The Extreme Bean’s Matt Larochelle and Steve McVicker Bring the Heat
In this series, we profile entrepreneurs approaching the top of their game, and ask them how they got there. This week, two food entrepreneurs introducing the world to pickled asparagus.
With no artificial flavours or ingredients, Matt and Steve’s hand packaged Extreme Bean and other pickled products have found their niche. Their addictive jars are a step up from the usual sodium-heavy pickled products popular in the aisles of traditional grocery stores.
Here, founders Steve McVicker and Matt Larochelle talk about smart work-life balance, cash investments and consuming a jar of beans every 11 seconds.
Q & A
Best advice you have ever been given?
Matt Larochelle: Evaluate cash investments in the business on the long-term return of that money not the initial pain it causes in the month or the quarter.
What is one trait you have, that you find has attributed to your success?
Steve McVicker: Passion, when you have passion for what you are doing that passion shines through and is very infectious to all the people you encounter, whether it be members of your team, your vendors or ultimately the end user.
What is the lesson you took the longest to learn?
Matt: To wrap plans around people’s skills not people around plans. I have learnt that everyone has a genius and it is my job with the help of the person to find that genius and apply it to company’s needs.
Who are your some of your role models?
Matt: I think people are complex. Some people are great family people, some are super creative or run great businesses. I am not sure anyone has it all figured out, but you can find strong admirable traits in most people.
What makes it all worth it?
Steve: What makes it worth-while for me is building it, the company itself and the brands we have created and then to receive such positive feedback from our customers.
What long term goals do you have?
Steve: Last year there was 1 jar of Extreme Beans consumed every 11 seconds, we want to get that down to 1 jar every second. We have a lot hustle ahead of us to get there!
How do you balance your work and personal lives?
Matt: I do not think I balance work in the traditional sense as a business owner. I think integration makes more sense. My family is part of my work. I often incorporate business trips with my wife or events with my kids. When running a growing company, I believe integration is much more realistic than balance.
Steve: I am usually up around 6:30AM and the first thing I do is look at my phone, I will respond to any comments or inquires that have come in overnight through our social media channels. Then I will make some coffee, turn on CNBC for a quick catch up and then head into the office when I am not on the road.
I have been doing intermitting fasting for almost 2 years now so my typical weekday eating habits are a little different, I don’t eat my first meal until around 11:30AM and last meal of the day before 8:30PM. During the day I am all about convenience and speed, typically I will be sipping on a power shake eating energy bars.
Matt: The morning routine has been all over the place lately. With two kids under 6 my day starts when theirs starts. Lately it’s been about 4:30 – 6AM with my youngest. Most mornings I drive my oldest to school and head into the office around 8:30AM.
Matt: Every morning we have an operational huddle with all department heads and key staff at 9.16AM. 7 people max, 100% mandatory attendance, this is a stand-up meeting. Huddle will last 7-10 minutes. Within that time, we all know how each department is preforming, what the challenges are and if we have had any wins from yesterday. These huddles allow our minimal communication style and dramatically reduce formal meetings.
Steve: First thing up is to prepare my metrics that we all report back to the team at our morning huddle every day at 9:16AM. The daily huddle is really the the only constant of the day. We set very clear goals for ourselves and the company and hold ourselves and everyone accountable. My day-to-day responsibilities in the business include our Food service business, marketing and running all of our consumer and trade shows, although I spend significant time on the road (120 days last year). I love getting in front of our customers in different markets and getting their feedback that I can take back to the team.
Steve: Usually this is the time I hit the gym 3/4 times per week, I put on my earphones, shut out the world and hit the weights and work up a solid sweat. A healthy meal always follows whether I’m cooking at home or heading out to meet some friends in the city. I started to mediate about 2 years ago and always to try and get a 5-10 session in to wind down before hitting bed.
Matt: Sociability and fun. We entertain a ton. We love being surrounded by friends and family as often as possible.
I try and get a book in a month, there are 3 that I use tips from daily:
The Art of Persuasion by Bob Burg
I use tips on how to shape a conversation.
Disney U by Doug Lipp
I use tips on how to How to prepare for important meetings and trade shows.
The Definitive Book of Body Language by Barbara and Allan Pease
I use tips on how to read people before and during interactions.
The Profit on CNBC
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
Good for tips on entrepreneurship. Anything is possible with sustained tenacity.
The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt
Oldie but a goodie. The Goal is about production and some life lessons learnt through a story of a plant manager. Has good insights regarding productivity, market demand and life.
Multipliers by Liz Wiseman
Good for tips on people management. The multiplier really got me thinking about people’s genius and that everyone has one, so as management we need to actively look for it in others. Once found, dig into it and see if it is something your company can use as an asset.