The True Value of Business

December 10, 2015 by Taylor Collins posted on Inside Epic

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Since 2013, Katie and I have grown EPIC Provisions from a small company operating out of our living room to a category expanding brand that is changing the landscape of food. We started with 1 full-time employee (Clint Clancy) and in 30 months have grown to 16 full-time employees and over 20 part-time workers. During this time, we have remained the fastest growing nutrition bar brand in the natural grocery category! When we launched EPIC in April of 2013, you could only find our bars online. Today you can buy EPIC in over 5,000 stores that span from grocery, outdoor, health clinics, and gyms across the country. Katie and I frequently get asked "what gets you excited every morning and motivates you to continue growing EPIC?" the answer is clear. We stay motivated by the impact and legacy in which we are creating in this world.

Neither Katie nor I have a formal background in business. Although we have been entrepreneurs since we fell in love (11 years ago), we both despise business plans, finance, accounting, and the majority of "business people". Instead, we are fond of adventure, food, health, music, and "creative people". Our entrepreneurial spirit is driven by producing something that is a reflection of our own morals and values. For us, business serves as a creative outlet to positively impact our communities and enrich the lives of others. In our journey, we have never measured the success of EPIC through profitability or revenue, but rather by our impact on consumers health, animal welfare, and land regeneration.

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Creating a net positive return on the earth is the truest value of business. By focusing on our impact, Katie and I wake-up everyday full of gratitude for the lives that we have created together. Staying true to ourselves and operating within a holistic context allows us to create financial returns for the environment, society, and our shareholders. Everyday we invest in the future of our communities through meaningful employment, restoration of land, and the production of nourishing food.

If you have heard me talk about business, you know that I preach extreme caution about bringing on business partners and investors. When you partner with people who focus on margins, EBITDA, revenue, and exit strategies, you loose the ability to make the right long-term decisions. When the focus of your business shifts towards profitability, your brand looses its soul and all important decisions default to financial impact on your bank account. It's a terrible position to be in, and one that can strip the joy out of business.

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Waking-up every morning and sharing my excitement about work with Katie is very special. It allows me to open my heart at the beginning of the day and carry that love into my interactions with employees, customers, and partners. Staying true to our commitment in creating a "net positive" return in this world provides a healthy boost of business karma and creates a true legacy that each and everyone of our employees and customers can be proud to participate in. EPIC Provisions is a scalable case-study that proves business can be profitable for our planet, our communities, and our company.

I am inspired by the words of Robert Rodale (a founder of the organic/regenerative agriculture movement and successful entrepreneur) on his perspective for the opportunity of business to create impact. "We're interested in helping people to see their ability to achieve self-reliance. We keep the bottom line in perspective. It is important, but so are many other things. American business could make money and still look out for the interest of all people, including future generation. Someone has to. We have to." This is the true value of business, creating meaningful interactions that positively impact the world.

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