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HS 232 – Jenny Craig Health and Business

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In today’s Holistic Survival Show, host Jason Hartman invites health and wellbeing expert, Jenny Craig, to talk about her new book, to discuss her business strategy and to talk about what children really learn from their parents’ actions regarding food and exercise.

 

Key Takeaways

02.30 – Children remember what they see, and parents who think they can convince their children to eat healthily while they eat fast food are simply delusional.

05.50 – The initial success of Jenny Craig rested on seeing what the rest of the market was doing and finding a way to distinguish the business from everything else out there.

09.05 – You can’t just have a good idea; you need to have the quality there too, and especially if it’s related to what people are eating.

14.45 – In an organization, every member has to have a different skillset and has to bring something new to the team.

19.05 – Franchising is an area where you have to be willing to put in full commitment to everything you do, and for some people, it’s just not the right path.

25.50 – If you have to deal with a government official who is so strictly adhering to nonsensical rules, they can totally ruin your business.

26.50 – One of the best ways to eat more healthily is to get over the misconception that rich ingredients like butter add flavor. The spicing and seasoning is what gives the flavor.

34.08 – Jenny’s latest book, I Believe in Genevieve, can be purchased at independent and nation-wide bookstores, as well as online at www.amazon.com

 

Tweetables

Gratitude is the first key to success. Tweet this!

You have to believe in yourself and you have to be willing to work for the things that you want. Tweet this!

It’s interesting how the harder you work, the luckier you get. Tweet this!

Transcript

Introduction: 

Welcome to the Holistic Survival Show with Jason Hartman. The economic storm brewing around the world is set to spill into all aspects of our lives. Are you prepared? Where are you going to turn for the critical life skills necessary to survive and prosper? The Holistic Survival Show is your family’s insurance for a better life. Jason will teach you to think independently, to understand threats and how to create the ultimate action plan. Sudden change or worst case scenario – you’ll be ready. Welcome to Holistic Survival; your key resource for protecting the people, places and profits you care about, in uncertain times. Ladies and gentlemen, your host: Jason Hartman.

It’s my pleasure to welcome Jenny Craig to the show. Yes, you’ve certainly heard that name. That is the Jenny Craig that we’re talking to today. Of course, she’s a weight-loss guru and founder of Jenny Craig, and author of her most recent book, I believe in Genevieve and she’s coming to us from California today. Jenny, welcome, how are you?

Jenny:
I’m great, thank you, and hello to your audience out there.`

Jason:
It’s great to have you on the show. Let’s start with your book, but I want to talk about your business success and hear any of your great tips for business and how someone can build and grow a business too, but first, let’s maybe address the problem. We have a huge obesity epidemic in the United States and in many countries around the world. I know that Australia and Mexico are facing all kinds of obesity-related health problems. Tell us about the problem a little bit and about how you got started.

Jenny:
Well yes, actually, that’s the reason that I decided to do the book. I wanted to get a few very positive messages across to children and of course, using a horse as a metaphor made it easy because all children love animals, and especially horses. That was the main reason that I decided to do the book, and really, some of the messages in it are things like: ‘You can be and do anything you want it you’re willing to work for it and if you believe in yourself’, and also ‘Look to role models that exhibit the life that you want to emulate’ and while we’re talking about role models, really I think parents underestimate the power they have as role models. Children remember more of what they see that what you tell them, so parents who are always eating fast food and expect their children to eat otherwise are delusional, because kids are going to emulate the behavior they see at home. That’s also true of outside influences, so that was one message that we tried to get across, and also, as I’ve said before, it’s important to instill confidence in kids. If they’re willing to work for something, they can achieve it. We tried to get subtle messages across to children because you can’t preach to kids today; they turn a deaf ear. You have to get the message across, but in a subtle way, and that’s what we tried to accomplish with the book.

Jason:
So Jenny, how many books have you written so far?

Jenny:
Five. Three of them were cookbooks and of the other two, one was an introduction to the program, talking a little bit about what the Jenny Craig program is, and then the other book was supposed to be my life story, but it didn’t quite turn out that way because I had it all written, gave it to a publisher, and they completely changed it around!

Jason:
Nothing like changing one’s life story!

Jenny:
I was furious at the time, but unfortunately, by the time I’d discovered that, it had already gone to print and so I had to live with it, but I’m planning on doing my own autobiography again, and doing it the way I really wanted it to be.

