When I look back at the beginning of our company, the most important lesson I learned was this: trust your gut. Because I hadn’t worked in the beverage industry, I originally thought I needed to hire a lot of people who had lot more beverage experience than I did. I would have been better off trusting my intuition — that I’d found a new, better way to go about things. Because I was thinking through it from a clean slate, I actually had.
The beverage Hint is just a medium. Our mission is bigger: to help people get healthier. That’s not that most companies in our industry do. They sell beverages. My aha moment was hiring people who came from that mindset – and then figuring out what that meant for the business. They were selling drinks. I was selling something else entirely.
Take The Lead. Remember: You Know How.
If your business is truly unique or if your industry is different, as it should be, you have to be the one to lead. Don’t look at people because they’re in your industry now as the only experts. It might be that multiple people are going to help you solve issues. And they may not be in your industry at all. People were telling us Hint was helping them lose weight, and that they wanted more help. So we have a full-time nutritionist on staff. It’s not a traditional move. Take the lead. Follow your vision. Remember: you know how.
Seek Out Advice From Mentors. And Remember You Can Get It For Free.
It is always smart to seek advice when you start something new – you don’t know everything and you don’t have to. That said, don’t feel like you have to bring on full-time employees. You can bring on advisors who love your product to come on board and be a sounding board. Instead of paying people full time, consider connecting with your heroes. For us, it’s been people like Elaine Rubin. She was instrumental in building not just iVillage but also 1-800-Flowers, which made her the perfect person to help us figure out a disruptive business. She is an example of a believer who really gets what we’re trying to do. Find your believers. Make them your team.
Kara Goldin is Founder and CEO of Hint Water, the fastest growing flavored water brand in the United States. Kara started Hint when she couldn’t find a healthy water that tasted great without questionable additives like sweeteners. Hint Water has 0 calories, 0 sugar, and 0 diet sweeteners in a can be purchased online at www.drinkhint.com in a variety of flavors including Blackberry and Watermelon, in both still and sparkling.
Originally published HERE on LinkedIn.com.