1000Four and Popcorn Sales

What to sell when you don’t have a finished product

My friend Zack Miller came up with the 1000Four concept after realizing that cities were spending their time bringing massive companies to the area to spur economic development. Instead of four one-thousand person companies, he realized it’s far better to diversify your workforce with 1000 four-person companies. That way if there’s ever any economic downturn, the economy can rebound with lots of smaller firms.

The same is true for inside a company. Your very best investor is a customer. In terms of business health, it’s far better to have 1000 people pay you $4.00 than 4 people pay you $1000. That means you have 1000 people that you’ve given value to.

Entrepreneurs spend a lot of time whale-hunting and not much time fishing. Fishing takes time. Fishing takes patience. Whale-hunting is big, flashy and exciting. Whale-hunting is an adventure whereas fishing is a way to make a living.

From Captain Ahab in Moby Dick: “How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there’s naught beyond.”

By focusing on investors, you’re not paying attention to anything beyond. Every business relies on delivering value to it’s customers and taking care of it’s employees. It’s pretty damn simple. Sell the idea. Make a product. Sell it. Make it better.

I went to a conference in New Jersey a few months back and on my way there I stayed with an old family friend. They have a son who sells popcorn with his boyscout troop. He’s a popcorn tycoon, with an insane amount of sales for a teenager.

But when I looked around the house for the inventory of all the popcorn he sells for his boyscout troop, I couldn’t find any. Turns out all he does is go around and sign people up for pre-orders of popcorn. When the time comes to collect, he just checks back in with all of his customers and delivers the product.

This is the smartest way of selling. What he’s doing is proving that there is a market, that there is a demonstrated demand for popcorn. By proving the demand, he then can deliver product.

It’s all in the communication of an idea. At Spira we’ve been struggling for a long time on how to get the proper communication across because not many people have heard of spirulina. A good example of the problem we’re facing is what Ford faced when they were first marketing cars. They called it the “horseless carriage” in order to have people make the association between what they know and this strange new technology. Here’s what I got so far (let me know what you think):

Spira brews a tea made of distilled sunlight using spirulina, the very best thing nature can provide for your muscles. We’re working to enable anyone to tap into the power of the sun to own their nutrition.

We have three products we’re working on: spirulina home growth kits (if you’re interested sign-up here), better-tasting spirulina powder, and a prebiotic beverage.

Right now we’re in the popcorn stage building those 1000 customer connections. If you think we’re making something awesome and you can’t wait to get your hands on some, drop me a line at e@drinkspira.com. I’d love to hear from you.