Konrad Bouffard decided to sell vegetables and honey at a local farmer’s market in order to save up for his first child with his wife, Elizabeth. To his surprise, his vegetables did not sell. His produce was no comparison to the other farmers’ fare. The honey he had in tow, however, did sell. In fact, it generated twice the amount of funds that he had expected from the vegetables. It was this pivotal summer in which he decided to expand from four hives to fifty, and it was his decision to reinvest the cash surplus they earned that summer into starting Round Rock Honey.
Round Rock honey is the only honey company of its type in the nation. They produce heirloom quality honey in high volumes with a keen eye towards quality. What was Konrad’s approach in establishing such a successful and unique company? According to him, “If you’re willing to work harder than everyone else and bootstrap everything while being absolutely tenacious in how you operate, then opportunities are exception and the awards are outstanding.” Konrad’s motto: Don’t run your company as a leisure activity; do it as though your life depended on it.
Konrad started his first company when he was seven years old. He wanted to purchase a Swatch watch for himself and needed thirty-five dollars. With the Velcro watch in mind, he operated a lawn mowing company in his neighborhood. He recognized his gifts and passions, such as his love for hard labor, at an early age and decided to monetize it with a lawn mower. As a young adult, he worked three jobs to pay his way through Southwestern University and afterwards landed an internship with the Mayflower Group. This internship sent him on the road for a full summer, during which he generated twelve times the amount of revenue than his closest competitor. He attributes this success to his determination and relentless focus on getting the job done. When asked about this, he indicated, “I don’t take on an attitude of complacency.
When asked for what advice he would give aspiring entrepreneurs, he recommended working against instincts and to instead “do things the very hard, slow way with relatively little yield over time growing to big yield at the end.” Konrad admits that this is not the most popular advice and that people don’t really want to hear this suggestion. However, he advocates that a business should not be looked at like an ATM, which requires little work and quick payout. Instead, you should think of it as a marriage in that it is a commitment that you should fully consider before taking the plunge.
However, as someone who has owned seven businesses over the course of this lifetime, he did not always take his own advice. One business experience that helped form his dedication to slow-and-steady tactics was an ice cream business he started. With his ice cream company, he invested a large cash outlay in the beginning, bought “dramatic” ice cream equipment, and the hired of an outside public relations firm. Even though his company was in the news, on billboards, and in magazines, it still failed to meet his revenue expectations. To Konrad, it was a complete failure. However, he was able to learn from it and recognized that he prefers business-to-business transactions rather than customer-facing retail transactions. After admitting that he did not follow his own advice and think through every detail before jumping into his ice cream business venture, he claimed, “My personality does not mesh with that model. I might end up like the Soup Nazi if I had to deal directly with customers.”
Konrad is a big believer working hard to get what you want, and he does not believe in five-year plans. Instead, he recommends to “always respond to opportunities” rather than trying to steamroll your future. This is the key to his business success.