Jason:
So Jenny Craig, let’s talk about the company for a moment, and about how you got your start. It was founded in Australia back in the ’80s, is that correct?

Jenny:
Yes, well what happened was that we owned another company called BCI and we had 140 centers throughout America, and we sold that, so with it we signed a two-year non-compete and of course, there were few English speaking countries that we could go to because the non-compete covers North America, so we decided to go to Australia and make it an adventure. We went to Melbourne, and the reason we went there first was that that’s where the food manufacturers were. We started with 9 centers in Melbourne and expanded from there, and now we have approximately 95 centers in Australia. After the two year non-compete was up, we decided to come back to America, started in Los Angeles and the interesting thing is that the morning that we opened 12 centers in Los Angeles, there were 10 full-page ads from different weightloss centers because while we were in Australia, a lot of small Mom-and-Pop companies, and even larger companies like WeightWatchers and diet centers had really sprung up and were pretty big. That’s what we were up against, and we thought about how we could define ourselves as being different from those companies. What we decided was that none of them had frozen food on the premises. WeightWatchers had frozen dinners in the supermarket, but it was not part of the program. We decided to put the frozen dinners into all of the centers and from then on, the business just exploded. As I said, there was no other company that had anything like it. Now we have about 650 centers in 5 countries.

Jason:
Wow.

Jenny:
Of course, I say we but I’m no longer involved on a day-to-day basis with the operations because we sold the company to Nestle, but I will always be emotionally involved with it because of course, it bears my name.

Jason:
Sure.

Jenny:
And it really was our brainchild, if you will, because we started right from scratch to build the company.

Jason:
Jenny, when did you offer the frozen dinners? That sounds like that was an inflection point in the business, right?

Jenny:
That was in about 1986. We came back to America in 1985 and it took a couple of months to get things going and in the beginning the phones just weren’t ringing. There was so much recognizable competition which had been advertising all the time we were in Australia, so they had built a brand name and here we were, the new guys on the street coming in, so we had to distinguish ourselves and that’s when we introduced the frozen food. From that, it just took off and I really am very thankful for our success. It’s true; we worked very hard and there are lots of people that work hard and don’t make it so I’ve always considered my success a mix of hard work and also a blessing.

Jason:
That’s a good way to consider it. Gratitude is the first key to success, I would definitely agree.

Jenny:
I totally agree with you.

Jason:
Jenny, was it a challenge? Frozen dinners are just kind of by nature not very healthy, are they? Were you able to make them healthy? How were you able to do that? Was there anything special that you did in offering frozen food, because I assume all your competitors are doing frozen food now – NutriSystem and WeightWatchers, I’ve seen those in the grocery store, I believe.

Jenny:
Yeah, but that’s 20 years later!

Jason:
Right, of course, I understand.

Jenny:
But really, I think the quality of our food far surpasses anything that the market out there offers. That’s not just pride talking; it really is the feedback we get from our clients. Over and over, we’ve done so many focus groups and they tell us our food is hands above anything else that’s out there. It’s good to have a good idea, but you have to add quality to it. People will do almost anything. I use the analogy of when people would make excuses of why they don’t want to enroll in the program and I usually ask them this. Let me ask you. If I asked you to stand in the corner on your head for one hour and I could guarantee you that if you did that, you’d lose 20lbs, would you be willing to do it? I’ve never had anyone say no. Of course they would, because the answer is they’re willing to do whatever is necessary to achieve the result they’re looking for. People really will do anything to lose weight, but if it’s dependent on the food that they’re eating, it has to be good or they won’t continue with it.

Jason:
Now, is your system a franchise system?

Jenny:
We do have franchise and again, I speak collectively because it’s still my baby! We do have franchises, but it’s mostly company-owned. When Sid and I had it, about 15% of the centers were franchised. Now, I don’t know the exact percentage but there are franchises, though still most of the centers are company owned.

Jason:
And Nestle owns it now. I’m curious: as of 2003, according to Wikipedia, the company has 3,000 employees. When did you sell to Nestle?

Jenny:
I think it was in 2004.

Jason:
2004, okay. You don’t remember offhand? It seems like a pretty big deal.

Jenny:
I know, that’s terrible. It was 2004. The reason I had to stop and think about the date was because there has been so much going on in my life and each thing is really a milestone. It’s not like I have just one date to remember!

Jason:
Right, that’s understandable.

