Larabar: A Case Study In How To Build An Amazing Company
I had the good fortune to meet the COO of Larabar last week. The more I learned about Larabar, the more I realized what a truly amazing company it is.
Larabar has all the ingredients necessary for rapid success. The first Larabar’s hit store shelves in April 2003. All 500 bars were made in Lara’s kitchen. A year later and they celebrated selling 1 million bars. Three more years have gone by and they now sell 40 million bars a year.
The Ingredients For Building A Successful Business
- A great story. Lara Merriken (the founder) got the idea for Larabar while hiking in the Colorado mountains. She wanted a great tasting and healthy whole food nutrition bar. She started experimenting with different ingredients and making them in her kitchen. Her friends and family were her first taste testers.
- Great people. You have to have great people who are passionate about what they’re doing to build a strong and successful company. The people at Larabar are passionate. They know they’re creating a great product with a great story. The rest is easy.
- A great product. Larabars contain 6 or less ingredients each. They’re made from fruit, nuts and spices. And that’s it. There is truly nothing like them on the market. Most nutrition bars are full of sugar, preservatives, they’re fortified because they contain little natural nutrition, and they’re full of things whose names you can hardly pronounce. Lara set herself apart from the crowd by making a nutrition bar that really was nutritious.
- Great packaging. Simple, clean, bold. Great packaging builds a brand. Packaging is the suit and tie your product wears when it meets customers.
- A great job getting out and selling. The inside edge that Lara brought to her business was her experience working for Whole Foods Market. She became a buyer for their nutrition department and learned how the pros pitch their products to buyers. When she was ready to take Larabar to store buyers, she knew how to sell it. She went a step further and worked to build a grass roots following by handing out samples and talking to customers in the stores.
- Keep it simple. A Larabar has 6 or less ingredients. So does a successful business.
Larabar is a great example of a company with a phenomenal amount of zoom. You create zoom by capitalizing on one success to create another success. It’s a snowballing effect. Once you get the momentum going, nothing can stop you.
Look at how Larabar created zoom. See how you can apply the same ingredients of their success to your own company. If you run a blog, your WordPress theme is your packaging. Your writing is the product. Getting out and selling it is the networking you do with other bloggers. The point is, these principles can be applied to any business.
Right now Larabar sells 40 million bars a year. They’re building capacity to produce double that. They’re gonna need it. They got zoom.