Purple Carrot President Brian Greenfield: Power of the Unexpected Outcome
Date Of Show: September 04, 2020
Life throws many obstacles and challenges your way, but what’s important is how you deal with them and what you learn from your experiences. On today’s episode, we discuss the significance of thinking strategically and growing from your mistakes, especially in business. After all, mistakes are what make life interesting, right?
What is the #1 financial marker I should be looking at regularly?
What is the correlation between college athletes and leaders in business?
What is veganism like in Japan?
What is the interview process like at the CIA?
Karen Morales welcomes Brian Greenfield, President and CFO of The Purple Carrot, a plant-based meal kit business, to speak about how companies have failed because of their focus on revenue rather than profitability. He shares his stories of failure and success, detailing the business he started during the 2008 financial crisis, how The Purple Carrot was acquired by a Japanese company, and his recruitment into the CIA.
It’s okay to fail. In fact, it’s a beautiful part of life, if you choose to see it that way. Tune into this week’s episode for Brian’s valuable insight into the importance of understanding your unit economics, fostering a contribution mindset in the workplace, and how to successfully do business with a friend.
3 MAJOR POINTS DISCUSSED
Access to capital can hurt a business. Businesses must put effort into thinking strategically about their growth and profitability. Entrepreneurs often think they need to get the highest possible valuation of their business, but in order for investors to make a return, you need to eventually sell your business for much more than its original valuation. This means you need to grow at a relatively fast rate in order to justify the potential valuation, which influences the business’s strategic decisions. With so many investors and revenues in the millions, his focus wasn’t on profitability. Brian offers lessons learned from his first-hand experience with his former company going for revenue growth rather than profitability, which caused them to face many challenges and difficult decisions, leading investors to back out and the business to shut down.
Focusing on a contribution mindset and core competencies is important. Your weakest link will give you the most problems. Negative performers have consequences! Brian shares how The Purple Carrot seek out talent and explains their competency-based hiring to find team players that exhibit certain values.
Unit economics are the most important financial markers you should be looking at regularly. What are the gross profit margins of your business and the expected lifetime value of your customers? How much is it costing your business to acquire customers? Businesses often try to scale before understanding their unit economics, which can cause problems down the road. Brian says you must nail the unit economics of your business before you start to grow.
OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE
● What to expect in this episode [00:12]
● How the vegan food movement is growing and the impact of covid-19 on The Purple Carrot [1:37]
● How Brian started and grew the business with his friend [3:28]
● The correlation between college athletes and leaders in business [05:18]
● What makes doing business with a friend successful? [07:12]
● Brian talks openly about his failures and his lessons learned [09:09]
● Access to capital can hurt a business in thinking strategically about their growth and profitability [14:48]
● The #1 financial marker you should be looking at regularly [16:55]
● Why product market fit matters [19:55]
● The Purple Carrots’ contribution mindset and core competencies [20:55]
● The acquisition process + Working with a parent company from a different culture [24:56]
● What is veganism like in Japan? Are they experiencing the same growth during coronavirus? [28:26]
● Are they using the same recipes in Japan as you are here in the US? [31:42]
● Brian’s career shifts + Why he went back to business school [32:07]
● The story of Brian’s recruitment to join CIA [36:47]
● The interview process at the CIA [40:10]
● Brian accepted the offer from the CIA but he failed the background check [44:14]
● How he recovered from this shocking letdown [46:56]
● What happened after business school + What caused his rejection from the CIA [48:03]
● How to try The Purple Carrot’s amazing meal kits + How to contact Brian [50:53]
ABOUT OUR GUEST
Brian Greenfield is the President, and CFO of The Purple Carrot, a 100% plant-based meal kit business. Brian leads day-to-day operations and manages the company’s finances.
Previously, Brian co-founded and was President of Next Step Living, a residential energy efficiency company, in 2008, and grew the Company to $100m becoming the fastest-growing private company in MA in 2013.
Prior to Next Step Living, Brian ran Vista Financial, a division of Performant Financial Corporation (Parthenon Capital portfolio company), and before that Brian spent time in Private Equity (Parthenon Capital) and Investment Banking (Morgan Stanley).
Brian earned his MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and his undergraduate degree from Williams College, where he played varsity soccer and won a national championship. He lives in Needham with his wife (Aimee), son (Jayden), and dog (Rex).
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● Visit The Purple Carrot’s website: www.thepurplecarrot.com
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