Jenny:
And the thing about us selling is that in the beginning it was almost like we didn’t sell because I was still involved. They kept us on as consultants, even though they didn’t really consult us very often. In fact it was funny in a way because Sid and I had always run the company hands-on and that’s the benefit of an entrepreneurial company. If things aren’t working, you can make changes. You can make decisions very quickly; you don’t have to go through a board to make an important decision, so really if things weren’t going right we’d change it. If an add wasn’t pulling the way it should, we’d change it. We always had a back-up plan, so when Nestle bought the company, and after a while we were just consultants, we kept waiting for the phone to ring so they could ask us questions. Sid was a little offended and he’d say ‘Why aren’t those people calling?’ because Sid was really brilliant with marketing. We each had our skills. I was very good at writing all the manuals for the company, I interviewed all the key people in the beginning. In fact, when we first opened in Australia, I interviewed over 300 people and ended up hiring 100 so our first training class had 100 people in it. I did the training, I wrote the training material and I was also very good at interacting with the people. Sid’s skill was really marketing. He was absolutely genius at marketing and he had the sensitivity about locations. People say in business it’s location, location, location. I think it’s neighborhood, neighborhood, neighborhood, because it depends on the demographic of a neighborhood and the traffic flow as to exactly what your product or service is. He had a knack for going into a neighborhood. He would look at the people, look at the flow of traffic, get a feel for it and I can tell you, opening all those centers in Australia, there wasn’t one that was a failure. We never changed a location. The only time we ever did that was when we couldn’t remove a lease, but it wasn’t because it was a bad location. I think neighborhoods are more important.

Sid had his area of expertise and I had mine. Some very wise person once said that if partners in business both have the same skill, one of them isn’t necessary, and I do believe that. I think that each person in an organization has to bring a different skillset to the table in order for it to be complete. That’s how we mostly operated, even though Sid handled all the marketing, he never made a marketing decision without coming to me and asking what I thought because all marketing affects operations, and I was in charge of operations. He needed my input to see if I thought it would be effective for operations, and vice versa. If I wanted to implement a certain thing in operations, I would go to him and say ‘Sid, this is what I want to do. What do you think? How can we advertise it and get this message across to the public out there?’ and he and I would brainstorm to come up with something. Even though we had our individual skills and our individual responsibilities, we really worked as a team and when people ask about the program, even – like ‘What’s the most important part about the program?’, it’s kind of like asking ‘What’s the most important leg of the three-legged stool?’ They’re all important, and I believe that’s true of partnerships too. It’s not one person or one thing, it’s a combination of it all, and that’s what we tried to consider when we put the program together.

Jason:
So we should mention just for those who don’t know: Sid is your husband and business partner.

Jenny:
My late husband. Sid died in 2008.

Jason:
Oh, sorry to hear that.

Jenny:
Really, that was the reason that we decided to sell the company: Sid had cancer and he really was very sick for the last five years of his life.

Jason:
That’s terrible.

Jenny:
So that’s why when you asked me about the dates, there has been so much. In the same year, 2008, I lost Sid and I lost two of my sisters within a few months.

Jason:
Oh gosh, that’s awful. I’m sorry to hear that.

Jenny:
It was a terrible year and it stands out in my memory as the worst year of my life, really.

Jason:
I am sorry. Jenny, I want to talk about the solution and the book a little bit more, but just one more question about the business. You had a company called BCI – what did that stand for?

Jenny:
Body Contour Inc.

Jason:
Okay, Body Contour Inc. and you sold that and that’s how you got the capital to start the business in Australia right?

Jenny:
Exactly. And that’s a story in itself, really. When we went to Australia, Sid and I were both born in the same year and we were 50 years old. We took our whole fortune, every dime that we had, an invested in Australia. I can remember the woman who was in charge of nutrition – she was one of the top nutritionists in Australia and she looked at me and said ‘What were you thinking?’ I’m sure there were a lot of people who would not be willing to take that risk, but we knew we would be successful. Failure simply wasn’t an option. What I have in the book is truly what I believe. You have to believe in yourself and you have to be willing to work for the things that you want. People would say ‘Gee, you’re so lucky with your success’, and I’d say ‘Isn’t it interesting that the harder I work, the luckier I get.’

Jason:
I love that!

