Mar 21, 2019 • By

Entrepreneur words of wisdom

I attended Natural Products Expo West 2019 earlier this month, where nearly 90,000 people flocked to get a taste of the next big thing in the natural and organic space. My main takeaway, beyond the food trends? There are a lot of talented entrepreneurs out there, doing brave things and making awesome stuff.

We often hear about the overnight success story. A hot new brand shows up on the grocery store shelf out of the blue, as if it were made out of thin air. It goes viral, and wakes up big.

But as John Haugen – founder and managing director of 301 INC, General Mills’ new business and venturing unit – often likes to remind us, it’s really more of a “five-to-seven-year overnight success story.”

Beneath the veil of public perception, it can sometimes take a decade of trial-and-error before a start-up truly makes it.
No one likes to dwell on the negative, but as Haugen says, ultimate success is more about failure than success. It’s the entrepreneurs who can learn quickly and pivot – while staying true to their vision – that end up thriving.

On the latest episode of our “A Taste of General Mills” podcast, we talked with several partners of 301 INC at Expo West, who provide lessons about failure and success. Plus, they offer advice for other start-ups looking to grow their business.

Listen (16 min)


Elizabeth Stein

Elizabeth Stein (founder and CEO, Purely Elizabeth) encourages taking risks with new product formats (:41-2:16 in the podcast).


Alan Murray

Alan Murray (CEO, GoodBelly) is constantly iterating on the perfect probiotic bacteria strain (2:18-3:59 in the podcast).


Rob Leibowitz

Rob Leibowitz (CEO, Kite Hill) talks about having to make a hard business decision to discontinue a beloved product (4:00-8:56 in the podcast).


Scott Jensen

Scott Jensen (co-founder and CEO, Rhythm Superfoods) reminisces on choosing a new company name (8:57-13:10 in the podcast).


Jesse Merrill

Jesse Merrill (co-founder and CEO, Good Culture) advises failing fast and often without straying from your North star (13:11-15:19 in the podcast).

Each CEO or founder busts the myth of the overnight success story with their unique and fascinating stories, and I hope their words of wisdom inspire other startups trying to make it. Learn more about 301 INC and the entrepreneur partners we work with at 301INC.com.

SHOW NOTES – Episode 45: March 21, 2019 

Link: Purely Elizabeth

Link: Good Belly 

Link: Kite Hill 

Link: Rhythm Superfoods

Link: Good Culture

Link: 301 INC 

Link: Our top 5 trends from Expo West 2019

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