Lessons learned from Start ups and Building Businesses
Prior to launching
- Begin with the end in mind;
- Timing matters. Need to understand your window of opportunity
- Learn the “tough” business lessons on someone else’s nickel;
- Find a partner or mentor who balances you;
- Rule of 2’s
- Network, network and network some more
- Create your own Steve Gates situation
- Find like minded people to own the brand;
- Be mindful of your equity;
- Don’t quit when that seems obvious
Jeffrey Church is the CEO of Suja Juice and Nika Water. Suja is an organic, premium juice brand focused on healthy alternatives that taste great. Nika is a new breed of social enterprises created with the intention of donating 100% of its profits to bring clean water to those without around the world. Nika believes that the cycle of poverty can be broken in our life times through the creation of innovative social businesses such as Nika and close collaboration with other like-minded for profit and non-profit businesses.
During his career, Mr. Church has led the acquisition and turnaround of numerous companies including Lynx Grills Inc., a leading manufacturer of premium-branded outdoor gas grills, cocktail stations, and related grilling, barbecuing and outdoor cooking parts and accessories. In 2006 Mr. Church sold Lynx Grills and generated a 7x return on investor capital. Mr. Church was chief executive officer and controlling owner of Aztec Concrete Accessories Inc., in Fontana, Calif., a manufacturer of proprietary products for the construction industry.
In 2000, Mr. Church sold Aztec and generated an 8x return on investor capital. From 1987 to 1998, he served as President and general manager of various divisions within ERICO and presided over eight businesses with annual revenues exceeding $200 million. Prior to that, Mr. Church was an associate in Morgan Stanley’s merchant banking group, and a senior at Ernst & Young.
Mr. Church earned an M.B.A at Harvard Business School and a B.A. in Accounting at Michigan State University. In 1983 he became a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Ohio. He and his wife of 23 years, Linda, have four children between 20 and 15 years old. Mr Church’s hobbies include water and snow skiing, long-distance running, and mountain climbing. Mr. Church has run in more than 50 marathons, 5 ultra marathons, and has climbed 5 of the 7 summits, the highest mountains on the seven continents.