Founder of The PUR Company Jay Klein has built an empire one pack of gum at a time, but business has not always been so sweet for the maker of aspartame-free gum and mints. In this episode of Mojo Mondays Bootcamp, Jay shares how he clawed his way back from a multi-million dollar hole. Here are my top three takeaways from our conversation:
Start experimenting. You can’t learn what will resonate with others unless you test your ideas. Stop imagining and try something instead, see what happens, and then adjust. Seems like Jay was an early Agile Methodology (a time boxed, iterative approach to deliver a product incrementally versus have it perfect from the start) disciple without knowing it. This reminded me of a quote from Reid Hoffman, co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn: “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
Less is more. Jay’s first attempt to break into the gum industry focused on adding antioxidants to the product. That version did not stick. Jay redeveloped the product, took out the artificial sweeteners, and that’s when PUR Gum hit it big, blowing up with a loyal following. The lesson here: sometimes you need to remove things to be successful. What do you need to drop from your life to make room for what matters?
That uneasy feeling is a good thing. Jay knows he is in the “good” risk zone when he feels a bit uneasy. Growth and comfort do not co-exist. What are you willing to do to get out of your comfort zone and grow?