Daniel Lubetzy founded KIND, a New York City-based snack bar which uses healthy and natural ingredients in all its products, in 2003. Lubetzy has been named by BusinessWeek as one of “America’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs.”
David Mammano: Please tell me about your business.
Daniel Lubetzky: KIND Healthy Snacks (KIND) is a brand of all natural foods made from ingredients you can see and pronounce®, and it’s also a movement that gives new purpose to snacking.
Mammano: In your opinion, what are the top benefits of being an entrepreneur?
Lubetzky: The most beneficial aspect of entrepreneurship is the opportunity it affords to affect positive change in the world. I’ve always strived to create unique business models to bring people together and solidify relationships amongst otherwise conflicting groups-—most people view this as social entrepreneurship. In my opinion, social entrepreneurship is evidence that one person’s idea can produce change on a global scale.
Mammano: What are the negatives?
Lubetzky: I wouldn’t say that there are negatives so much as there are several challenges that come with entrepreneurship. For many entrepreneurs, the most difficult of these is learning to delegate. In order to expand and grow an entity to its greatest potential, you must relinquish control at times and stay open minded to other peoples’ ideas.
Mammano: What are the traits that you see in successful entrepreneurs?
Lubetzky: Successful entrepreneurs must have perseverance and an ability to quickly adapt their course of action. When developing a business, things rarely unfold seamlessly and not everyone will believe in your dream along the way. This makes it crucial to back up your ideas with strong will and conviction.
Mammano: What can a high school student do to learn more about being an entrepreneur?
Lubetzky: Take advantage of every opportunity to learn something new. New experiences impart fresh perspective and afford opportunity for personal growth. Entrepreneurs need to feel comfortable taking chances, stepping out of their comfort zones and entering the unknown.
Mammano: What major should a student pursue if they want to be an entrepreneur?
Lubetzky: There is no one path to becoming an entrepreneur. A student should major in the subject that he or she is most passionate about, because it is passion that fuels the strongest entrepreneurial ideas. I never imagined ending up in the natural foods industry, but in my journey, I discovered unique applications for my education along the way.
Mammano: How can young business people get respect?
Lubetzky: You need to be hard working, humble, honest and accepting of others’ opinions. The best way to prove yourself quickly is to let your actions do the talking and always be willing to go above and beyond in each challenge that you face.
Mammano: What advice do you have for a teenager who is thinking about becoming an entrepreneur?
Lubetzky: Strive to see what others do not. The most successful entrepreneurs are those that find innovative solutions that better the world and the lives of others. Always challenge yourself to think outside the box.
For more on KIND, go to www.kindsnacks.com.
David C. Mammano is the founder and CEO of NextStepU.