Don’t Solve a Problem That Doesn’t Exist

By Elliot Begoun

Photo provided by RXBAR

Photo provided by RXBAR

This interview publishes just days after the announced acquisition of RXBAR by Kellogg’s for $600 million. It’s illustrative of the awesome potential created when good products, good people, and unmet demand collide.

Peter Rahal, co-founder, and CEO started RXBAR with his friend Jared Smith. Together, they wanted to bring a clean protein bar to CrossFit athletes. With that simple and narrow focus, selling gym to gym, they built a business and a brand.

In my opinion, RXBAR did something else to disrupt the industry. They veered from the norm on their approach to packaging. Their packaging hero wasn’t a logo or a product shot. It was, in very simple terms, what the product delivered: protein in the form of three egg whites, six almonds, two dates, and no B.S. I have a feeling that more brands will be following in their footsteps.

I spent time talking with Peter about leadership, entrepreneurship, company culture, and lessons learned. I found him to be passionate and insightful. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Why do this crazy thing?

“I had a job, and it was with a startup, and I was totally miserable. I realized this is miserable. That misery really was the stimulus for, I’ve got to get a new job.”

He explained that he and Smith were childhood friends and different in a complementary way.”

“We’re total opposites. He’s pragmatic, cautious, needs stability, takes time. I’m reckless and aggressive. The opposite, right?”

“I had two failures. Two ideas then tried to begin to execute them, and … One thing I learned from both of those was your partner, who you get in bed with, is everything.”

“We were both 26, no family, so we had nothing to lose. We’re both athletes, and bars save time.”

Rahal said that they kept being told that “the world doesn’t need another protein bar.”

“We went to my father, who’s very traditional, an immigrant, old school. Straight business fundamentals and he’s an entrepreneur himself. ‘Dad, we need to raise money. We need packaging. We need a designer. Do you know anyone?’”

“He says, ‘Peter, you need to shut the &$#$& up and go sell a thousand bars.’ … We were making excuses to go have coffee and talk about the business when all we needed to do was design it, make it, and sell it. Take action rather than just talk.”

“The idea of buying a mixer, of manufacturing, design, the unknown, is scary. It’s much easier to get money and hire people who have the experience to do it.”

“We took my father’s advice, and we started, literally, making bars in the kitchen, and then bought packaging from China and printed labels at FedEx.”

What have been some of your toughest challenges?

“Tactically, taking a product from your kitchen and commercializing it. Then finding the right partners in the supply chain, doing business with the right people. We basically interview every supplier, every vendor, everyone we touch. The same principle of who you get in bed with, in business, it’s the same thing with who you Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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