The Entrepreneurial Drive
Amin and Amir Bahari, Timothy Cole Jr., and Caleb Bluiett are co-founders of Elite Sweets, where they aim to deliver healthy alternatives to satisfy sweet cravings. The company wants to redefine the standard American diet with healthier sweets that are gluten-free, keto-friendly and protein-packed. Prior to Elite Sweets’ start in 2017, the founders entered the food/nutrition industry after being heavily involved and deeply passionate in health and fitness. After Amin Bahari lost 140 pounds, he felt inspired to deliver healthy donuts to people who may have restrictive diets. Since graduating from college, they encountered many “healthy sweets” and nutritional bars that did not taste very good, and realized that this was a missing link which led them to experiment in making their own donuts, testing it in the market, and collaborating with a nutritionist to find the right balance needed for a healthy donut. After several trial and error, Elite Sweets was able to find the perfect flavors for their donuts.
During their last semester in college, the Baharis determined that they did not want a traditional corporate job, but rather aspired to be entrepreneurs. Therefore, the brothers teamed up with colleagues, Timothy Cole Jr. and Caleb Bluiett, to start Elite Sweets. Although they were taking a risk to start their own business, their competitive advantage has been their expertise in the nutrition realm. Amin and Amir’s mom suffers from Type 2 Diabetes and it has been a personal mission of theirs to serve those who cannot eat traditional sweets like their customers who have a limited diet due to certain diseases. Therefore, Elite Sweets has made it possible for them to enjoy certain pastries they would not be allowed to eat otherwise. Their donuts are especially unique since they are protein-packed and are popular for those who need a healthy nutritional snack, breakfast option, or even a post-workout pick-me-up. Elite Sweets has gained credibility and quite the following from customers drawn to not only their knowledge about nutrition and fitness, but also to their personal mission statement. Compared to other companies that just want to make a sale, Elite Sweets wants to make a positive impact on their customers and communities.
If You Don’t Know, ASK
A major challenge this company faced while growing their business has been shipping products to consumers. After doing their own extensive research, the team has recently figured out the logistics for the best delivery method and processes on how to ship across the state of Texas. The founders constantly researched and networked with many different people and companies to try to figure out how to ship, specifically refrigerated shipping, until they became experts on this matter themselves.
“If you don’t know, ask and do your own homework.”
– Amin Bahari
By obtaining as much information possible and weighing out all the possible options, Elite Sweets has narrowed down the process for which they will utilize and begin marketing to larger regions to expand their business.
Elite Sweets joined the 2018 Austin Elevate My Business Challenge because they wanted to be surrounded by like-minded and driven entrepreneurs, and learn how to tell their story in front of potential investors, key partners, and the public. The team gained insights on how to pitch their company’s story, which is important when it comes to requesting funds and marketing the business. Amin Bahari stated that the company lacked structure and organization before joining the Challenge. It became quite clear that they needed to become more detail-oriented and learn how to organize their vision into something more coherent, after going through several exercises in the program. In 3 to 5 years, Elite Sweets wants to become a health industry leader, similar to Muscle Milk. Here are some additional advice from the founders for other small business owners:
“It is all about the mentality and putting in the extra work to try to learn what you don’t know. It is best to research, learn, and then execute.” – Amir Bahari
“Do not get stuck in one phase or idea for too long.” – Amin Bahari
“It is important to focus on a niche market and try to dominate, rather than trying to do too much. Work smarter, not harder, and be patient.” – Timothy Cole, Jr.
The Triumphs of Hard Work & Dedication
After participating in the Challenge, Elite Sweets has prospered in many different avenues. They recently hired 1 full-time employee and 3 interns. Elite Sweets has doubled their revenue in the span of a few months with little to no marketing. They are profitable at the moment, but are preparing to add more costs in order to grow further. Not only did Elite Sweets win the “Audience Choice” award at the 2018 Austin Elevate My Business Challenge Pitch Day, but they gained even more recognition at the WeWork Creator Awards in San Francisco this past Spring season. They were the only participating company outside of California and took away the second largest prize of $180,000 after taking the tools from the Challenge to precisely present their company in 45 seconds! With this win, they were able to receive more media attention, which has been very important in getting their brand awareness out across the country. They are still growing and scaling up, but it is very impressive to see how far they have come in just one year. Make sure to go check out elitedonut.com to continue following their journey.