Bullets of Freedom and the Power of A Mission

Bullets of Freedom and the Power of A Mission
June 08 06:25 2017 Print This Article

Bottle Breacher is a business on a mission: a mission to give back to veterans. Former Navy SEAL Eli Crane co-founded Bottle Breacher with his wife Jen in 2012 while he was still on active military duty. Giving back to non-profits, military, and veterans is very important to bottle breacher as a business, which is why the company, which is veteran owned and operated, operates with a 25% veteran hire rate and its staple product — a hand crafted 50 caliber bottle opener — is made by military veterans in the USA. I spoke with Eli just two-and-a-half years after Bottle Breacher scored a deal with Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary in season six of Shark Tank. He shares what it’s like to run a business after the initial Shark Tank success, how mission can and should drive everything an entrepreneur does and also his wildly successful Instagram strategy:

Jay:  So many people watch Shark Tank and think, if I could do that, it would be the be all end all. So, tell me a little bit about what it’s like to have Mark Cuban on your team, Kevin O’Leary on your team and to tap into the tremendous platforms that both of those great guys offer yet still keep up the grind of running your company.

Eli: A lot of people don’t realize this, I know I really didn’t think about it too much, but Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary both have really huge companies that they run themselves and then they have 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, in Mark Cuban’s case, Shark Tank companies and these guys are both family men as well, so you have to be realistic about how many hours these guys have in a day to help you out. Not only do they not have the time to help you out, but you have to be honest, they’re investing in a bunch of different companies and they want to see who is going to work for them. They want their money to work for them, just like every other investor out there. So it’s not like Mark and Kevin are coming down here and helping us strategize and helping us make products at all. We have to come in here every single day and work like someone is trying to take it away from us to continue to make this place grow. We’re happy to do that and we feel very blessed and fortunate to have the opportunity to do that, so we’re gonna keep doing it every single day.
Jay: When you go to bed at night are you satisfied with where the company’s at?

Eli: Personally, I’m never really satisfied with where we’re at. I think there are so many areas that  we are underperforming in that we could be doing a better job in. It’s a constant game to improve every single department. Try and really work with and train your staff and team members to be more productive, be more efficient, just pitch in and help out more.

Jay: I’ve read a lot about the great things that you guys do at Bottle Breacher. And I know that you’ve said a lot about the mission that you guys are on aside from just running the business. Can you tell me about what that mission at Bottle Breacher is about and how important is it for other businesses to really intertwine business and mission?

Eli: I obviously feel that having a mission is so important. It’s so important to have a mission because I personally feel like if you’re not using your skills and talents to bless other people than you’re just plain wrong. You really don’t start living life, in my opinion, until you start blessing other people and trying to take care of other people. Every entrepreneur knows how hard it is. They know that their goals are to provide for their company, keep the lights on, grow, take care of their team members. Sometimes it’s so difficult. And sometimes you long to walk away from it, turn out the lights, and just go back to a 9-5. And sometimes having a mission really gives you that extra motivation: “Hey, if I don’t go to work today, and if I don’t grind and if I don’t keep working at this, not only am I not going to be able to provide for the people that count on me and depend on me, but I’m not going to be able to bless these other people.“ And so I think giving yourself one more reason, one more motivation, to succeed today is very important.

Jay: Tell me more about what that Bottle Breacher mission is about. What are consumers supporting beyond just the company?

Eli: At Bottle Breacher our main focus is to raise awareness about veteran causes and charities. I noticed as I was getting out of the military how hard it is to make a transition from the military to the private sector so we want to make sure that we’re coming alongside veteran organizations that are either helping active duty veterans or that are helping veterans in general.

Jay: Let me shift to marketing. Social media can be such a great tool. I’ve seen your social platforms and they blow up, what is the message that really resonates with your audience and gets them engaged?

Eli:  For me, my strategy on Instagram is to give people the raw, uncut, unedited non-photoshopped version of what’s going on here. That’s what I like to see when I follow other people, when I watch other companies. I don’t like all the photoshopped stuff. I want to see behind the scenes. We want to show people the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Eli & JenEli & Jen Crane are the owners of Bottle Breacher and have been married over 10 years. Eli is a former Navy SEAL turned entrepreneur and Jen has had a passion for business ever since graduating from the University of Arizona Eller College of Management in 2005. Bottle Breacher began in a 1 car garage while Eli was Active Duty and aired on Shark Tank a year and half later. They love to hire vets and reinvest in those that have served. Open your next cold one in style!