Startup selling products

Ever thought that a successful company is all about the money? Well, meet Daniel Lubetzky, the brain behind the super-popular KIND Healthy Snacks. He’s all about making a difference, not just counting coins.


In this blog we’ll dig into the heart of this game-changing idea. We’re going to break down the ten big principles of doing good while doing business. You’ll dicover tricks on how to run a company that rocks both the profit charts and the social impact scale. We’re talking about using “and” in a powerful way, keeping your brand real, and staying close to nature. Find out how these moves can help you sell top-notch products while making the world a nicer place to be.


Fostering kindness in business and society

The first principle of the KIND philosophy is about treating yourself and others with kindness. Daniel Lubetzky, the founder of the company KIND, started his business with the idea of making a positive impact on both society and the economy. He encouraged people to “Do the KIND thing,” meaning to do what’s compassionate and beneficial.


Kindness, according to Lubetzky, involves looking after your own well-being, like eating nourishing foods and using gentle products. KIND initially introduced its range of healthy snacks made from whole nuts and fruits instead of artificial ingredients.


But kindness goes beyond oneself; it extends to the world. In 1994, Lubetzky’s cooperative project united Arab and Israeli innovators to create KIND products. This showed that a company could use its production processes to promote social change by connecting people, even from conflicting backgrounds.


The KIND philosophy encourages thinking in terms of “AND” rather than “OR.” This means seeking opportunities that benefit both you and the world. Many believe a business can either be profitable or impactful, but Lubetzky challenges this. He believes a business can and should be both financially sustainable and socially beneficial.


The principles of KIND can guide entrepreneurs to rethink what’s achievable. They can create businesses that prioritize their own well-being and the well-being of the world.


Turning passion into purpose

KIND’s second and third principles encourage turning a strong interest into a purpose and achieving it through hard work. Many business starters begin with dreams of control and money, but these objectives often don’t help when problems arise. As the path to your business goals will always have challenges, you need a purpose that will motivate you and keep you focused.


Think about Lubetzky’s experience. With a Jewish heritage and relatives who suffered in World War II concentration camps, he is dedicated to creating peace.


This very dedication led him to use one of his early businesses to create a peaceful, cooperative bond among team members from Palestine, Israel, Egypt, and Turkey by making a sun-dried tomato spread.


His intense interest matched his business goal, giving this effort the strength to endure, even during tough times. Indeed, doing the right thing usually requires more effort than taking shortcuts, so determination is crucial.


Starting his own KIND business, selling nourishing snack bars, posed several challenges for him. Because of their high quality, his bars cost more to make than his rivals’ products, which used cheaper mixtures.


Selling a healthy snack bar was a challenge in itself, as it was new in a market where healthy items were nearly unknown and hadn’t gained traction. Nevertheless, Lubetzky was unwavering in growing his business and even traveled door-to-door nationwide to sell the bars.


If you desire a kind business, you need to be resolute in upholding your values, no matter the difficulties. By doing so, you’ll also show customers that your brand is dependable. 


The importance of staying true to your brand

To gain your customers’ trust, it’s important for businesses to follow their own brand values, which is the fourth principle of KIND. If a company wishes to succeed over time, it needs to build a brand that people have faith in. This can only happen if the company remains truthful to its promises. To begin, examine what aspects of your brand consumers can count on.


An example of not considering this occurred when Lubetzky introduced an Asian Teriyaki pepper spread with a sweet and spicy flavor. This choice didn’t align with the Mediterranean flavors that the KIND brand was built upon. This led to disappointment among consumers, eroding trust in the brand, and causing a significant drop in sales. To avoid such mistakes, it’s vital to uphold your brand’s identity when introducing new ideas. This ensures that fresh products remain in harmony with the brand that your customers are familiar with and appreciate.


Staying consistent with your brand also means concentrating on the stores where your product performs exceptionally well. Remember, launching a new product isn’t about getting it into as many stores as possible. In truth, attempting this could squander resources.


Lubetzky and his team launched their snack bars by concentrating on prominent health food stores and specialty chains. They believed these stores were the best match for their product, and their intuition proved accurate. In Whole Foods stores across the US, numerous KIND bars would sell in a single day, while only a couple would move in regular convenience stores.


By channeling your efforts into the stores where your product shines, you ensure that the customers who genuinely value your product are enjoying its advantages. This approach also builds trust, establishes a consistent revenue stream, and provides a return on your investment.


Honesty in products and brand resilience

KIND’s fifth principle is about keeping things simple and connected to nature. In a world where many products are made quickly and follow passing fads, it’s important to stick to what’s genuine and real. This helps a business to last even when trends change.


Imagine you have a snack bar business like KIND. If you tried to make a snack bar with fewer carbs just because low-carb diets were popular, you might make some money for a short time. But when the low-carb trend fades away, so does your success. This is why staying true to the idea of natural, honest products is crucial, as it helped KIND’s snack bars become successful and stay that way.


