EPISODE 4: Will Work for Chocolate: Evolution of a Conscious Company

Pana Barbounis had an idea. He wanted to make quality chocolate. He didn’t want to make just any chocolate, his would be one of the finest chocolates in the world. It wouldn’t just taste wonderful, it would be good for those who ate it, it would be vegan, organic, hand-made, and hand-packaged. Customers would be able to taste the difference. His company would also be kind to the earth. The company’s motto would be “Love Your Insides, Love the Earth.” He delivered his first bars to local companies via his Vespa scooter.

Now, little more than four years later, Pana Chocolate is available in over 4,000 stores and 25 countries around the world. It is one of the largest vegan, organic chocolate companies on the planet. He has a huge Instagram following, and as Jeffrey Slayter points out, his is the perfect example of a conscious company. He’s been invited to the show to share what he has learned with those who are also growing successful businesses.

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Time-Stamped Show Notes

[00:00] Introduction of Pana Barbounis, CEO of Australia’s Pana Chocolate, including a brief history of the company.

[03:10] Barbounis believes in giving back, and when he founded his company in 2012 he honored the earth by planting 10,000 trees. Every year since then, he has increased the number of trees planted.

[05:07] Give-back programs encourage employee engagement in the company culture and increase loyalty, making it not just a good idea, but a good business decision as well.

[07:02] His biggest challenge in business is a staff of over 100. He details some of the things he has learned from his own experience.

[09:40] Barbounis cautions entrepreneurs against chasing down every idea and spreading yourself too thin or losing direction.

[11:20] Hard-won advice on leadership for other CEOs. Don’t wait for things to happen and always evolve.

[14:40] Sharing ideas within a team often reveals more than one way of achieving a result.

[16:15] How Barbounis went about branding his product, and how other CEOs can adapt techniques to their own product or service.

[20:30] In 2017 Barbounis wants to see continued growth, a great company culture, improved communication, and further work on projects of sustainability.

[21:23] Examples and tips on being a conscious company for other CEOs doing over $1,000,000 in business per year.

[24:02] Barbounis talks about environmental impact and the shift in buyers demanding products that are in tune with their own personal beliefs and mission, as well as the impact of social media.

[28:42] Maintaining consistency in company culture and product quality.

[33:00] Altering your perspective and pre-conceived beliefs opens new doors in terms of growth and profits.

[37:00] Barbounis shares a few inspiring words for his team at Pana Chocolate for the new year.