Who would have thought the five years I spent as an officer in the United States Marine Corps would be serving me as strong now as it did as a 22-year-old Second Lieutenant. During my time in the military, I learned a lot of valuable leadership and management skills that I often share with other entrepreneurs.
These tips have proven to help me succeed as CEO at Better Choice Company in the extremely competitive pet category. Marine
- If you can’t manage yourself then you are going to have a really hard time managing others. You have also probably heard the saying don’t let your business manage you. Self-discipline is the number one skill you must develop to be successful in organizing your time, thoughts, and actions. So what does self-discipline involve? Well, to me it boils down to 4 things: persistence, focus, prioritization, and the ability to take on a high-capacity workload.
- You cannot retreat, rather consistently fight forward. So how do I define persistence? My definition is simple; you cannot retreat, you have to consistently fight forward despite any obstacles. Much of my business success can be attributed to my passion and tenacity nurtured early on in the military. However, I continued to develop it over the years working in Fortune 100 companies like PepsiCo. Let’s face it; all executives are going to face significant challenges in business. I haven’t met anyone that didn’t face a wall and either had to blow through it, move around it, or go over it. You can have an MBA, the smartest team, and the deepest resources but I believe that persistence is what will get you past the obstacle. This can only come from within you and be rapidly transferred to your team.
- Taking the “big picture” and making it smaller. Understanding the big picture is crucial but, like any military leader, every entrepreneur must then be able to make that big picture smaller for themselves and their team. Attention to detail is of the utmost importance. If the little things are taken care of, then the big things will fall into place. This is why I always plan out my year in 90-day increments. It is this planning that allows me to have the self-discipline to manage my schedule but also to dictate to my team my “commander’s intent.” The commander’s intent is the focus you wish to push down through the organization. For example, when we look at acquiring customers for the Halo pet food brand we break things up by channel and the tactic utilized to convert the customer. It makes little sense to spend time or energy on upper-funnel tactics if the channel requires lower-funnel conversion like on our Halopets.com website.
- Prioritization is key for survival. If there is one thing the Marines taught me, it was vicious prioritization. You see, when you are fighting a battle you can’t simply deploy all your resources against all fronts. It is just too difficult to win in that manner and you won’t be able to exploit opportunities. In business, you can always be outgunned vs. larger competitors. Prioritization is what allows companies to outcompete the larger ones. The idea is simple, work smarter not harder.
- Be prepared to wear many hats. If you develop aggressive self-discipline then your work capacity will increase dramatically. Executives should be comfortable wearing many different hats and be efficient in all of those roles. The only way to be efficient is to have the time to effectively complete the assigned tasks. If you are bogged down in unproductive details then the end goal will be missed. I have had the ability over time to do the workload of many people because of the skills I have developed over the years. It isn’t about being brilliant, it is about persistence, focus, and prioritization. If you can master these three skills the sky is the limit. Marine
About the author
Chief Executive Officer
Better Choice Company
Scott Lerner is CEO at Better Choice Company (NYSE: BTTR), a growing pet and wellness company committed to leading the industry shift toward pet products and services that help dogs and cats live happier, healthier, and longer lives. Scott has over 20 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods industry, holding senior positions at PepsiCo, ConAgra Foods, and Kimberly-Clark. He managed iconic brands such as Naked Juice and Quaker Oats, Scott Tissue, and Parkay Margarine. Marine
About Better Choice Company Inc.
Better Choice Company Inc. is a rapidly growing pet health and wellness company committed to leading the industry shift toward pet products and services that help dogs and cats live healthier, happier, and longer lives. We take a nutrition-based approach to pet health relative to the conventional dog and cat food offerings and position our portfolio of brands to benefit from the mainstream trends of growing pet humanization and consumer focus on health and wellness. We have a demonstrated, multi-decade track record of success selling trusted pet health and wellness products and leverage our established digital footprint to provide pet parents with the knowledge to make informed decisions about their pet’s health. We sell the majority of our dog food, cat food, and treats under the Halo and TruDog brands, which are focused, respectively, on providing sustainably sourced kibble and canned food derived from real whole meat, and minimally processed raw-diet dog food and treats. For more information, please visit https://www.betterchoicecompany.com. Marine
By Scott Lerner, CEO of Better Choice Company