In the past, people wanted processed foods in the ’70s, but by the ’90s, they wanted food that felt closer to nature. If your product is simple and real, you won’t be affected by these changing desires.


Another way to keep your business doing well is to stay consistent with your brand. This shields you from new competitors who enter the market.


If you change your brand too much while trying new things, customers might get confused and stop trusting you. Even though it might seem like a good idea, you don’t have to change your brand just to keep up with others.


For example, when other companies made snacks with less sugar than KIND bars, KIND didn’t change its bars to copy them. Instead, they made a new line of bars called KIND Nuts and Spices. These bars had less sugar because they took out the fruits, but they still matched KIND’s natural brand. This made customers really like them and kept KIND strong.


Transparent marketing


The impact of transparent marketing

Transparent and genuine marketing is the seventh important principle of KIND. Nowadays, we’re constantly bombarded with advertisements for various products, all claiming to make our lives better and fulfill our dreams. However, these products often end up disappointing us because they can’t actually deliver what their ads promise.


Making extravagant promises is just another way of breaking your customers’ trust. If your product is real and your marketing is honest, your brand becomes more reliable than others in the market. By using straightforward names, designs, and marketing strategies for your products, you ensure that customers get exactly what they see.


For instance, one of KIND’s products is named “Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew,” not something like “Black Forest Cake Supreme.” This no-nonsense name lets customers know exactly what they’re getting. Moreover, KIND uses clear wrappers, allowing customers to see the product through the packaging. This makes it nearly impossible for them to expect more than what they’re actually getting. Additionally, KIND’s product images aren’t fancy or exaggerated; they simply tell the truth.


If your brand is genuine, customers will prefer your products, even if those products aren’t flawless. Because being genuine isn’t about being perfect – it’s about staying true to your identity and beliefs.


Remember the trend of Greek yogurt? Many companies tried to capitalize on it by introducing treats and snack bars with a Greek yogurt-like coating. However, this coating was far from the authentic Greek recipe. While some people were fooled, most could tell the difference between real Greek yogurt and those using artificial flavors. Consumers lost trust in the fake products and stuck with the authentic ones.


Building a strong brand through empathy and team empowerment

KIND’s eighth principle is about showing empathy, and the ninth is trusting your team to lead. Just like how it feels great when someone does something nice for you, you can make your brand more likable by celebrating empathy.


As a part of their promotion, KIND created #kindawesome cards. These cards were given to people who did kind things in public. For example, if someone gave up their seat for an elderly person on the subway and a KIND team member saw it, they would get a #kindawesome card with a special code. This code could be used on the KIND website to unlock a free packet of snacks sent to their address.


When you link empathy to your business, people start to feel good about your brand. When people have positive feelings about your brand, they are more likely to buy your products.


The ninth principle is about letting your team take the lead. If your team is smart and dedicated, it’s a big advantage for your business. When you let them shine, you might be surprised by how well they do.


In 2013, at a big trade show, the founder and the KIND team were showing their new products to their most important retail partners. The founders thought they should talk about the products because they knew them best. But as the presentation went on, they saw how well their team was presenting the products—sometimes even better than the founder. By giving their team a chance to lead, KIND made a great impression, and every retailer bought their whole new product line.


Resourcefulness and team empowerment

KIND’s tenth principle emphasizes resourcefulness and empowering team members. Running a kind business is demanding, requiring you to support your team through challenges. This is where the tenth principle of the kind philosophy comes into play: focusing on resourcefulness and empowering your team.


But what does being resourceful mean? It’s not the same as being stingy. If your business mainly prioritizes saving money, your team might ignore other crucial aspects.


In KIND’s early years, the founder pursued overdue payments from distributors and retailers. However, they realized that time spent chasing an $80 payment could be better used for closing new deals. This shifted their focus to resourcefulness, benefiting them later.


When KIND lost Starbucks as a retailer, they turned to resourcefulness again. Instead of fixating on budgets, they explored entering new stores and coffee chains. Consequently, they succeeded in partnering with chains like The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Peet’s Coffee & Tea.


Empowering team members to think and act like owners fosters responsibility and commitment. KIND provides team members with stock options, equal treatment, and encourages them to share ideas. This approach leaves employees feeling valued and dedicated.


In prosperous times, everyone shares credit, and in challenging times, everyone collaborates to restore the business. This shared responsibility benefits both the business and employees, creating a kind experience for all involved.


In conclusion, embodying kindness extends to both personal well-being and global goodwill. By crafting a genuine brand fueled by your passions and endorsed by consumers, you can forge a path where your business not only prospers but also generates a positive societal influence.

Inspired by a book “Do the KIND Thing”; Daniel Lubetzky

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