How we work at Bottle: 6 Things Methodology

1. Backstory of the 6 Things Methodology

A few years ago, I came across “6 Things,” otherwise known as the Ivy Lee method, while reading an article by James Clear. The legend is that Bethlehem Steel CEO Charles Schwab hired Ivy Lee, a PR and productivity expert, to come help his executives get more done.

Ivy Lee said he’d be happy to help. Schwab asked how much it’d cost. Lee told him to wait three months, and then pay him whatever Schwab thought was fair.

So Lee met with each executive. And this is what he said:

  • Each night, write down 6 things you want to get done the next day.
  • Rank them by level of importance.
  • Focus on the first task. Once completed, move to the next one.
  • Do this every work day.

2. The beautiful tie-in with Process Goals

There are two types of goals. Outcome Goals and Process Goals. Most people set Outcome Goals. “I want to run a marathon.” “I want to save $100,000.” “I want to make the varsity basketball team.”

The problem with Outcome Goals is that they are out of our control. Ultimately, you can’t control bear and bull markets; you can’t prevent the company you work for from going bust. You can’t prevent 10 other basketball players better than you from attending the same school.

But you can control what you do every day. You can control whether or not you wake up and run for 30 minutes every morning. You can control whether or not you shoot free throws for an hour every day. You can control what you choose to focus on at work. 

These are Process Goals. All of our goals at Bottle are process goals. 

The 6 Things Methodology aligns perfectly with Process Goals. You can’t control whether or not you’re the best at your job, whether you can run 26 miles, whether you can save enough to buy a house. But you can control today. You can prioritize the things you need to do today to make this day a successful and complete day.

Over time, getting 6 things done every day will compound. And you’ll put yourself in a position to achieve your Outcome Goals. And that’s the best you can do.

3. Things I’ve found

Creating my list at night is hard. I usually do them first thing in the morning. But, doing them at night is more calming.

The more specific the task, the better. If I feel like I have way more than 6 things, that’s okay. But I’ll choose 6 that absolutely must get done. The smaller the task the better.

For example, programming tasks can be big. Oftentimes, I will make one of my 6 tasks just the very first step in the programming task (writing a test, creating a controller, defining a method). Then, I’ll plan on chipping away at the next step the next day.

A lot of days I fail. I fail to make the list. I fail to complete the list. That’s okay. Try again tomorrow.

Personal tasks are okay to include. Those are important too.

4. Why I like doing 6 things

It provides an actual end to my work day. Ending my work day is important.

It narrows my focus.

The system aligns with the idea of process goals. I can’t focus on outcomes, only the minutiae of the daily day-to-day.

5. How much did Schwab end up paying Lee?

$25,000 (about $400,000 in 2019 dollars)

Tools to grow your meal prep business in 2019

When it comes to growth, having a strategy in place is key. Whether you’re new to marketing or a seasoned pro, implementing simple growth strategies can lift sales and elevate your business.

In this article, we explore several tactics to grow your meal prep business. Both in our work at Bottle and experience in the meal prep industry, we’ve seen these strategies proven successful among hundreds of meal prep businesses.

1. Build An Affiliate Marketing Machine

Nothing converts like a referral, especially from a trusted, authoritative source. When a trainer, physician or gym owner recommends your business it is far more likely to result in a sale. That’s why it’s important to build a base of ambassadors and affiliates who are incentivized to recommend your business to their clients. Affiliates and ambassadors are champions of your brand. Some are paid, and some are not. They usually have sway over people who are likely to become your customers.

Different types of affiliates make sense for different types of brands. Maybe you’re food is Keto, so partnering with a local Crossfit would help sales. Or, perhaps you focus on weight loss, so a partnership with a physician or nutritionist is more ideal.

However you shake out, developing affiliate partnerships is a great way to grow. We always suggest you start local and personalize your outreach. Here are the five ways to reach out to affiliates:

  • Make a list of local affiliates.
  • Add their name, email, and phone number to a prospecting list in excel or google sheets.
  • Create an incentive structure. You can offer free food, commissions, or any other type of incentive.
  • Reach out via email. In your initial email, don’t ask for anything, just offer to bring the affiliate free food or something else of value.
  • Follow up and create an incentive or commission package.
  • Track the sales that come from the affiliate. Use a CRM or software to track the sales and reward the affiliate.

2. Create A Referral Program

A referral program is an easy way to offer your best customers an incentive to spread the word. It is bound to help you grow.

Uber is now a household name. But it wasn’t always that way. Just six years ago, Uber was a scrappy startup that was only used by a few hundred people. The company grew mostly through word of mouth and a successful referral program.

Uber’s referral program was simple and effective. Share your referral link or code with a friend. Your friend’s first ride is free and you get a $10 account credit.

We’ve seen countless meal prep and meal kit companies grow by building similar referral programs. If your customers love your food, it’s likely they are telling their friends and neighbors all about you. Why not reward them for spreading the word?

We like the give and get model and suggest you start with that structure. To setup a give and get referral program you offer the referrer a reward like $10 every time they send a new customer your way. The new customer gets $10 off their first order.

3. Get Some Press!

It’s surprising how many press opportunities there are for small businesses. Just like building an affiliate program, it just takes a bit of research and outreach.

The best press for a small business is from small media outlets. What local papers are there in your town? What about local bloggers or community newsletters?

Can you reach out to reporters, tell them your story and ask them to feature you? You’d be surprised what a simple email can do for your business.

Need some help with what to say, here’s some advice for crafting your pitch:

  • The body of the email is brief but personalized to the journalist or blogger.
  • The subject line is clear. Here’s a good example. “PITCH: How Southfork is Helping Hungry Atlantans Get Healthy Lunch Delivered.”
  • The subject line should be short but intrigue the reporter enough to open the email.
  • Make sure to address the reporter by name.
  • Try to send it to the journalist who writes about your niche.
  • If you’ve already established a relationship, and you’re ready to pitch a story, then you clearly explain why an article about your company/product/service would be beneficial to the publication.
  • It holds an emotional hook for reporters, so they want more information to encourage a response.
  • It doesn’t use buzzwords.

4. Offer A Loyalty Program

It makes sense to reward you best customers. Airlines have thrived for years using the reward points model, and you should too!

Start off with something simple. Loyalty programs that reward a customer on their 10th purchase or for every $100 spent with your business can go a long way for customer retention.

And when they earn that reward make sure they know it! People love “free”, so this is your chance to show them the love and give them free meals or anything else in your store.

5. Increase or Begin Writing Content

I recently became obsessed with the New York Times Cooking Section and App. I’m constantly looking for ways to discover new, healthy meals. This app delivers such a wonderful experience. It has great content, excellent recipes, clever writing and an engaged comments section.

Meal prep services can learn a lot from the plethora of amazing food content out there. Actionable and relevant content seems to work best. Don’t pump your brand. Think about giving the customer something that will excite them and get them interested in your food.

Add a blog to your marketing website. Maybe share recipes via social outlets or on your blog. Share some details about the kitchen. Talk about your origin story. Film videos of your chef. The key is to mix up your content. Make it helpful and interesting.

And get beyond just Facebook and Instagram. Add content on your own marketing site or include it each week with your meals. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but the more you share a story, the more customers will feel connected to you and your brand.


These are just some of the many ways you can grow your business in 2019. Interested in upping your game in 2019? Checkout Bottle’s meal prep software. We can help you implement all sorts of growth initiatives.