In this interview, David shares the story of how Planned Grocery started as a side project of parent company Beitz and Daigh Geographics. He goes over 3 rules for business, talks about why he wanted to build a product, and how it’s driven his company’s growth. He discusses the wide diversity of clients the company attracts, how he leverages content marketing and the benefits of keeping their target market highly focused. Finally, he muses on some entrepreneurship lessons he wishes he had learned sooner.
Matt Vaadi is a serial entrepreneur. He’s the founder and CEO of ERG Payroll & HR, a company that helps small businesses streamline and automate their HR function. He’s also the founder and CEO of Grow by ERG, a digital marketing and SEO shop, as well as a founding member of GrowCo.
David Beitz is the Co-founder of Planned Grocery, a market research platform that maps and aggregates data on new grocery stores that are planned, under development, or have been built within the last six months. The platform is used by a wide variety of clients to quickly and easily conduct market research in the grocery space, including grocery chains, real estate, and development companies, investment firms, and salespeople.
Watch the 3 Rules for Business: Grow Camp with David Beitz interview here:
Rules for Business #1: Learn to qualify new business
One of the biggest mistakes David feels he made early on was taking on projects that just weren’t worth it. It’s a challenge that all entrepreneurs face. Whether because the client was difficult to work with, the project wasn’t a good fit, or they wanted to negotiate creative invoice terms (“I’ll pay you when I get paid”), David says new entrepreneurs should take the time to properly evaluate new opportunities.
“Learn to understand which projects to take and which ones to pass on.”
As you’re trying to grow a small business, it can be tempting to gloss over the qualification process with new potential clients, but doing so will only cost you time and money down the road. Be careful with the work you take on.
Rules for Business #2. Charge more than you think you should
“Don’t be afraid to charge what you think you’re worth.”
One of the mistakes new entrepreneurs make is charging too little—often because they underestimate how much work a project will actually take. David shares a piece of advice one of his mentors gave him on why what you think your work is worth is probably too low.
“There are three things you have to do whenever you’re thinking about your business. You’ve got to get the work, you’ve got to do the work, and you’ve got to get paid for the work—which is why you need to charge three times more than what you think you should.”
Remember that rule of three. Things always take longer than you think, and there are always unexpected obstacles. Don’t be afraid to charge enough to cover what a project will actually take.
In addition to pricing intelligently, build up-front payments into your contracts. David recommends putting it in the contract that you will invoice for 25%-50% of the cost at project commencement. You’ll be surprised at how few customers push back. If they do, that’s likely a red flag anyway.
Rules for Business #3. Build a product
Planned Grocery started as a side project of the parent company Beitz and Daigh Geographics. At the time, the company was focused on doing bespoke market research projects as a service, but David knew he wanted to build a product. They had recently brought on a new partner with a technical background, so Planned Grocery became a side project they worked on when other projects were slow. Now, Planned Grocery has become the main business, with revenues far surpassing their service offerings.
Creating a product helps you get out of the cycle of trading time for money, and allows you to build a business that scales exponentially instead of linearly. It creates a source of monthly recurring revenue.
If you currently have a service business, see if you can leverage it to create a product. The revenues from your service business can fund the R&D, and the knowledge and insights you gain from working with clients can help you create a product your customers will use.
About Planned Grocery
What started as a side project at a research firm is now the premier platform for tracking national expansion in the grocery market. It’s been featured in Bloomberg, Business Insider, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal, and has a client list that includes Whole Foods, Wegmans, and FreshDirect. The platform is used by a diverse and growing list of professionals, and is constantly innovating to stay ahead of the competition.
Of, by, and for founders, GrowCo is a collaborative partnership focused on sparking an explosion of entrepreneurial activity in Columbia, SC. GrowCo provides the community, mentorship, visibility, access to talent, and access to capital that high-impact, high-growth companies need to thrive and change the world. Our vision is simple: 10X the number of Inc 5000 companies in the next 10 years.
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