If you only learned one thing, you got value. Too often we immediately try to break down if something was worth our time, i.e. going to a trade show, watching a webinar, If you know everything and isolate yourself, you will not be able to grow your company. After I received that advice and perspective, I now look at everything I invest my time or money into and value it by simply asking myself if I learned one thing from it.
As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alane Boyd.
Alane Boyd is Founder and CEO of BurgerFit, which makes burgers made of ground meat and blended vegetables to get everyone from 2 to 92 years old to eat healthier, whether they know it or not. Alane believes there is a middle ground between plant-based burgers and fully ground meat burgers by blending meat and vegetables together, and by doing so, you actually get a healthier burger.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I started BurgerFit after a lifetime of fighting being overweight and was diagnosed with high blood pressure in my late 20s. I decided I had to start making lifelong changes to my diet, or I’d be on medication for the rest of my life. I lost 40 pounds and have kept it off for almost ten years (here is a side-by-side of me https://bit.ly/2DFtZvb). I started eating healthier, but I realized my family didn’t want to, so I began sneaking vegetables into ground beef burgers, and it worked! Seeing the positive impact these healthy recipes made on my family, I continued developing several more and testing them out. After discovering all the positive changes these recipes made in my life, I’m driven to give more families the opportunity to enjoy mealtime together and eat healthier, one burger at a time.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
BurgerFit is disrupting the burger industry by introducing a blended meat + veggie burger. We all know the big splash that the Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat have made, however, according to Gallup only 5% of the US population is vegetarian (https://bit.ly/3iS3Vf3), which still leaves most Americans in need of a healthier burger option. Up until now, you either ate a burger that was 100% vegan/vegetarian or ate a burger that was 100% ground meat. At BurgerFit, we believe there is a way to enjoy burgers that are more sustainable than the traditional option but healthier and without all of the fillers and chemicals, you find in most plant-based options.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I originally started, I had created BurgerFit as a cookbook. I thought people having the same struggles I was, where I couldn’t get my family to eat healthy, were going to want to make BurgerFit for dinner. After doing 3,000 BurgerFit samples around the country, I learned two things: 1. People loved BurgerFit and 2. People wanted to buy the burgers, not have to make them! I learned that in everything you do with your company, you cannot discredit customer discovery. You have to know who your customer is and what they need.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
There are so many people that have helped along the way. One of the first people I met after we launched BurgerFit was the creator of Buns of Steel, the 90s video craze. He came up to me at a trade-show in Nashville to express how much he loved the idea of BurgerFit. He then met me for lunch following our initial meeting and gave me great advice on the next steps I should take and introduced me to other great mentors. These serendipitous meetings are fantastic reminders to keep putting yourself out there because you never know who you will meet!
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
Positive changes often stem from a time of disruption. I love seeing disruptive companies that have missions to make the world a better place, whether their efforts are focused on improving health, quality of living, or convenience. AirBnB is a great example. It gave access to much more comfortable stays when traveling, and in most cases it would be cheaper than a hotel. It also provided a source of income for people. I’ve heard so many great stories from people that AirBnB saved them financially. With that being said, I think convenience is also where we see the negative side of disruption. We are so quick to come up with a solution for any minor inconvenience that we end up producing low-quality products that we don’t really need. Most of these flash in the pan products we end up throwing in the trash a couple of months down the road when we’ve grown tired of it or it’s fallen apart.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
- If you only learned one thing, you got value. Too often we immediately try to break down if something was worth our time, i.e. going to a trade show, watching a webinar, If you know everything and isolate yourself, you will not be able to grow your company. After I received that advice and perspective, I now look at everything I invest my time or money into and value it by simply asking myself if I learned one thing from it.
- Stop worrying about if someone is going to steal your idea. Yes, ideas do get stolen sometimes but your hurting your company more by not putting yourself out there. It takes time, resources, and a vision for someone to steal your idea. You hold the vision, they can’t steal that from you. They will always be a step behind or a hundred steps behind. Even companies with deep pockets and massive customers can’t successfully steal ideas, just look at Google+.
- Read and constantly be learning. I used to think I knew everything. Wow, I was so dumb. No one had a successful company because they had every great idea ever created. We have to build our knowledge and get ideas from others, learning where they made mistakes and had successes. It can help you company grow faster and create a great company culture.
Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business. Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?
Networking is such a key component of lead generation. I have made so many wonderful connections by attending trade shows and most recently the AGLaunch Bootcamp. I would recommend to anyone to research the various events and development opportunities related to their industry. Aside from the knowledge you will obtain, you will also meet so many people that can help make your dream a reality.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
We can’t tell all of our secrets! But expansion and brand awareness are a priority. Our customers have told us several stories of the positive impact BurgerFit has made in their lives and we want to get the word out even more. Plus, there are a lot more veggies that can be snuck into food.
Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?
I absolutely love “How I Built This” podcast by Guy Razz https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510313/how-i-built-this. When a company brand becomes mainstream, you are only seeing the end result of their efforts. You don’t see the hardship and pain they went through for years to get there. The “How I Built This” podcast interviews entrepreneurs that have successfully built up their companies into brands we all know. You also get to hear the years of building that went into their company to make it successful.
I am reading Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller (https://www.amazon.com/Building-StoryBrand-Clarify-Message-Customers/dp/0718033329) right now and it has been incredible. I wish I would have read it years ago when building my software company. There is a formula when telling a good story and your business needs to be following that story.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Don’t compare yourself to others, only compare yourself to your previous self. Am I better than I was yesterday, last week, last year? — Alane Boyd
I can be really hard on myself and most people probably find themselves in similar situations. I’ve had to train myself to not compare myself to others. I will always come up inadequate when I do that. Instead, I just have to focus on how I’ve improved and my goals to continue to improve. Focus on improving yourself and your situation and you will keep making progress!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Eat more vegetables. It is that simple. 90% of Americans, both adults and kids, do not eat the recommended amount of vegetables in a day. That is substantial! If we all ate more vegetables, our personal health would improve, resources that are being used to raise massive amounts of livestock would be reduced and improve the well-being of animals, and it would make a better place for our planet. It is better for people, animals, and the planet.
How can our readers follow you online?
Personal Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_hurricanealane
Personal LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alaneboyd/
BurgerFit Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/getburgerfit
BurgerFit Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/getburgerfit
BurgerFit Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/getburgerfit
BurgerFit Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/getburgerfit
BurgerFit LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/getburgerfit
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!