My long-time friend Aaron Hinde came in for a value packed interview today. He’s a fearless risk taker who jumped into one of the toughest industries out there, the beverage industry, and has successfully grown it and now leads a team of 28 people.
Aaron’s always had the unique ability of empathy which has served him well. It’s the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand where they’re coming from. Many people make the mistake of trying to meet somebody where they think they should be, but Aaron says empathy is about quieting your mind and listening with a non-judgmental attitude.
This kind of positive attitude is also a big part of mentorship, something Aaron is a strong proponent of. All successful entrepreneurs have at least one mentor, and some are paid for and some are not. If you’re in the business of offering your own mentorship or coaching at a price, you’ve also got to have your own mentor you’re paying for, as you’ve got to do in order to be.
Relationships are key in business; mentors, business partners and spouses. An understanding spouse is a necessity as it’s all but impossible to succeed without someone supportive at your side. The same thing holds true for business partners. Make sure yours is one you can bounce ideas off of, one you can trust and share a unified vision and purpose for your business with.
Aaron’s a risk taker, and the ability to take risks is important for aspiring entrepreneurs. If you’re gun shy there are ways to train yourself to take the plunge, like going all-in in poker or scaling heights if you’re afraid. “Push yourself constantly in that uncomfortable zone or else you’ll never grow as an entrepreneur.”
Aaron’s entrepreneurial journey hasn’t been an easy one. But he and his family were willing to endure the years of being broke and living in a tiny apartment to gain the success they now have. He started LIFEAID Beverage with the idea of creating a healthy beverage alternative that actually benefitted you (not like the sodas and energy drinks prevalent today). What drives his company is their over-arching vision of having a tangible, healthy impact on the world, and his million+ cans sold every month is a testament to that.
His company not only has a great vision, but some strong BHAG’s as well (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals):
- To be the next BILLION dollar beverage company
- To have the most awesome, engaged, kick-ass workplace in Santa Cruz County with the best team surrounding that
BHAG #2 is his actual focus, because a great team is essential and they’re a reflection of the brand. If you make sure the team is engaged and focused then that’ll lead to goal #1. It also helps to constantly invest in your team by making your workplace comfortable and fun, and being ultra-supportive of everyone.
One tenant that Aaron really holds onto is the tried and true “Hire slow, fire fast” mentality. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is hiring quickly out of desperation as you grow. Aaron makes sure they hire great people by following some important steps in the hiring process:
- Look for a long history with one employer
- Look for a favorable review of their previous boss
- Have the applicant set-up a five minute interview with their previous boss
Taking these steps helps him find great people with a cooperative team attitude and a good cultural fit with the company.
Aaron’s empathy and his passion for entrepreneurship and his company really came through in this episode. I’m grateful that he gave us his time and shared with us much of what he knows of running a successful company.
SOME QUESTIONS I ASK:
- How has empathy been a game changer within his business?
- What are the steps a growing company can take to make sure their vision and values continue to lead them?
- How does Aaron get his employees to buy-in to his company and culture so well?
- How does an aspiring entrepreneur protect the business from the overwhelming inspiration behind the business?
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:
- The key to success for any enterprise
- Why it’s important to carry a note pad with you everywhere you go
- How having an abundance mindset can lead to raving fans
- Why discussing the current needs of the business with your team can get them committed to working hard for the customer
- Plus much more…
DON’T STOP HERE…