By Jeff Church, Co-Founder of NIKA
As we've been together building NIKA over the past year, I've shared some personal work and life stories with some of our team members. A few of the team members, otherwise known as gluttons for punishment, have asked if I could share more of my experiences. Although I'm a little embarrassed and very humbled that you would like to hear more, I thought that it might be fun to start occasionally sending a story as I come across one or reflect on one. If you don't want to get these, feel 100% free to tell me to take you off the list. I've also included some of my friends and family who im sure will feel even more compelled to either abuse me or send a virus directly back to my computer! On the other hand, if you have a friend that you think would like to be included, please email me their address and I'll include them as well. Since this is the first one, I wanted to write about one of the most important qualities in life and in starting a business....Perseverance.
A cool story that you've probably heard but I always enjoy reading again is about someone that we all know. I'm not sure who wrote it but here it is. "He failed in business in '31. He was defeated for state legislator in '32. He tried another business in '33. It failed. His fiancée died in '35. He had a nervous breakdown in '36. In '43 he ran for congress and was defeated. He tried again in '48 and was defeated again. He tried running for the Senate in '55. He lost. The next year he ran for Vice President and lost. In '59 he ran for the Senate again and was defeated. In 1860, the man who signed his name A. Lincoln was elected the 16th President of the United States." I think that one of the many lessons to learn here is that the difference between history's boldest accomplishments and its most staggering failures is often, simply, the diligent will to persevere. I've also liked the story that Pete Rose told after he set the record for the most number of baseball hits in a career. They asked him his "secret to success" and he told them that last season he set the record for the most number of times at bat. You see Pete Rose realized that success is a function of the number of times that you step up to the plate and swing the bat. You're going to strike out a lot, but you can't get on base unless you take your shot.
NIKA is all about perseverance. We're all trying to do something that is incredibly difficult, we're trying to launch a new bottled water product, an ethical bottled water, into a very crowded and competitive space. In addition we are competing against billion dollar companies that invest massively in marketing and advertising and whose product sells in the market at prices well below our cost. Often times when we call on buyers at retail stores they commonly begin the conversation with "oh no, not another bottled water company!". When you make cold calls you may have to stop in a retail store ten times before a manager will give you the time of day. Or, you maybe trying to get a health permit and you may get abused by a city employee for a year while she exercises here personal power trip. Many people would just give up and walk away. Or they might try a few times and then move onto something else. During the past year I have seen countless times that you have persevered and continued making that last cold call of the day when you've already struck out ten times in a row or that you've been humiliated by a relentless city manager. Persevering is a key not only to operating a successful business but also to the more important game of life. Those that turn and walk away without persevering have only themselves to look at in the mirror as to why they couldn't get the job done. Those that continue banging on the proverbial door and eventually realize that the door does and will open, learn an important life lesson. You see, perseverance really does work! Great people like Abe Lincoln realized that somewhere in the deepest part of their souls that they were meant to serve and they would stop at nothing to achieve his goal. Pete Rose realized that just by stepping up to the plate and swinging the bat that he would set records one day and even everyday. Ordinary people like you and me realize that just by getting up one more time and dusting yourself off that we cant be beaten. NIKA is the same way. As a start up company we will all get rejected constantly. It will be very easy to give up and choose the easier path, the path of less resistance. However it's the harder path, the path that's often times less clear and more challenging to conquer that will be the most rewarding at the end of the day. You will also hopefully realize that by persevering that you can achieve great things for your sport or your business and that more importantly you will look yourself in the mirror and even if you fail you will feel good about yourself for giving it your all.
I love what the great Babe Ruth said, "Its hard to beat a person who never gives up."
Thanks to all of your efforts and perseverance, we are winning. A year ago virtually no one had heard of NIKA. Last week at the Fiesta Del Sol festival Id say that 30% to 40% of the people whom we met, had in fact heard of NIKA before. We are now in all 32 Henry's Markets in San Diego and Orange County. What's amazing is that we called on the buyer at least a dozen times over the past year to make this happen and we learned today that since last September, hes approved only two new products to be expanded to his stores. That's "perseverance" from our team!
If you have a moment, please check out our new You Tube link from our Fiesta Del Sol event.