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The $700 Million Yoghurt Startup

The $700 Million Yoghurt Startup

I have to make a confession. I have not yet launched a start-up that reached $700 million in its first 4 years. 

Yes I contributed to Pottery Barn—moving it from $70 million to $175 million in 4 years (and now over 10x bigger). Yes I contributed to putting stars and stripes on IKEA's blue and yellow, and yes I recently launched a new business inside an established PE-owned top supplier that will reach another impressive milestone in its 2nd year... the volume is confidential, but I can say it's far above budget and we're adding man and woman power to fuel its growth. (re)ALIGN creates everyday multi-million dollar successes—but none are yet $700 million big. So until then, here's a brief article about a simple start-up that impressed me and I bet the entrepreneur in you will learn a thing or be inspired.    

His business tips:

No. 1:  Keep your product simple.  Know what you do and do it better than anybody.

No. 2:  Invest in your core.  For him it was capacity, taking a yogurt plant from a capacity of 50,000 cases to 1.4 million.  Invest in the backbone of what you do and treat it that way.

No. 3:  When you go to market, know that you can fool almost nobody anymore.  There is too much information available to anybody who wants it.  Be real.  People can tell—or easily find out—when you’re not.

No. 4:  Focus on profit.  I run my business like a mom and pop store.  Cash is everything.  Without it you can’t increase production and it’s hard to be innovative.

No. 5:  Lead by example.  If you make yogurt, go to the plant.  Work with your people; if you want people to work on Sunday, be there next to them.

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