Chris Wood of (BE) Caffeinated Talks Coffee, Marketing and Nerds

His junior year of college, he changed his major to business administration with an emphasis in entrepreneurship.

“I haven’t looked back since,” says the (Be) Caffeinated co-owner. “I enjoy the grind, the creativity, the problem solving, and making people happy. It is definitely stressful and taxing and draining, but most months it feels worth it.”

(Be) Caffeinated is a drive thru focused coffee shop that provides quick, delicious, high-quality local drinks and goods. Wood’s team roasts the coffee with (Be) Caffeinated sister company, New Wave Coffee.

Wood also co-owns HiveThink Media, which spun out of (Be)Caffeinated as a marketing agency focused on helping other small businesses with their social media, logo designs, and branding. 

 “The goal of my business is to make people happy, and to make an environment that is safe and fun for my people,” says Wood.

The company’s flagship offering is our group coaching for business and nonprofit leaders, and it also provides 1-on-1 consulting and more intensive workshops for people that want to learn more quickly. 

(Be)Caffeinated currently employs about 45 people, and HiveThink has 3 owners and a couple employees. 

Name: Chris Wood

Age: 28 

Spouse: Jasmine 

Pets: “Two cute cats,” Simon and Suki 

Hometown: Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Favorite books: “Start With Why,” Simon Sinek; “The Lean Startup,” Eric Ries; “The Startup J-Curve,” Howard Love

Favorite podcasts: Simon Sinek’s “A Bit of Optimism,” Brenè Brown’s work, specifically her podcast and book titled “Dare To Lead; and the series “Radical Candor” by Kim Scott for how to talk to people you care about

Three fast facts about Wood 

  1. Wood and co-founder Doug Lee started (Be) Caffeinated about three years ago.
  2. The duo’s first business was an alcoholic snow cone trailer in south Mississippi
  3. He has more board games, books and video games than he can count

Trend: What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

Wood: You can’t do it all alone. I am bad at delegating, but have been forced to do more of it recently, and it really is great. It is also important to look for hard workers who share your “why” vision, and then make sure to hold onto them. It may cost a little more or take a little more effort, but at the end of the day if they believe in what you are doing, they will work harder, smarter, and better (as well as represent your best interests even when you aren’t around since you are both going after the same goal). People matter, and if your employees are not happy then your customers probably won’t be either.

Trend: Is there a piece of advice that has stuck with you and helped you in your endeavors? Share it with us? 

Wood: Simon Sinek once said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” This has stuck with me over the years, and has really framed most of the decisions I make concerning the business and my team. I also respect Gary Vaynerchuk and his mentality — the main one being, “Be a good person, and good things happen.” 

Trend: What would you tell your 15 year old self that you didn’t know then but you know now? 

Wood: Don’t take yourself so seriously, lead with empathy, do what you love, and focus on experiences more than school/work. (I need to listen to this today too.)

Trend: You and your partners/employees seem like a super fun group. For example — y’all had fun with Star Wars Day. Talk about that. Does that fun and authenticity benefit your business? How?

Wood: We employ the Jester brand archetype as our secondary persona, which means we get to be silly a lot! 

We have a good time with our marketing, and we have found that not only do we have a really good time making weird and nerdy content, but our followers absolutely love it! 

Our Star Wars week videos made up over 40% of our social media engagement for the three months before it. It also lets us be authentic and not take ourselves too seriously, and makes our customers more comfortable with us since they get to know us a little better. Everyone wins, has a good time, and gets to laugh together. (Also if you didn’t know, nerds are the coolest subsect of employees and customers you can have because they are funny, smart, cool, and super passionate about a lot of stuff. If you haven’t hired a nerd yet, go do it).

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