Hello! Who are you and what are you working on?
My name is Sully, and I am the proud founder of BombTech Golf. My team and I sell premium golf clubs direct-to-consumer.
I offer premium clubs priced fair and designed specifically for "regular" golfers.
Flagship product: BombTech Driver (Launched the company with 1 product)
2017: $6.3 million in sales
I currently work 2-4 hours a week on BombTech Golf and have successfully been able to get myself out of working "in" the business and now work “on” the business.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I grew up playing golf and was obsessed with the game. After college, I started "competing" in long drive, which is like the home run derby of golf. I wasn’t that good, but I started assembling my own golf drivers and at one point had 30 golf drivers in my bag. I was always searching for more distance and performance.
I started out by wholesaling and building custom golf drivers, this was my proof of concept. Initially I sold very few, but I still remember the first time I got a sale notification on my cell phone, while being on my boat.
At that point I knew that this was my destiny. I just sold something, while I was on a boat!! My mind was completely blown.
One day, I was talking with a college friend of mine, Ben.
I said: "I think I can do better. I want to design my own golf driver."
He replied: "You should call the University of Vermont engineering department!"
And that was the best phone call I ever made...
Describe the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing the product.
My first branded product I ever made (The GRENADE) was designed with a group of engineering students at the University of Vermont via the Capstone project. Each year, groups of engineering students get to work on real life projects with local businesses. I applied to have my golf driver project chosen and luckily I was!
The process to design a golf driver with 4 senior students was anything but smooth...But, the group of students that chose my project were die hard golfers and were insanely dedicated to doing anything it would take to get the design perfect. The best thing I did during this process was be involved. Every design idea, tweak, concept - I asked WHY...How? And tried to break through their design logic. As soon as we had even our most crude mock up, I sent that info to my manufacturer. I worked with them to help answer the questions I didn’t know with material options, manufacturing tolerances and all the missing pieces that the engineering students needed to know. The back and forth from student to me to manufacturer was EXTENSIVE.
The costs to start weren’t cheap. I started when I had a solid job and I cashed out my 401K to help fund the tooling cost and first sample run.
A key takeaway here, was the fact that we made a 3D model an mailed it to the manufacturer. To insure that there was no way to misconstrued our design drawings.
Let me take a step back. I was able to find a reliable manufacturer by contacting a USA golf company to find an intro to my golf manufacturer. I ended up paying him for that introduction. He introduced me via SKYPE and I slowly built up a relationship and learned the manufacturing processes and options.
I made it my homework to communicate with my manufacturer every night sometimes from midnight to 4 am...and just try to learn as much as I could from them as we went through the design process together. It was painful for both sides of the table, but I just kept asking questions and tried to soak up as much as I could about manufacturing. Back then, it seemed so complicated. But in reality, I was overthinking and looking at nuance details that would have no impact on the brand's success or performance.
The costs to start weren’t cheap. I started when I had a solid job and I cashed out my 401K to help fund the tooling cost and first sample run. This may seem like an aggressive move and it was. There was no evidence at the time to say that it would be successful. But after years of working my butt of for my employer, I just knew that I needed to take a risk on myself and my vision. Although a blurry one at that time! I
From design to prototype to first hittable driver it took roughly 1 year.
Describe the process of launching the online store/business.
I am a dinosaur when it comes to selling online, because I started back in 2011-2012. I had switched ecommerce platforms multiple times. From Intuit to Wix to Volusion to BigCommerce and now onto Shopify.
Early on, when I started. I focused on all the wrong things: Website design, font types, colors, all these things that really didn’t matter.
The key to my successful launch was the fact that I documented my journey on facebook as I was designing and got my small audience involved in my process. I asked my 600 likes what color they wanted, what loft, what specs and so on.
When I had the product complete I had an audience that was ready to buy because they felt like they were part of the design and production. I launched on pre-order without any clubs in stock! It was pretty risky, but my manufacturer is excellent and we had no issues with it.
After the initial launch, I struggled to understand why I didn’t have more money in the bank! But, I quickly learned about cash flow and the challenges of manufacturing your own products.
The Pre-Order strategy I used from day one, is still a key to our success even today.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Facebook has been at the core of my business from day 1. I have tried my best to use the platform as a method to engage with customers and potential customers 1 on 1.
Early on, I would make videos that were terrible, but I put my face to the brand and made it personal. Attaching myself to the brand was one of the key reasons why I was able to scale up the business.
I was always quick to test any new features that Facebook was launching. At first, it was video: Early Facebook video was CRAZY. I boosted one of my videos for $300 and got 300,000 views and like 10,000 comments. I would literally reply to every single comment. Every single one. And I did that for YEARS. This helped me build a legit fan base and audience. Then I did the same with Facebook Live.
I was featured in Entrepreneur Magazine and some other large publications, which helped legitimize the brand and give third party credit to my story. PR was very hit or miss and most of the best articles came organically.
Our marketing efforts are fairly simple:
Traffic (Facebook Ads)
Email is our biggest asset and the reason that we have been able to scale and make ads profitable.
