After Realizing Customers Didn't Share Her Vision, an Entrepreneur Makes a Big Change -- And Sales Grew More Than $3 Million

On the latest episode of 'Problem Solvers,' the founder of Goodie Girl Cookies shares how an error caused her sales to plateau -- and what she did about it.
After Realizing Customers Didn't Share Her Vision, an Entrepreneur Makes a Big Change -- And Sales Grew More Than $3 Million
Image credit: Goodie Girl

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Introducing our new podcast, Problem Solvers with Jason Feifer, which features business owners and CEOs who went through a crippling business problem and came out the other side happy, wealthy, and growing. Feifer, Entrepreneur magazine's editor in chief, spotlights these stories so other business can avoid the same hardships. Listen below.

What happens when customers don’t share your vision? It’s a hard thing to consider. You got into business because you have a vision -- a thing that excites you, that you want to share with the world, that makes all the sacrifice worth it. But then you release it, and your customers just don’t get what you’re going for.

And then what?

Related: Podcast: From a $50 Consulting Gig to Millions of Website Visitors, How 'The Points Guy' Turned His Idea Into a Booming Business

Shira Berk knows this problem well. She created a brand of gluten-free cookies called Goodie Girl Cookies, and spent a lot of time personally developing its branding. Customers loved the cookies in taste tests, but weren’t buying them off the shelf. At first, Berk had no idea what the trouble was. She knew she had a good product, so why wasn’t it moving?

Then she discovered the problem: Her branding was fun and clever, but it was also confusing customers. She had gotten too clever for her own good. And to succeed, she’d have to dial back some of the personal touches she loved the most.

“It's been a struggle,” Berk says, “because it's giving up a little bit of the creativity. My daughter, who is on the front of the package, screams at me every night when I come home and tell her we changed something, and she's like, ‘You're totally giving in! You’re losing your creativity! It's like every other cookie now!’ And I'm just like, well, I mean, it's not selling.”

On this week’s episode of Problem Solvers, we’re telling the story of how Berk learned to give up a little of her vision in order to connect better with customers. It’s a hard, emotional trade-off -- but it’s been a difficult, yet worthwhile one. She’s now doing about $3 million in sales, and you can find Goodie Girl Cookies in Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Fairway, Whole Foods, Publix and other major outlets.

Related: Podcast: What to Do When Your Best-Laid Plans Turn Out Wrong

So, how’d she figure it out? Listen to the show below, or subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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