course, growing organically doesn’t cost money. It costs time, effort and love. And right now I have an abundance of all three (maybe not time, but you get the point).


(My fiancee Grace and I packing the meatboxes last week. Mike, our meatbox packing extraordinaire has been out of action the last month or so getting a hip replacement. And Jiri, our other meatbox packing hero, has moved to the Gold Coast. Grace has kindly stepped in to fill their shoes for a week or two. She specialises in playing music, dancing and putting stickers on meat!)

My biggest focus for the next three months is to give you more value. Whether it’s by adding more products, streamlining our systems, writing/creating more helpful content or all of the above, if I give more value, McKenzie’s Meats will grow.

2021 Goals

  • 100 subscribers by 31/12/2021
  • 100 5 star reviews on Trustpilot by 31/12/2021
  • On-board a Virtual Assistant to help with customer service and posting on social media so I can find more ‘creator time’
  • Write a long-form article each month with incredible photos detailing my adventures visiting primary producers around Australia

Useful resources

If you like reading and thinking about business and entrepreneurship, I have some podcasts to recommend.

Tropical MBA - Location independent entrepreneurship

This is a great episode from two weeks ago about creating online communities https://www.tropicalmba.com/creating-meaningful-online-communities/
And if you want to hear some of my mutterings, I feature from 22:20 into this episode on Covid businesses https://www.tropicalmba.com/mailbag-september-2020/

Anthony Pompliano - All things crypto

In this episode Pomp interviews Shaan Puri about being a ‘Solo-Capitalist’, well worth a listen for those running small businesses and building a brand https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZJ-ZCPFJc0

Michael Covell - Trend Following investing and philosophy

Covell is loud, brash and says what’s on his mind. He also interviews very interesting thinkers like Daniel Kanemahn and Tim Ferriss. Well worth a listen, his rants will kick you into gear!

More business journey updates to come.

I’m planning to share regular updates on the business side of McKenzie’s Meats. 

Writing this post and delving into the numbers was initially quite painful.

I deliberately don’t look at the numbers very often because I know they're not where I want them to be and I just prefer to avoid their raw honesty.

However, this has been a cathartic experience. It’s a reminder that there’s something special happening at McKenzie’s Meats and while we're small now, we ARE helping people.

There’s a sturdy base in place (I’m a poet..), and plenty to build on. 

May the power of compounding work it’s magic and improve our numbers for the next addition of the Business Journey Update!

A bit of magic and plenty of elbow grease required from here.

If there’s anything you want to know or would like me to include in the next Business Journey Update, let me know in the comments below.

Similarly, if you have any ideas or feedback, post them below. Your input would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for reading, I hope you got something out of this deep dive into the business side of McKenzie's Meats.

Speak soon,
Simon.


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  • Tom Roets (aka Carnivore_man also Tomultuous_roets on

    This is a fantastic insight into your business, thanks for sharing. I will look into your subscription service more. Are you based in Canberra?


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