A business mentor of mine gave me a sticky note to put on my computer that said, “Only do what only I can do.” I really try to keep that in mind at all times.
Lisa Ligouri is the President and CEO at ChefsBest. She focuses her entrepreneurial expertise on helping brand stewards succeed. She has launched multiple startups and leverages that experience to find innovative ways for ChefsBest to support winning brands. Lisa holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Southern California, a master’s in information technology and a master’s in business administration from the University of San Diego. Her experience includes directing ventures across a wide range of industries, including roles as equity analyst at Gabelli Funds, marketing manager for National Pen Corporation, director of Gifts of the Magi Foundation and CEO of the private equity group, Liguori Management.
Where did the idea for ChefsBest come from? Or why you wanted to be a part of ChefsBest upon purchase?
I love the concept of using science and objectivity to provide unbiased information in an age when there is a lot of noise to cut through. I have always had recognizing people in my DNA. Since ChefsBest is built around celebrating the people and products that have achieved superiority, it fits right in. The fact that ChefsBest helps millions of people in their everyday lives, by giving them information when they are trying to quickly make selections in the supermarket, also made the company appealing.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
When I’m in my best groove, I start the day out with 10 minutes of mindfulness practice. I use an app called Headspace to lead me through that and 3 gratitude exercises which I developed after watching Shawn Achor’s TED talk called “The Happiness Advantage.” I listen to an audio book on my way into the office or I check in with family over speaker phone. I allow at least an hour after arriving at the office to tackle administrative tasks and get situated before jumping into meetings. My most productive meeting time is mid-morning until about mid-afternoon. I also block out afternoons to do two 90-minute blocks of work without interruption, with a 20-minute break in between when I like to step outside and walk around for a few minutes in the sun. I usually set aside one day a week where I don’t schedule any meetings, so I can just work on projects without disturbing my flow. I generally end the day with some sort of activity, whether it’s playing soccer or basketball or going for a jog. I always feel like a kid who just got out of school when I head off to do that.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I get excited when I share ideas with others. I have a few very creative people in my life, especially my father. When I start to develop a concept, I talk it through with him and brainstorm the possibilities. As the concept develops, I bring in my team to execute it.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Two trends in medicine really excite me. The first is the innovation that is taking place to provide biofeedback. For example, soon people will be able to track an incredible amount of their biometric data on their smartphones. The second is the democratization of medical information which is allowing people to take control of their own health, and advocate for themselves with their doctors.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I delegate almost everything. A business mentor of mine gave me a sticky note to put on my computer that said, “Only do what only I can do.” I really try to keep that in mind at all times.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to forget what I think I “should” do and keep focused on my passions.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?
All movies should have happy endings.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
As an entrepreneur you have no shortage of ideas you’re excited about and want to pursue. It’s very easy to get scattered and then not complete any of them. I use the mantra “If this opportunity isn’t a ‘heck yeah!’ then it’s a ‘no.’” I’d recommend that to any entrepreneur.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Having an amazing team that follows through with good execution.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Early on I doubted my instincts and was very slow to replace people who didn’t belong on the team. Over time I’ve come to understand the importance of having people with shared values in our company.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would like someone to invent an out of office auto-reply for text messages. Sometimes unplugging for a vacation includes replying to texts too (which I think carry a higher sense of urgency) and I think a great invention would be to allow people to program cell phone out of office messages, not just “I’m driving” auto-replies.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I recently spent was a gift to the caregiver who took care of my grandmother when she broke her hip. That woman was responsible for the quality of life of someone I love more than anything and she was incredibly sweet.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I love the free Doodle.com polling software. Several groups I’m in have trouble finding dates for events. That site allows me to create different options and then each person can log on and indicate which dates will work for them. The result is a matrix that shows which dates will work for everyone. It’s so much less work than trying to go back and forth with emails with multiple people.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I love “The Advantage” by Patrick Lencioni. It’s the most succinct business leadership handbook I’ve read. From developing a culture of trust, to having a clear vision of purpose, he lays out the foundations for making a team successful. It’s also short, clear and an easy read. You can listen to the audio book on your commute to and from work.
What is your favorite quote?
“A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.” — John A. Shedd. I love this quote because it reminds me to go for it! I also love the old Reebok ad “Life is short. Play hard.”
Lisa Liguori on Twitter: @lisa_liguori
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ChefsBest on Twitter: @ChefsBest
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Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.