Expanding your business organically - Eli Crane of Bottle Breacher


My name is eli korean. And i'm the founder and ceo of bottle bottlebuster. We are a veteran owned made in the usa brand operating out of tucson arizona. I started this company in a one car garage in san diego. California with my wife jen. Who's also still my partner. We specialize in personalized man gifts in borrower. Some of your audience might of seen us on the abc hit television. Show shark tank in two thousand fourteen on the veterans day special win. We went on the show. We had about five employees and now we have between thirty five and forty five. Depending on the time of year basically our goal is to build the biggest baddest made in the usa that are known brand in the world. And it's pretty cool because of this last year forbes actually ranks us as the thirteenth in the top twenty five military or veteran owned companies in the united states. So we're getting close in. We're halfway there but we still got a lot of work to do. And so we're excited about the future. And so are you still in san diego now. No we're actually operating at a tucson arizona move there. I was exiting the navy and i was getting out of the military and my wife is actually from tucson and a lot of people that are in small business in california. I know that there's a lot of regulation in california. That's why a lot of small businesses are flocking out of there in droves. And so we were looking for a less regulated climate to start. Our small business in arizona was fit to hit on what you do today kind of where you started from the beginning there but how about before you started the company. How like backtrack into getting out of high school. Kind of your quick from there to where you are today. yeah absolutely. There was nothing quick about my journey. It was filled with a lot of adversity and also a lot of failure. And i think this is something that needs to be talked about. You know routinely and often with the entrepreneurship. I think that failure is probably the biggest lesson in. That's where most of the gold in life really lies. And i think that's what separates a lot of successful entrepreneurs from those that aren't successful. Is that successful. Entrepreneurs learn to look at failure in a completely different light. We don't look at it as something bad and something that we need to stay away from. We look it as just cause of doing business and we'd look at it and we actually welcome it because we know that that's were really gonna find the real lessons and figure out what doesn't work what does work. And so as a matter of fact. When i was getting out of high school i barely graduated from high school. Because honestly i really didn't care about what was going on. My family was getting blown up at the time. My parents were going through a really rough divorce. And i honestly thought that football was gonna be my ticket out and i found out the hard way. That wasn't good enough to really play anywhere. So i started doing a lotta searching took a lot of side jobs and i really wanted to go into the military because from the time i was a little boy i had a heart to serve and i love this country and i wanted to serve this country and so pretty much everybody in my circle that i saw as an adviser advise me to go into if i was going to go into the military to go in as an officer and so they all told me that i needed to go to college so i started taking classes in criminal justice at arizona western college in yuma arizona and then after i finished my associates there i transferred to the university of arizona in studying criminology. But they didn't have that major at the university of arizona. And so i would have had to get put into the business college which i applaud foreign didn't even get into is ironic that his and so. I started taking classes in sociology. Because i found that it was the easiest path to me getting a degree in the military really. Didn't care what my degree was in. They just wanted to know that. I could stick it out for four years and so started studying sociology and then nine eleven happened at the start of my senior year and i actually left college for the navy the very next week to join the seal teams and unfortunately you don't just join the teams you have to try out. And it's it's the most rigorous training in the department of defense. And so i actually made a big mistake and i trained to the bare minimum and as soon as i could do the bare minimums that were required to just get into to get a shot to go to seal training. I actually applied in went down there and joined and you. That's been a good lesson for me in you know in failure because it didn't work out for me. I actually went to seal. Training actually made it through the toughest part assailed training which is called hell week. It's actually front into week four and it's basically live and a half days of staying awake the whole time and just getting your butt kicked is your cold wet and miserable and made it through that week but a week and half later i was dropped from training. I gotta performance drop in. So they sent me out to the navy for two and a half years and that was one of the biggest eye opening lessons in my life. And it's one that i always cherished just because when you go into something. That's that big in that intense with kind of half ass mentality. Those are usually get half ass. Results are usually fail. And it's been so valuable for me moving on just to remember the pain and having to take ownership of that failure because it was one hundred percent my fault and so it's been really good for me moving into other things and i went out to a ship for two and a half years. And then i got an opportunity to come back to seal trainings in two thousand and four made it straight through with class two five six and in mid two thousand five. I became a navy seal and i spent nine. Years is a seal and in my last two years in the navy. I started this company. Bob during that one car garage san diego. While i was an instructor and i don't have a fancy nba. I don't even have a business degree. But what i do have is in my opinion a phd from the school of hard knocks. And i think that's the most important thing that you can have as an entrepreneur as just having a phd in being resilient because as an entrepreneur you will get knocked down every single day. You will run into problem after problem after problem. And if you don't know how to get back up in constantly move forward then you're not going to be business long. Well i mean talking about the transition when you started the company when you're still in the navy what kinda inspired your made. You want to end up doing that. Well it was my wife in two little girls that inspired me to do that honestly. If i didn't have a family at the time. I probably would have got out of the navy taking a breath and traveled around europe for six months or a year. But that wasn't in the cards for me. Because i had responsibilities. I had mouse defeat and bills to pay so i was doing whatever i could to take care of my family and that kind of look like in this is important to talk about to just so the entrepreneurs that are listening to this. Podcast understand the sacrifice that it's gonna take you know. I was working a fulltime job in the navy. If you could even call it. A job is way more of intense career in the navy where i would instruct other seals all day long sometimes late into the night and then i would come home. I would help my wife as much as i could with the kids and then i would go out into the garage late at night. Early in the morning fulfill all the orders for today making all the bottom breaches and my wife she would go to the computer and handle customer service marketing men accounting so in. We did this for two years. There were no weekends. there were no summer vacations. I mean we busted our asses for two years to stand this thing up and even at that point it got crazier because at that point we went on shark tank and that sacrifices so importance in it's also you know we also grew this business organically which is something i love to talk about just because i feel it so if you're able to do it. Some companies are unable to do. But if you're able to do it. I think it's so important that you try and grows organic as possible for as long as possible just for many reasons one. Because it you have to learn the business from the ground up. Nobody's pumping capital into nobody's pumping capital into you and it. You know it. Also if we know that the biggest enemy that we have usually as running out of cash and that's li- businesses fell every single day more commonly than any other reason growing organically pretty much eliminates that. Because if you can't afford something if you don't have the money in your business account for something you don't buy it. It's just that

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