Just before the lunch break at Inc.'s second annual Women's Summit, Joy Chen, CEO of beauty company Yes To, took the stage to talk about turning a struggling brand into a global success-- in just two years.
Entreprenuer Ido Leffler launched the company, which sells natural beauty products made from fruits and vegetables, in 2006. Early on, the company had lofty missions, including promoting healthy lifestyles and women's esteem, but it struggled to "walk the talk" because it wasn't making money. Chen was named CEO in 2009 and was given only a few months to turn the company around.
"All I could think about was, 'How can I unlock the potential of this brand?' Chen said. "It's a gold mine but it has to be unlocked. And how do I get this business back on track?"
Chen did come up with a plan-- a plan that she said quadrupled its revenue and increased its profit five times. Today, the company has a reported $50 million in revenue and its products are sold in over 25,000 stores across the globe.
What was her plan? She said it was pretty simple and can apply to any big problem you might have.
1. Assess the business and say no. The first thing Chen did was assess Yes To. She talked to the company's employees, the teams, and the board, to find out what was working and what wasn't. She also looked at the business' data. Then she asked for ideas.
"There were so many good ideas but the key is: How do you make choices and focus on those choices?" Chen explained. The answer was: say no. She said no to everything that wasn't the absolute right choice. "As a result [of my plan] within the first year, we delivered on all of our financial commitments," said Chen.
2. Execute your strategy. Chen said a plan isn't enough. "A piece of paper with a strategy is no good," she said. Part of her plan was to shift focus from its popular Yes To Carrots line to a broader Yes To branding--a move that gave the company the ability to expand into other lines of products.
Yes To also changed all of its packaging from white to bold colors. Finally, Chen rebranded individual product lines ensuring they all had a specific purpose and benefit behind them.
3. Celebrate to create positive momentum. "Celebrating success is one of the most important things you can do as a leader," Chen said. Yes To employees celebrated the first formula that was produced in the United States, the first month they met their revenue goal, and the first time artwork came off the production line.
"We celebrate a lot of success to give our team confidence that all the hard work that they put in really mattered," she said. But most importantly, Chen said the celebration creates positive momentum. When employees are excited about the latest success, they can't wait to attain the next.