Lynda Resnick's Business Advice
By Andrew C. Stone
If you're wondering how to ensure that your company’s still here next year, it would be wise to call on someone who has thrived in good times and persevered in bad. Enter Lynda Resnick, whose Rubies in the Orchard: How to Uncover the Hidden Gems in Your Business (Doubleday; $24.95) can inspire, educate, and embolden firsttime entrepreneurs and CEOs alike.
Resnick and her husband, Stewart, have navigated their way through countless business challenges with both start-ups and well-established brands. The Resnicks’ Roll International Corporation owns Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice, Fiji water, and flower-delivery giant Telefora, and they’ve grown each business into a rousing success story. (They also owned the Franklin Mint, which they sold in 2006.) Rubies really gets readers rooting for Lynda and Stewart, while offering straight-shooting advice on how to maximize your brand’s value.
It doesn’t hurt that Lynda is hilarious. A regular blogger for the Huffington Post and even a frequent contributor to Los Angeles Confidential, Lynda has an extraordinary gift for communication, making it easy to connect with her approach to business. Just as she’s generous with her wealth (the Resnicks are highly philanthropic, donating millions to organizations such as LACMA and UCLA Medical Sciences), she’s charitable with her know-how.… And we’d all be wise to take her advice!
LOS ANGELES CONFIDENTIAL: For those unfamiliar with your story, can you explain why you’re the right person to give advice about marketing?
LYNDA RESNICK: I’ve built several brands to great success, and the tools I’ve gained through my experience will be very helpful to anyone—from a dry cleaner to a hair salon, up to General Motors. Well, we might be a little late there.… That’s what makes me different. I’ve actually done it. We’ve weathered all sorts of storms. You go through these things over and over again, and learn to temper yourself against the tyranny of the “immediate.”
LAC: What thinking needs to be dispelled for companies to become—and stay—strong?
LR: What our society has to learn is that you can’t make 18 percent a year, year in and year out. That has never happened in the history of time. We have to go back to basics with hard work, and commit ourselves to doing the right things. Here we are in this very scary time, so what is the consumer looking for? Value. Rubies in the Orchard guides you through a “unique selling proposition”—how to have one and how to communicate its benefits. I also give a primer on building your business on the Internet, which I think is crucial at the moment. It’s a great time for people with intellect. If you’re smart and you work hard and stick to the basics, you will survive.
LAC: One of the most refreshing points you make is the commitment to your employees. How key is that?
LR: Well, it’s essential. No one does anything alone. These people are part of our team, and hey, we hire people we like so we take care of them.
LAC: Your book is full of ground rules about finding the true value in your brand. Where do people typically veer off course?
LR: You have to stick to what you promise. Particularly with Wall Street companies—they get into this quarterly earning cycle. They want to show growth to their investors, and this has been the debacle in our economy. Public companies make short-term decisions that are terrible in the long run. The gas-guzzling SUVs, not retooling Detroit because they didn’t want to lay out the cash.… They take money out of the product to put it into advertising and marketing.
LAC: How vital has your sense of humor been to your success?
LR: I couldn’t have done it without that. The thing that I love so much about Stewart is that we can laugh at each other, ourselves, at life. You need that, because life is hard and then you die. You had better have a few laughs along the way.
Photograph by Matthew Rolston (Resnick)