How Butcher Box Bootstrapped To A $600M/Year Company

Mike Salguero (Source: Forbes)

Mike Salguero shares the story:

"In 2015, my wife was diagnosed with a thyroid condition. We found that grass-fed beef is part of an anti-inflammation diet and can help alleviate some of the symptoms. Whereas corn-fed or grain-fed beef can leave your body inflamed. We were reading these blogs that said, ‘eat grass-fed beef,’ but we didn’t know where to go.

I ended up finding a farmer who raised cows on grass and bought what's called a cow share, where you can buy half of a cow or a whole cow. When I got all of this meat, I didn't have enough room for it in my freezer, so I started giving it out to my friends.

One of my friends was like, ‘This would be so much better if it was delivered to my house!’ And I thought, ‘That's an interesting idea…’

At the time, I really wanted to run a subscription business again. I was not looking to start a big company and didn't think that this was going to be my big company. This was intended to be a hobby, and then I was going to figure out what's next.

When we started to expand the business, a key strategy we used for hiring was the barbell strategy. We paired super young people with those at the tail end of their careers. My original group was 3-4 who were directly out of college. Then I pulled one guy, who was a meat buyer and 70 years old, out of retirement.

What I saw is young people are really coachable, and older people are really just looking to have a fun problem to work on. We found that type of employee is like really great and often overlooked. Oftentimes, people are looking for somebody who's in their mid-forties as a senior executive. And the difference between someone in their mid-forties and somebody who's 70 is an additional 25 years of experience.

That's the barbell strategy. So you've got like weights on one side and the other. Together, they lean in the middle. I think that's a great way to operate a company, and certainly, what we did early on to help scale to $600M in revenue.”

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