We do sell on Amazon and a few other channels but selling direct from our website is our focus.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
I personally enjoy my business more than ever. When I first started in 2011 it was a side hustle and I spent all my free time trying to figure out the business and how I could make it work. It wasn’t easy.
Then when I got fired from my day job, I was forced to grow it. That was the kick in the butt I needed. Plus my wife was pregnant, too. During this time, which I call THE GRIND, I was working 20 hours a day 7 days a week and was assembling the clubs myself, shipping, doing customer service, marketing… everything!
Now in 2018, I work 2-4 hours a week on the business, which is kind of crazy to even say. I have been able to set up systems and processes and hire a small team that does ALL the day to day tasks.The real magic here, is knowing how to get out of your own way. I really really struggled with delegating at first. I mean, this was my BABY...how could I ever let anyone else pick up the phone or assemble the clubs or edit the website. I felt like I HAD to do it all. And in reality, I could never have scaled it to anything more than a hobby if I didn't bring on a team.
With this being said. I am now quick to hire, but ONLY if it is absolutely necessary to have a person doing that task. My process I look at now for any part of the business is pretty simple.
1 - Delete (do we need to do it at all, if we don’t then just get rid of it)
2 - Automate (If it has to be completed - can it be done automatically)
3 - Delegate (If it has to be completed and absolutely can’t automated then it is delegated)
This basic concept allows me to run a high 7 figure business with 3 employees. Which many people I speak can’t fathom. But, most entrepreneurs and myself include focus on the wrong things that don’t move the needle and just waste time. Take a step back, and say "Is this really going impact the business...If so, then run it through those 3 steps.
Now, I have the freedom to work on other projects and more importantly: Spend time with my family.
With this freedom, I recently launched a new consulting business specifically helping other ecommerce brands grow their revenues and profits. This has been amazingly rewarding. I named it EcomGrowers.com.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
I could probably write an entire book on what I have learned. In 7 years, I have made plenty of mistakes. I think the biggest lesson I learned and probably the hardest is actually the simplest.
As a new entrepreneur, you always want to be working to make your business the absolute best. So I would always chase the newest shiny ball. Let me try this, or tweak that, or hack that, or do this tactic…
I felt busy and thought my micro actions were moving the needle, but in reality you have to look at the big levers and delegate out the small tasks.
Having kids forced me to delegate more and has completely changed my life and business. Now I work less and make more. And it is only because I was able to delegate, hire and make the business systematized.
When my second kid was on the way, which was about 16 months ago. I said to myself and to my wife, that I am going take time off...Like completely off. In preparing for my daughter, I took 6 weeks off before her birth...6 weeks!?!? What do you think happened to sales? To my shock and surprise...They actually went up! This was the ahha moment that made me say, what the hell am I doing working all day everyday when sales are better when I am not working. This would not have been possible though, if I didn’t take the time with the team to set up systems, processes and procedures for all scenarios before I went on my leave. It was just the event that forced me to get the businesses more automated and hands off. I don’t recommend just having a kid to automate your business, haha.
The biggest thing I can say is to try and slow down and focus on the big levers that will actually impact your business:
1 - Offer
(What are you selling. It’s not just about the product, but the positioning and the perceived value. If you nail your offer then you can make step 2,3,4 work)
2 - Traffic
Every website and ecommerce business needs traffic, your job is to first get your offer to convert, then find the right audience to get that offer in front of via traffic.
3 - Email
Once you have your offer dialed in and traffic running (paid or organic) you need to be able to convert the 98% of those customers that didn’t but your offer. Email, not only helps you do that, but it also becomes your only true asset that can make you money from non-customers and your best customers..I could talk forever about email, but bottom line...It is your biggest asset and revenue generator.
4 - Person
I believe every business needs to have a face and a name attached to the brand, because people buy from people. Don’t be a faceless brand, but yourself out there and you will reap the rewards.
Stop tweaking those website fonts! Ha.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
I’m a big fan of simplicity. So on the front end of my ecommerce site I use:
Easiest platform to get started
- Klaviyo for email
The best ecommerce email platform on the market and the one we use for all of our ecommerce consulting clients
- Privy for pop ups
Fastest pop up and the best for mobile
That’s it, really. Less apps means more speed for your website.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I used to listen to a million podcasts. But I honestly think that most of them are just a distraction.
I do listen to ecommerce podcasts, but I only look for the actionable items that I can test with the expectation that 90% will fail. A better use of my time is working on the core of my business.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
I think you should do something you freaking love.
I could never have imagined trying to sell something I was already obsessed about. Golf for me was so easy to talk about, because I was a golfer and I LOVE IT.
So do what you love and the money will come. If you just do it for the money, well, you will have neither money nor passion.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
I am currently looking for an email assistant that can assist with editing and updating our email flows for our consulting business.
Where can we go to learn more?
The best way to check us out is
And for Ecommerce consulting
Or feel free to email me direct for anything. I love helping out and talking with other Entrepreneurs.
Email me! [email protected]
Want to start your own business?
Hey! 👋I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
We interview successful business owners and share the stories behind their business.
By sharing these stories, we want to help others get started.
If you liked this story, join our mailing list for new interviews every Tuesday.
- Pat Walls, Founder of Starter Story