There are people who will boost you up and others who will tear you down; when you meet the later, move on. Surround yourself with those who bring you up and inspire you and don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for help.
Michele Liddle is an award-winning salesperson, the 2017 Women of Excellence Award recipient, and a trained culinary chef using her skills and abilities to help others by creating The Perfect Granola.
The Perfect Granola has received the 2018 National Parenting Product Award for best new product in America, the 2018 Women-Owned Business of the Year Award, and Michele has been nominated for the 2018 Business Person of the Year Award by the Small Business Council of Rochester, NY.
The Perfect Granola was created on the foundation of giving back and exploded into the market in June of 2016 gaining accounts with retailers such as Wegmans, Tops, Shop-Rite, Price Chopper, and hundreds of others in addition to online sales through Amazon, Walmart, and the ecommerce site www.theperfectgranola.com. In less than 2 years, The Perfect Granola has become a fast-growing granola and granola bar company and prides itself on creating a better world through food and love.
The mission is to help others; they do this by sharing profits with homeless shelters, outreach centers, and Food Banks, and in 2017 alone, The Perfect Granola donated over 12,000 lbs. of granola and granola bars to support a 23-county region in Upstate New York. In addition, The Perfect Granola hires students living in poverty, to giving them real work experience before graduation so that they can break the cycle that fuels hunger. Michele Liddle, makes every business decision to support our communities and create a better world through food and love.
Where did the idea for The Perfect Granola come from?
After volunteering at our local food pantry, it became clear to me very quickly that there was a lack of healthy, gluten-free products to chose from. Since gluten sensitivities and the need to eat healthy food does not discriminate against the under-served, I decided to do something about it: create a food company where I could share profits and food with those in need and then hire at risk youth so they can learn the skills needed to break the poverty cycle that fuels hunger.
Now, after just 2 years of being in mainstream retail, we have gained accounts with retailers such as Wegmans, Tops Friendly Markets, Price Chopper, Shop-Rite and hundreds of Independent Grocers. The Perfect Granola is the 2018 National Parenting Product Award Winner for both our granola and granola bars, we won the 2018 Women-Owned Business of the Year Award, I was the 2017 Women of Excellence Award Recipient for the creation of The Perfect Granola and our positive social impact, and I am nominated for the 2018 Business Person of the Year Award from the Small Business Council of Rochester, NY.
I am proud of how far we have come over the past 2 years and am excited for our future.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I am a mother of two young girls, so my day starts very early getting them ready and off to daycare and school. Once they are settled, I head to my warehouse to get the orders from the day before on pallets and set on the dock to ship during the day. After that, I head to my office to work on sales, marketing, accounting, scheduling of our student employees, and everything else that goes on in my company (I am currently the only full time employee, so all the company day-to-day operations are handled by me). After my office time, I head to any meetings I have scheduled for the day, make local deliveries, and anything else that needs to be done. By late afternoon I pick up my younger daughter (age 3) from daycare and head home to get my oldest daughter (age 7) off the bus to start dinner and “Mommy” time. Once dinner is finished, I get the girls back in the car and head off to the gym; I am a part-time cycling instructor and teach classes in the evenings. Once finished at the gym, we head back home for bath-time, snack, and bed. Once the girls are in bed, I head into my home office to complete any other paperwork or office work that needs attention. It’s a busy life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
How do you bring ideas to life?
My motto is dream big and work hard. I believe that everything is achievable if you’re willing to work for it.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The most exciting trend right now is this social cause movement. People want to make a difference in the world. The Perfect Granola is no different. I created this company on the foundation of giving back and every decision I make must make sense for both our company as well as the communities we serve. I believe in Conscious Capitalism and that companies have an obligation to help others; I’m so proud to be part of this movement and to be creating a better world through food and love.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I never give up. Being an entrepreneur means there will be failure, there will be loneliness, there will be mistakes; the key is to fail fast, so you can recover, learn from the mistake, and move on. Never Give Up! If you’re tired, take a break, don’t give up!
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t be scared to take risks. The best success stories come from those who are not afraid to take big risks and fail. There are people who will boost you up and others who will tear you down; when you meet the later, move on. Surround yourself with those who bring you up and inspire you and don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for help.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That EVERYONE can make a difference and change the world. It’s scary if you think about it; that everyone has the potential to change the world, but we all do, it’s just a challenge that not everyone has the stomach for.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Give back! There’s a saying that I heard that every hug you give, you get a hug in return. We share so much of our company with the communities we serve, and in return, we grow. The more we grow, the more we can help. I believe every company should find their greater purpose and help the world in some way.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Consistency. Being consistent has helped me grow my company from my homemade granola and granola bar recipes I made in my kitchen, to a company selling thousands of pounds a month due to consistency and a good work ethic.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Do I have to pick just one??? Entrepreneurship and Failure go hand in hand and I feel, at times, that success can’t happen without failure…
I guess if I had to pick just one, I would pick: Trying to grow too fast. Bigger isn’t always better. After learning this lesson the hard way, I quickly scaled back and got a true handle on my company and our growth. Now, we’re growing by double digits month over month, and working with other companies that can grow with us.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Better car organizers for the backseat. Most organizers mount on the back of the front seat, but when children are strapped into a 5-point harness they can’t reach the toys and books. I would be a customer!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I am a mom first and foremost, so the best $100 I recently spent was on an additional tablet for our house. We had just one thinking it would teach my girls to share, but reality set in and we got a second ????
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I’m not great with computers and technology. I do not use many software programs for my company other than QuickBooks for accounting. I use old-school 4×6 index cards for my client accounts. I organize my cards in alphabetical order, and write everything out on them. I know people with think this is crazy, but it works for me.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
My all-time favorite book is “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. It’s based on the idea that everyone has the power to change the world through their thoughts, and what you think of the most will come to be. I love this, not because I think that just by thinking of something it will happen, but because when you think of what you truly want out of life, you subconsciously do the things that move you closer to that goal. I’m optimistic, but also realistic: you’ve got to be willing to work for what you want.
What is your favorite quote?
“A bird sitting on a branch is never afraid of it breaking, because her trust isn’t in the branch, but in her wings”
• Prioritize tasks in order of importance and work through them systematically. There will always be more work that hours in the day, so you’ve got to make sure you use your time wisely.
• Work ON your company as much as you are working IN your company. Attend continuing education classes, entrepreneur classes, finance classes… A strong foundation is the key to success, and in every stage of business there are different things that must be mastered.
• Hire people that are smarter than you and give them the ability to move your company ahead. Still make sure you understand every aspect of your company, but utilizing the skills of others will ultimately make your company stronger.
• Lean on trusted advisors and mentors for advice and help. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Nothing would have been possible in my company if it wasn’t for the support of our community and trusted advisors. Everyone you will meet has something to offer, even if you don’t agree with a point of view, it is always helpful to hear other thoughts and opinions.
• Lastly; hold true to your values. You are creating something because you are passionate about it. Never lose sight of your WHY and make sure your decisions move you closer to your purpose.
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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.