"The emergence of purpose as the new organizing principle in our economy is a product of our current moment in time."
By Aaron Hurst, CEO of Imperative
Behind every great company is a mission.
For Good Eggs, an online hub where people buy food directly from nearby farmers and food producers, the mission is clear, and it starts with integrity. As co-founder and CEO Rob Spiro shares, “we’re a company full of folks who are doing this because [we] want to make the world a better place."
Profiled in our Purpose Economy 100, Good Eggs demonstrates how to succeed by delivering purpose to its employees, its customers and by building purpose throughout its supply chain. On its online platform, customers can efficiently shop for local, healthy and sustainable foods while providing greater returns to its suppliers and minimizing harm to the environment.
Growing up in the Internet age, Rob wanted to be an entrepreneur from early on. He was inspired by “the ability for a small group with compelling ideas to have huge impact on society in a very short period of time.” Couple that with the idea that you could harness technology for good to make real change in the world and Good Eggs was born.
In building, running and growing his “mission-driven company," Rob offers these eight lessons:
1. Connect Everything You Do with Your Mission
It’s critical to “create alignment, motivation and a sense of purpose” with everyone around him including the team, potential partners and investors, he says. “The goal is to find those producers who are not only making the highest quality food but who are also doing it in a caring way, caring for the people and caring for their land.”
Rallying his team around this purpose, Rob shares that the mission is tied to what they do, and this mission must be repeated. As he puts it:
“Repetition never spoils prayer. You pray it three times...for impact.”
2. Connect with Your Team through Shared Values and Vision
The Good Eggs team is motivated by the desire to change the food system for the benefit of people and the planet. When onboarding new team members, one of the most rewarding things is “helping people see and seeing through their eyes the system that we built and how it actually is working and having impact,” according to Rob.
3. Prioritize with a Hands-on Approach
Good Eggs tends to run its business on six week cycles. This manageable timeline allows the CEO to work with the team to prioritize and plan the next phase. He also conducts workshops and facilitates discussions, synthesizing ideas. Like other millennial-run companies, he sees a return to personal scale where management is actively engaging with employees to create solutions.
4. Find the Right Mentors
Rob advises people starting out in their careers to find a great mentor or set of mentors to learn from and guide your professional development, rather than working for a large company that doesn’t align with your values. Co-founder of startup Aardvark, Damon Horowitz, was one of Rob’s mentors. When Rob worked for the company, he learned how to build great products, manage the R&D process, raise money from investors, while retaining an independent vision. These fundamentals would help him down the line.
5. Request Feedback from and Build Relationships with Your Supply Chain
Good Eggs regularly talks to and requests feedback from their roughly 500 producers. He finds by using fewer middlemen, suppliers often see a greater return on their product. With this, Rob notes “[producers will] be able to extend their own teams and find that sustainability in their lives, making great food and bringing it to people.”
6. Scale with Intention
Purpose isn’t a luxury for only those who can afford it. As a pioneer in the Purpose Economy, Good Eggs plans to scale to make great quality food more accessible to communities of all incomes. Rob points out the company has a natural advantage through its streamlined supply chain and offers far fewer products than say, Whole Foods, which has 40,000 different SKUs. Good Eggs also employs sophisticated analytics and pricing tools to further affect price.
7. Build and Invest in Communities
One of the main drivers of purpose is building community. Good Eggs engages the local food community by hosting events such as a Harvest Festival in the fall and a pie celebration that highlights one of its suppliers. The company also supports community organizations to bring people together around local food.
8. Working for the Future
Like Virgin’s Richard Branson and Whole Food’s John Mackey, Rob believes that planet and profit go together.
“Even if you’re a CEO, you’re still a human being and you should be making decisions based on how can you make the world a better place.”
There is a growing trend of people who care where their food comes from; and for long-term success, it is necessary to have a sustainable supply chain, he adds.
The emergence of purpose as the new organizing principle in our economy is a product of our current moment in time. As Good Eggs proves, it is through innovation, a commitment to values and a vision toward future impact and growth that organizations in this new economy will thrive.