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Gary Erickson Quotes

Gary Erickson

Gary Erickson quotes: wisdom from the co-creator of Clif Bar.

“First, you have to do something you believe in. I believed from the start that Clif Bar was a worthy product. Then, keep making it the best you can. Also, you’ve got to be humble about whatever you do. Do not become arrogant, and always keep your ego in check. And never give up.”

“I believe that our epiphanies or intuitive insights often reflect who we are, or what we are capable of doing, in unexpected ways.”

“Often, for me, the best ideas come out of extreme situations in unknown terrain, whether in cycling or in business. Pushing beyond what I think I can do creates an opening for new ideas.”

“I named my creation Clif Bar in honor of my father, Clifford, the man who introduced me to wilderness adventures and encouraged me to follow my passions in life.”

“Successful entrepreneurs take who they are and what they already know and create surprising combinations.”

“Yin-yang is more then just a concept of opposites, it is the beginning of all things, an energy, a wholeness.”

“Resilience. From humble beginnings baking the first Clif Bar in my mom’s kitchen more than 30 years ago to where we are today, taking care of our people and communities as we navigate this unprecedented pandemic, I think about resilience.”

“I think the most important lesson a small business can learn is to be patient for growth, but impatient for profitability.”

“While we have celebrated many milestones and great success, we have also weathered growing pains, downturns and now Covid-19. We are resilient through all of this because of our commitment to lead with values, which have never wavered. As a privately held, family- and employee-owned company, we have the flexibility to do things differently. And for us, that has always meant putting our people and our purpose first. We are incredibly proud to say that.”

“Look for mentors.”

“Don’t do 50-50 partnerships. Maybe you want to bring a partner on, but not 50%.”

“Lesson: treat employees really well and they’ll be very productive.”

“I’m not a technology geek, not at all. But I do use technology. You can’t be the CEO of a company these days and not use it.”

“I don’t look forward every day to putting on my cell phone and getting on the computer. I would much rather be on my bike, talking to people and running the business that way, but that’s just not possible today. And email is just part of being in business. A few years ago, I didn’t know what email was. Now it’s a part of my life.”

“People do not choose whether or not they will worship; they only choose what they will worship”

“True worship begins with a thankful attitude.”

“We overcame temptation to sell the company for a high price when it was up against deep-pocketed competitors.”

“Not giving in to the expected finish line of a big payout gave us freedom to rethink the game. So we created a new five-bottom-line business model focused on sustaining our business, brands, people, community and the planet, which we call our Five Aspirations.”

“We came close to selling the company. Instead, we kept the company private and eventually bought out our former partner. We wanted to keep our company whether it succeeded or failed.”

“Clif Bar has sustained all these years because we’ve stayed true to our athletic heritage, our core company values and the purpose of our product.”

“It was hard to visualize 20 years when we first started. It’s like when you’re a young kid. You can’t think of what it’s going to be like when you’re 20, or even five. I don’t think we could see that far ahead. But I really do think if you can hang onto it that long that maturity really helps you to continue to remain successful. It helps you figure out how to remain successful and continue to grow, and remain growing.”

“2020 marked 30 years since my epiphany to make a better energy bar. It’s also a year where we are facing enormous challenges, both globally and in our communities. Thirty years ago, I don’t think any of us anticipated the crises that we are facing now. Our Five Aspirations continue to guide us and help us make decisions that are true to our values and at no time has that been more important than right now.”

“Product innovation is still what drives us, but our purpose as an organization has become much bigger than the bar. We’re here proving that running a values-driven food company wasn’t just the right thing to do, it’s been smart business. I hope our success with the Five Aspirations business model is useful to companies trying to navigate profit and purpose.”

“We treat each Aspiration as a priority—and that’s why it works—but there’s no question that business is the engine. You must be profitable to survive and contribute. The key is that our Five Aspirations empower us to manage through short-term crises, without forgetting the importance of maintaining a long-term view. They help crystallize decision-making not just for profit but for all stakeholders, and they help ensure that we ultimately put people first.”

“I can’t explain how we got there, but I didn’t think we could. I could be sitting here saying, ‘Wow, 20 years, I’m burnt out.’ But it’s more thrilling now than it was 10 years ago.”

“It’s exciting to compete, to create new products, new opportunities for the employees, and have an impact on the local community as well as stay true to our environmental beliefs. We want to be a model for other companies. We want to grow, and reinvent the product and company whenever necessary. The story continues.”

“My favorite quote: ‘The more you practice the luckier you get.’ (Gary Player)”

“I’m an athlete as much as a founder and I thrive on competition, so the new challenge of five bottom lines was exhilarating. It was well worth the effort to redefine the game we were playing.”

“It’s a dream come true. As far as personally, I hope to continue to work hard and play hard as I always have. We call it the ‘pro leisure circuit’ sometimes. I travel hard, race hard, work really hard, and just enjoy life.”

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