Learning, learning, learning. Never stop learning – and reading! Leaders are readers!
Barry Yarkoni joined Vinomis Laboratories in 2009 and has been the company’s CEO since 2010. Vinomis Labs has a mission to supply the finest all-natural nutraceutical products that help others live a longer, healthier, pain-free life. All Vinomis Labs products are based on science, evidence, human clinical trials and medical research from leading universities. The company starts with the world’s finest ingredients and manufacture to the highest cGMP standards. The company’s founders, investors, and management team include medical researchers, leading physicians and executives from the nutraceutical and technology industries.
Yarkoni studied Computer Engineering at the University of Rochester and University of Pennsylvania in addition to studying Business at George Washington University. He held management positions at Intel, Apple, and IBM before becoming involved with a series of Entrepreneurial Ventures.
Since joining Vinomis, Yarkoni has been on a personal quest to find an all-natural weight loss product that was safe and effective. After trying dozens of products and ingredients he finally found one that worked as promised without side effects.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
The founders had some amazing personal experiences using Resveratrol, a polyphenol found in red wine, chocolate, peanuts, and other plants. The research was so exciting that they worked with a group of researchers to formulate Vindure900, our original flagship product. Vindure promotes longevity through various mechanisms and can help the body defend against many illnesses. The metabolic stimulation can help with weight loss, if combined with appetite control or dieting.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I like to start the day with a triage of deleting a lot of garbage emails and making list of the important to-dos. I try to block off several hours a day to work on major projects. Although I can multi-task, I get the most done on the big projects when I can “zone-in” and focus intensely. That is sandwiched in between all the other tasks that need to get done.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I always start with a spreadsheet to document numeric assumptions and see if a business model can be made to work. There are many good ideas where the numbers just don’t pencil out. One business I mentored had a great product, great and growing sales, but was constantly struggling because they were undercapitalized and had low margins, and that in turn reduced margins because they could not run efficiently. A healthy business has to have a strong business model with some margin for “go-wrongs” which inevitably happen. I started using this approach in 1979!
What’s one trend that excites you?
The increasing ease of creating robust applications is very exciting. I spent many years helping businesses become more efficient, and while achieving that goal is as hard as ever, the tools have become so much better. If you have a good idea and are willing to invest in your personal “skill-stack” it is amazing what you can quickly accomplish with today’s tools. And they keep getting better. One of my partners who managed a large corporation tells me — I used to have a whole floor of people doing what you do.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Learning, learning, learning. Never stop learning. (and reading! Leaders are readers!) Not a week goes by where I don’t take some online class. I have taken enough of them that I can get through most classes at 2X or 3X speed.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I was employee number 102 at Apple. Steve Jobs hired me in 1979. I left in 1983 and sold my stock in the 80’s before it crashed…. and later recovered big time…. Go know. Steve sold his stock too.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Learn accounting. Know your numbers inside and out. As Lee Iacocca said, profit is the very small difference between two very large numbers.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I am a big fan of recurring revenue models. It costs far less to retain a customer than acquire a new one. We still have many of the customers who started using our products over 9 years ago. All of the projects I have been involved with for the past 10 years feature recurring revenue.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I started a company in 2001 (bad timing) and took money from the wrong people. We grew to about $4 million in revenue and ran into some difficulties when a major partner reneged on their agreement. We could have recovered, but the investors were not professionals, pulled the plug. It was sad and depressing. I turned around and started a new company based on skills and knowledge acquired during that start-up.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I tried to start a business a not long ago to supply solar-powered water purification systems for the third world. The technology is readily available, and the cost is low, but I was not successful procuring funding. If you can solve that problem, there is a vast opportunity to do well while doing a lot of good.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently purchased Elementor Pro and several add-on widget packages. I needed to put up a concept website quickly, and using these tools, I had a very nice site up within an hour! Our VinThin landing pages are built with Elementor.
On the personal side, I recently purchased Aurora HDR and Luminar from Skylum. I have always enjoyed photography, especially beautiful nature and landscape shots. These tools have taken my results to the next level. I have a collection of travel photos on the wall of my office printed on metal that makes visitors stop in their tracks!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
All the businesses I am involved with use cloud-based accounting and bill paying (Bill.com). We have eliminated all paper from the financial flow. We no longer have any file cabinets. Each company has one notebook on the shelf for required legal documents.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Andy Grove – High Output Management. I worked at Intel from 1975-1979 and took many classes with Dr. Grove. He was the best manager I have ever known. One of his bedrock principles in teaching was… “It starts with me.” He always tried to lead by example, and this book contains timeless advice for boosting results.
What is your favorite quote?
“Let’s Zoom Out” – Steve Jobs. That was Steve’s way of saying we always need to take in the “big picture.”
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.