Only the best Featured

7:23am EDT October 21, 2004
I was recently inspired by the back of a bag of Garden Fresh Gourmet brand tortilla chips, to be more specific.

On the bag is a story by company founder and President Jack Aronson about how he began making salsa in his restaurant in Michigan. His customers liked it and the restaurant became known for it. His restaurant, however, was not as successful as his salsa.

Aronson's accountant insisted that if he wanted to make money, he needed to reduce the cost of his products by purchasing less expensive ingredients. But he stuck to his belief that to produce the quality salsa both he and his customers demanded, he had to use only the best ingredients.

This didn't make his accountant happy, until one day, the president of a chain of grocery stores tasted the salsa and insisted that Aronson let him sell it in his stores. The rest, as they say, is history.

Aronson's success came from the fact that he understood and was committed to his vision for producing only the best product. He felt, as do many entrepreneurs, that how he does something is as important, or perhaps more important, than what he does.

Unfortunately, not everyone is fortunate enough to have a potential customer walk in the front door and demand to buy huge quantities of their product. But there are hundreds of entrepreneurs who have a strong passion for their vision, a commitment for their values and who are willing to sacrifice short-term profitability for long-term success.

So do you follow the vision and, like the Garden Fresh people, use only the finest ingredients, no matter the cost? Or do you listen to your accountant and sacrifice your values for profit?

Assuming that the vision is based on reality and there are customers who appreciate that vision and are willing to buy the products that result from it, most successful entrepreneurs would listen to their accountant's arguments, do more testing of their vision with potential customers, then hold on to their values and continue to pursue their vision.

And that accountant who wanted Aronson to cut costs with inferior ingredients? He saw the light and the wisdom of Aronson's way. Today, he is the company's CFO.