Banza Co-Founders Share Their Biggest Success Tips

This week on How Success Happens, I spoke with Brian and Scott Rudolph, brothers and co-founders of Banza. The business was born out of a gluten sensitivity, and 10 years later, it’s expanded from chickpea pasta to foods including pizza, mac and cheese and more.

You can listen to my whole conversation with Brian and Scott above, and I’ve pulled out four key takeaways.

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It’s more fun to build a business if you’re passionate about the mission

Before Banza, Brian considered starting a tech company. He floated the idea by a friend, who asked him a simple question: “If you knew you had to work on it for the next 10 years, would you still do it?”

This made him realize he wasn’t super passionate about it. Around the same time, Brian learned he had gluten sensitivity and was determined to make pasta that he could eat. He soon discovered a pasta made from chickpeas didn’t exist. People were excited about the idea, but his personal need and passion for the product helped it evolve into a business idea he was excited about. He soon convinced his brother, Scott, to leave his job in finance to help him launch Banza. Ten years later, it’s expanded into other comfort food categories like pizza, mac and cheese and waffles.

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Facing challenges with long-term optimism and real-time realism will lead to longevity

Despite many early challenges with production and commercialization, Brian and Scott maintained their confidence in the massive opportunity they had to create staple foods for families. They believed that people would choose a nutritionally superior, great-tasting version of pasta over conventional alternatives.

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Focus on hiring the best people from the beginning, and you will continue to attract top talent

Brian and Scott believe your first hires are some of the most important decisions you can make, as attracting top talent creates a virtuous cycle. They are amazed at the caliber of the team that now leads and works at the company. As Banza has grown, they’ve structured the company around the employees’ talent instead of the other way around.

Invest time in building a reliable network of people you admire and trust

Brian and Scott spent a lot of time networking in the early days. They wanted to learn from brands they admired, like Chobani, and they weren’t afraid to send cold emails to academics who had written research papers on legume pasta. Their goal was to gain as much knowledge as they could and build strong relationships along the way. They credit their early success to this approach.

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