This month's interview is with Michael Sands, a seasoned entrepreneur who co-founded the LesserEvil snack company.
Michael began his career in the advertising field before moving on to the product management side. Among his many accomplishments, he is credited with creating Half Baked, one of the top five selling flavors at Ben & Jerry's. He is also responsible for developing the Snapple Apple flavored drink.
Today, LesserEvil, which started in 2004, is a leading low fat snack company with five flavors of all natural, preservative free popcorn distributed in natural and gourmet grocery stores worldwide.
We caught up with Michael for some advice on entrepreneurship.
Q: In a nutshell, how did you get to be where you are today?
A: I created a lot of top selling products and flavors for some big companies and wanted to do it for myself. It took a lot of time, dedication and headaches, but in the end, it was all worth it.
Q: What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
A: I would tell them to make sure they have intestinal fortitude, naiveté and the ability to quickly make decisions. It's also important to acknowledge when you make mistakes and change course.
Q: What advice do you have for struggling entrepreneurs?
A: Sometimes innovation is first met with hardship. Many times, there is a lot of push back. It is essential to understand that entrepreneurship and innovation takes time to nuture. My words of wisdom are simple — hang in there.
Q: What is the most important tip you can give to someone thinking about starting a business?
A: Starting a company is a lot harder than it looks. If someone is thinking of doing it, I would tell them to look themselves in the mirror to make sure it is something they really want. Owning your own business creates a lot of headaches you didn't have before.
Q: What was the biggest challenge you have faced in your career and how did you overcome it?
A: I was always younger than the average person in my business. I overcame this by working hard and posting great results. Many times, people don't think youth have experience or knowledge. Now, being middle age, I look at younger people as having a lot to offer.
Q: If you had the opportunity to do this all over again, would you do it and why?
A: Absolutely. At the end of the day, it's extremely fulfilling to know that every decision you make truly makes a difference.