Thursday, September 3, 2015

Q&A with Perfecr Bar

What makes your business a family business?

Perfect Bar is family business that’s owned and operated by the king-sized
Keith family. Myself and 8 of my siblings work together across all
departments and facets of the business. We range from 19-32 years of age
to 19 and founded the company in 2005 with the hopes of sharing our family
recipe with the world.

How did you come into the business?

My dad, Dr. Bud Keith created the original Perfect Bar recipe. He was
renowned nutritionist and fitness industry pioneer. In the mid 1990’s, he
was searching for a healthy on-the-go snack for us Keith kids—13 in all. We
hated taking our whole food vitamin supplements, so dad thought he could
hide the taste in a delicious blend of organic peanut butter and honey.
Needless to say it worked, we loved them, and the Perfect Bar recipe was

By 2005, my dad’s health began deteriorating rapidly from skin cancer and
he was no longer able to provide for the family. I was attending College of
the Redwoods and my parents were desperate to make ends meet. As the
oldest, I knew it was going to be up to me to help save the family. I
convinced my mom to sell the only piece of property we owned and used that
money as start-up capital for the family business. The first few years
proved quite challenging, but we persevered, and the rest is history!

What makes your family business experience unique? How is it different from
running a "typical" small business?

I come to work everyday with 8 of my 13 siblings to make and sell the
freshest and healthiest nutrition bars ever created from a recipe bestowed
upon us by our late father. We never in a million years thought we’d ever
be where we are today—an Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies in the U.S.
For us, it’s not about a job or simply a career. It’s about growing,
learning and building. It’s about making our own personal impact on the
world, fulfilling our potential each and everyday.

What do you love about family business?

Knowing you can depend on a family members and trust them with your life,
your future, your business, is a rare feeling. I have that with my brothers
and sisters.

What so you hate about family business?
There is no easy way to discipline a brother and sister, especially when
mom has a rehire policy. Being the CEO comes with much responsibility,
sometimes that can affect the way we see ourselves and treat others. I hate
feeling like the authoritative talking head at times but I guess that’s

What’s a myth about family business you’d like to debunk?

That you can't work with your family because there is to much potential for
discord between family members. I think as long as everyone knows there
role and position there can be potential for success in that they can be
business partners that you can trust for life. Also, that a personal vision
cannot be shared by the family.

What three things have been key to your success?

First, my faith, which has made me stronger in that I believe there is a
bigger purpose for my life. I feel that God put me on this path and has
given me the confidence to lead and the ability to effect change. Second,
my family, I believe that having a strong support system like my family is
essential to my success because it provides me with a foundation that you
can go to in hard times and in good times. Third, you got to have a great
product, but if you can have a great story or social mission connected to
it then you can have a bigger impact with your customers.

Would you advise others to go into family business?

That would depend on many factors. We have learned how to be a productive
and efficient family business over time. That’s something many family
businesses don’t have. You’d be surprised how much can go wrong running a
business day in and day out. It’s also very risky putting all your eggs in
one basket, so to speak.

What difference has being a family business made in your sales?

Consumers nowadays want to connect to the products they are purchasing.
They want to know as if they are contributing to something they believe in.
I believe our story allows people to connect on many different levels.
Human branding is more salient than ever. It’s about telling a good story
and connecting with customers on real life terms. I think we do that well
and I think it has been a large part of our success.

What difference has your family business made in your community?

Perfect Bar has over 100 full-time employees to date and remain steadfast
in building healthy communities from the inside out. My company is a
regular donor to many local, national and international non-profit
organizations. In tribute to my late father, we recently teamed up with the
Skin Cancer Foundation as corporate partner and donor to help raise
awareness for skin cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. In recent
months Perfect Bar has donated company resources to support the Whole Kids
Foundation’s School Garden Grants Program, which serves to teach kids the
importance of nutrition and wellness by helping them understand where food
comes from—the magic of a seed. Other recent charitable donations include
those made to Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, the Burn Institute’s San
Diego Chapter, Ogar Strong Trust, and the Canary Foundation. My company’s
continued effort to build meaningful long-lasting relationships with
purposeful community driven outreach programs and organizations has helped
foster a culture that empowers employees to give back and seek out
additional avenues for charitable giving. Employees are encouraged to bring
fresh ideas and new causes important to them, their families and the

Would you advise a couple to start a business together? Why or why not?

No, I like having separate work lives so that when they day is over we can
come together and share stories from our day. This allows us to connect on
a personal level without having business interfere with our relationship.

Do you incorporate your children in your family business? Why or why not?

I have a 13-month-old daughter that is the final vote on tasting new
favors. I value her opinion and there is no flavor that gets implemented
without her smile of approval.

What's a day in the life of a family business (share a rough outline of
your family and business daily life)?

-Start the day with a morning meeting with my plant operator, VP, and
quality control about production for the day.

- Meeting with ingredient suppliers

- Check emails and make calls

- Check on retailers

- Get market report

- Research Market Trends

- Plan next steps

- I am constantly flying to corporate offices and presenting to buyers and

Do you think family business should be a priority for others (lawmakers,
service providers, college students...)? Why or why not?

It really depends whether you can communicate with your family members or
not. It's probably not a good idea to start a family business if you cannot
effectively communicate with your family members. As for me, I enjoy having
my brothers and sisters around me in my everyday life because we've spent
many years together growing up in a motor home and traveling the country
and that connection we share is contagious.

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