One of my favorite company values here at EPIC is "We are world champions." It captures our competitive nature at work and life, but also represents how we perceive our team. At EPIC we partner with what our Co-founder Katie Forrest calls "The finest human beings on the face of the planet." This extends to every relationship our company holds and while the most obvious is our own employees, we extend this value to our customers, suppliers, and shareholders.
From day one, we have empowered the people at EPIC to be mindful of our business partnerships and trust their decisions on relationship building. It's clear to us that we can accelerate our values and mission by partnering with people who will carry the EPIC culture and who we love interacting with. Likewise, if someone is a douche bag we empower our employees to not pursue those business relationships no matter how much upside is left on the table. Creating good business only happens by working with good people.
One of the most consistent struggles shared by entrepreneurs involves building out a team. This is completely normal and something that EPIC has carefully pieced together over the past 3 years. If you are not struggling with this, then you are not being careful enough about your hiring decisions. I cannot emphasize the importance of putting together a team of champions. Having a team that embodies the values of your company is the difference between being authentic or obviously generic. Having the right team in place dictates whether or not your company crushes through walls or gets crushed by walls. It is one of the single most important things in business.
When hiring at EPIC (which is all the time), we value people who embody the brand and embrace the culture over someone who "doesn't get it." We will always hire the passionate individual who wants to change the world even if they have less experience than other applicants. Many of our best hires have no previous experience in CPG or natural foods. We have learned that resumes are a good starting point, but the truest determining factor in hiring someone happens during a conversation. Don't settle for anything less than perfect! We have always hired slowly and while that presents challenges and stress within the company it's better than having an employee who is not in line with our values and mission.
Over the last 2 months we have grown our team of champions from 16 employees to 42! We love them all and have a great sense of satisfaction for having these people in our life. As always, trust your instincts and when in doubt listen to your gut. It's more important to hire slowly than to settle on someone who doesn't completely impress you. To learn about the amazing people that work at EPIC, visit our always expanding team page!