“Persistence, passion and perception – not perfection!”
OHi Food Co
Lilly is the example of making your passion your success. Driven by fateful moments and grounded in experiences, she has scaled company ladders with grace, growing companies to national recognition while keeping her feet planted in the real world of successful business.
Perfection is an unobtainable goal and shouldn’t be used to measure success.
Lilly began her career as an accountant at PwC, and may never have joined the natural foods industry had she not tried her first bite of ghee. This fateful moment led her to co-found 4th & Heart, scaling the company as it’s COO from the first jar sold to being a top ghee brand in 8,000 stores nationwide. She then joined OHi Superfood Bars as COO in 2018 and has helped them grow from 250 to 1,500 stores. Lilly also serves on the board of Cartograph, the natural foods industry’s leading Amazon sales consulting agency.
What’s key to running a successful business?
LW: Persistence, passion and perception – not perfection!
Persistence is about the hustle, the drive, not giving up. This is one of the main traits I see in people running successful businesses – the creativity to keep going and create win-win solutions even in the face of challenges. You hear “no” so often, and unexpected problems are always popping up. You can’t let it phase you. Find a way, find a workaround, find another option. It’s like Tim Gunn from Project Runway says – “make it work!”
Passion is about the WHY of what you’re doing. A business can’t just be a whim or something you do to get rich. It takes dedication and commitment, and you can’t have that if you don’t have purpose. Successful businesses inspire others to join them – as customers, employees, or partners. When you have passion, it spills over and becomes infectious.
Perception is about developing a sense for what works – whether it’s your product, your people or your relationships. Building a business involves many twists and turns. Instead of blindly pushing forward, perception is about reading the road ahead and making route changes or detours where necessary. You listen to your customers, you find advisors, you read the data. At OHi, we debated launching a Peanut Butter bar as we weren’t sure if it was true to our brand, but we got so many requests from our fans for a “better” peanut butter bar option we did it – and now it’s one of our best sellers!
So often we hear inspiring stories from successful entrepreneurs and then look at our own businesses and feel inadequate. All we see are the “behind closed doors” issues we spend 90% of our time on and gloss over everything going right. It’s important not to focus on perfection and just get out there and learn as you go!
Do you follow a certain morning routine or daily schedule to maximize productivity and well-being?
LW: I used to read about people’s structured routines and get serious FOMO (fear of missing out), but recently I’ve been shunning routine. Taking advantage of the flexibility I have in my schedule helps me maximize both my effectiveness and well-being. By flowing with my moods I become more productive AND a happier person. If I’m struggling, I’ll hit a yoga class at 2 pm to clear my thoughts. If I have a sudden flash of inspiration at midnight, I’ll work for hours. And most importantly, I try not to beat myself up about all the routine things I know I “should” do but often don’t.