I remember Peter Rahal approaching me by the whiteboard at River North CrossFit. If you’ve ever met Peter, he’s kind of a quiet but intense guy. He has a sense of humor, but is also a weird guy with weird ideas, so sometimes you’re not sure if he’s joking or serious.
He comes up to me and says, “Hey, I’m thinking of starting a protein bar company. What do you think?”
I don’t remember what I said, but I know it was something to the effect of, “I don’t know anything about protein bars or the food business, but hopefully you do.”
A few years later, an annoying middle-aged woman in Trader Joe’s who doesn’t know anything about CrossFit or about how to properly check out at the grocery store (Help bag your groceries! Chat pleasantly with the cashier but be ready for when the card swiper is ready to accept your form of payment! Move it along, people!) was talking loudly about how much she “loves these new protein bars” while purchasing a handful of RXBARs.
Looks like Peter was on to something after all. RXBARs quickly spread throughout the CrossFit space and have now made the jump into the mainstream of alternative grocery stores like Trader Joe’s.
But, success on this scale doesn’t just come from having a great idea or a great product – it comes from execution. Scaling any business involves massive challenges in tactical logistics, as well as higher order thinking regarding how to maintain quality, create a culture, and hold employees accountable.
Check out this interview with Peter to learn:
- When to quit your job and focus on your business idea
- What benchmarks you see in a fast growing company
- The best interview questions for hiring employees
- RXBAR’s unexpected and comical branding problem
- When to listen to marketing experts and when to trust your gut
Learn More About Peter and RXBAR
- [00:22] Intro
- [01:54] What made you think you could start a protein bar company?
- [08:14] What have been the tipping points in the first few years of business?
- [12:16] Why does disregarding the standard branding advice pay off?
- [15:31] What happens between making bars in the basement and the re-branding of RXBAR?
- [17:13] At what point did you fully “jump off the cliff” and solely focus on RXBAR?
- [23:10] At what point did you hire people?
- [31:35] Work/life balance….
- [33:32] What does day-to-day look like for you?
- [38:24] What would you choose to do if you had total control over your time?
- [42:48] New flavors…. Yum, how does that come to pass?
- [49:29] What was your biggest mistake?