A few months ago, our CEO Betsy Craig was asked a series of questions about our business. The insight she gave is invaluable and really gives a brilliant summary of how MenuTrinfo and the different divisions started, and how we got where we are today. Enjoy reading and getting to know Betsy Craig!
If you had it to do all over again, would you do anything differently?
Hindsight is truly 20/20 BUT I am not at all sure what I would do different as each move/ action led me to where I am right now. Any mistakes I have made along the way have taught me some of the most important lessons, so no I wouldn’t do anything differently.
What mistakes did you make?
I haven’t ever and don’t currently make employees sign an NDA or any agreement that they won’t start a competing product when they leave. A number of ex-employees have tried to create their own company that either compliments our services or directly competes with them. I have always chosen to look the other way, wish them well and move on. I know that a simple non-compete would fix that but then it becomes a fight and I am so not into that personally.
Another area I think I could have handled better (and have certainly learned my lesson) is to not do any partnership without an agreement spelled out beforehand. I did that once and it cost me almost $100K and resulted in many hurt feelings for those involved and a product we still barely sell. I definitely will always make sure in the future everything is spelled out on paper before starting a project, it’s helpful.
What skills have you found to be the most helpful?
I have definitely found my stubbornness to be a huge help. Also, my willingness to learn anything and everything, honesty, drive to help others and genuine ease at getting along with anyone have all been the helpful in both life and in business.
Being an entrepreneur is time-consuming, so how do you manage a work-life balance? Did you have to make personal sacrifices?
LOL. Work life balance is so hard. I haven’t found any balance really until this past year or so. My mind is always thinking of the business, the people we get to help and what can I do better/different. I have made personal sacrifices more than I could possibly count. It’s hard and not for anyone that is happy with a 40-hour per week job. For me, 12-16-hour days are standard, and only recently have I been able to have enough staff to hand off some of the tasks on my plate to have a life as well. I still would not trade any of it for anything at all.
What was the biggest unexpected challenge you encountered?
The biggest unexpected challenge is definitely when my health went south quickly, and I had to continue to run the business through it all. During my stem cell transplant, I was taking conference calls from the hospital room and trying to get physically better every day while being insanely sick. It was crazy hard and I’m grateful this was almost 3 years ago now. I honestly don’t know how I got through that time except for maybe my stubbornness.
Did you ever feel like quitting or giving up? If so, what made you continue to move forward?
Yes, at least once a week in the beginning I want to cash it all in. Especially because I am married to a super successful man who at any point in the first 10 years could have fully supported our lives with a lot less stress. I moved forward because I would get an email from a mom whose kid had a food allergy and was choosing a college because of MenuTrinfo, or a call from a restaurant owner would bring their restaurant to us so we could solve all their nutritional needs and make life easy for them. These calls kept me going (and still do to this day).
What makes your business unique?
What we do and how we do it. We are the only ones in the country that offer many of the services we do. I am proud that we are leading the industry and driving the mission. MenuTrinfo exists to inform people of what is in their food so they can eat without worry. It’s a unique business but the work we do saves lives and is incredibly important.
What advice would you give to a future entrepreneur? What is your definition of Entrepreneurship?
Make sure you LOVE what you are doing as that is what keeps you going when nothing else can. I’d define an entrepreneur as a stubborn, brilliant and inspired person who won’t take no for an answer.
How is your role different at the start of your business than it is now?
What I’ve learned over the years is that owning a business is a marathon not a sprint. I have always had to make sure my passion remained strong and that is what got me through the dark days. Today, by the way, there are only a few dark moments. Success feels great and keeps things rolling forward even when I don’t know I need it. Today I feel like I am truly living my dream. I LOVE what I get to do each day I really do and now with the help of an amazing dedicated team I feel more confident every day that the future is bright for MenuTrinfo. I have always been CEO Betsy Craig, but my role today is really about supporting the rest of the team and looking forward to a bright future.
Thanks for reading!