Daniel Lubetzky: Mixing business with 1 million kind acts [video]

When Daniel Lubetzky started KIND Snacks in 2004, he was the founder, salesman, box-packer and deliveryman, all in one. In just over a decade, he has built the company into one of the most well-known names in snack foods, with nearly 600 team members and more than a billion KIND products sold.

Lubetzky is the son of a Holocaust survivor and a Mexican Jew. His entrepreneurial spirit began shortly after his arrival in the U.S. as a teenager, and so too his generous outlook. The KIND Movement has inspired more than 1 million kind acts, large and small. Lubetzky also created PeaceWorks Inc., a business that fosters cooperative ventures among neighbors in the Middle East.

Here, he shares his insights on his success.

The early years were certainly not devoid of challenges. For one, we were creating a new category. At that time, consumers were accustomed to eating bars made from homogeneous pastes, which looked different from the whole nut and fruit bars we were selling. This meant that we had to convince buyers that our products not only were going to be great sellers, but also filled a need consumers didn’t know they had.

Gradually, the brand caught on, and today KIND is among the fastest growing snack companies in the U.S., offering 60-plus products in more than 150,000 stores nationwide. I never could have imagined KIND would grow to what it is today, nor could I have predicted that all of my previous experiences would lead me here.

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Along the way, I’ve learned a lot about myself, business, and what it takes to lead a life of entrepreneurship. Here are a few lessons I’ve picked up that continue to guide me:

Find a purpose that gives you meaning.

Channel that purpose, and the passion and energy that accompany it, as you build your business or pursue your vocation. For me, having a purpose became a source of near invincibility, and harnessing it gave me staying power during the toughest of times. If there’s one thing my experience has taught me, it’s that pursuing what you believe in already constitutes success, regardless of the outcome.

Embrace failure, and draw on it to fuel your success.

I cannot think of any venture I have initiated where an earlier failure wasn’t an important precursor to an eventual success. The most notable example of this is KIND; our success today can be directly attributed to the mistakes I made with my earlier business and the lessons I took away. Failure holds the seeds for greatness. So long as you water those seeds with introspection, they can be the root of your success.

Challenge false assumptions by thinking with “AND.”

The AND philosophy is a great tool for entrepreneurs trying to improve the world through business. It can help you solve social problems and identify commercial gaps as it forces you to confront underlying assumptions, uncover objectives that are in tension with one another, and think creatively about how to accomplish both at once. At KIND, the AND philosophy guides us every day as we strive to create products that are healthy and tasty and a business that’s economically sustainable and socially impactful.

Are you ready to pursue your big business idea? Hear what Lubetzky thinks you should do next.