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Young McDonnell had a farm

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

Stephen McDonnell grew up eating a lot of meat and potatoes.

After college, he worked as a financial analyst at Ford, got a master’s in organizational behavior from Harvard and began to understand small businesses. He discovered a smokehouse in New Jersey making nitrite-free bacon, and bought it.

McDonnell decided he wanted to change the way America eats meat.

He started selling to Whole Foods right away. “They get a lot of credit,” he says, “because they led the charge on healthy meat—and healthy food in general. They pushed natural ingredients and asked for antibiotic-free products.”

Applegate Farms went from selling 3,000 pounds a week to 700,000 pounds a week.

McDonnell’s advice: “Find the biggest ocean you can get into, because the scaling doesn’t stop.”

— Adapted from “How I Did It: Stephen McDonnell of Applegate Farms,” Inc.

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