Jenny:
And it is true. Anything you want to achieve in life, whether it’s in education, whether it’s building a business, it takes hard work. Sometimes we would have franchisees come to apply for franchising and I’d say ‘Why do you want it?’ ‘Oh, so I can be my own boss and I can go in when I want to and I’m in charge’. And I’d reply to them saying ‘I don’t think a franchise is right for you because you will be working harder than you’ve ever worked in your life and it will take full commitment, and it doesn’t sound like you’re ready to make that’.

Jason:
The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary, right Jenny?

Jenny:
Right, very well put!

Jason:
Do you disclose the sales prices of the companies? Are those public record of BCI and Jenny Craig to Nestle?

Jenny:
Not anymore. We were public at one time. When we first went public, the stocks were three quarters of a billion dollars.

Jason:
Wow, incredible.

Jenny:
But it changed over the years depending on the climate, and you know how that is – it can spike and then it’ll go down a little. But anyway, when Nestle bought the company, we decided to go private after years because really, being public, people think it’s wonderful. It was one of Sid’s dreams; he wanted to be in charge of a public company with the excitement of getting up in the morning and watching the stock go up. That’s all exciting, but there are so many responsibilities with it. We’re learning now about healthcare and its regulations, and it really takes a lot of your time. And then you have people who maybe have two shares in stock who call up and start telling you how you need to change this and change that, so for me, I don’t think I’d ever go public again.

Jason:
It’s a lot of people running your business.

Jenny:
My mantra is never say never because you don’t know, but really, being in public was very difficult, so we decided to go private and after that, Nestle bought it.

Jason:
Let’s circle back. Thank you for sharing your business experiences, and maybe one last question on that before we circle back to the book and talk about health and the obesity problem and solution for a moment. What was one of your biggest challenges early on, that you overcame? Was there ever a time when it looked like you would have to just close the doors? I know you said failure’s not an option, but sometimes the forces are just too big for any one person or any couple or any business. Was there ever a time when it looked so bleak that you thought you might just have to abandon ship?

Jenny:
No.

Jason:
Okay, alright!

Jenny:
Maybe it would be more interesting for me to have said yes, but that wouldn’t be the truth. But I will tell you some of the challenges we had. I’ve always considered challenges to be roadblocks. They’re detours, and it doesn’t mean it’s going to stop you, it only means you have to go in a different direction. Just to give you a couple of examples. When we first went to Australia, before we went there, we always had vitamins along with the program because there are certain vitamins that people need, and to make sure that they were getting them we had little vitamin packs. We learned that Australia’s soil is very low in selenium. Most Australians need selenium in their diet, so we thought we were doing a good thing and we had selenium added to the vitamins. When we got to Australia, all of a sudden, we got a phone call and it was a woman from the Health Department. Sid answered the phone and she said “Mr Craig, you cannot have these vitamins here. We only distribute selenium to a chemist, which is a pharmacist. You have them in this packet and we can’t allow these. Not only that, you have these vitamins all mixed and we can’t have that in the same package.” Sid asked why not and said that after you’ve swallowed them they’re all together, why is it wrong to have them together in the packet? And she felt insulted with that and said “Mr Craig, that wasn’t very funny. You are going to have to come and pick up all these vitamins or we’re going to dump them in the ocean”. Now we had the choice – it was going to cost us $17,000 to send the vitamins back to America, and if we did that, what would we do with it, because we didn’t have centers open here yet, so we would have had to destroy them, so we thought ‘Why spend the money to ship them back?’ so we said “You know what, if you really feel that strongly about it, dump them in the ocean”. So we proceeded to make other packets of vitamins, leaving out the selenium. That’s just one example of how bureaucracy or how most people that deal with government agencies are not really concerned with the well-being of the people.

Because of that move, the people were not getting the selenium that they really needed, and all because she was steadfastly sticking to a rule. We found out later that there was no reason why the selenium could not have remained in the packet but at the time, all we wanted to do was get our centers open. When she called, it was the Friday because we were having our grand opening on the following Monday.

Jason:
Oh wow.

Jenny:
So really, we wanted to open and she said we couldn’t open our doors if we were going to distribute them. We had no choice so we had to tell her to just dump them in the ocean.

Jason:
You had a tea party for vitamins, that’s amazing.

Jenny:
That’s exactly right, we had a vitamin tea party.

Jason:
A little ego-maniacal bureaucrat tyrant can just ruin your business, it’s unbelievable.

Jenny:
Exactly. That is exactly right.

Jason:
It happens all the time; I’ve had it in my business as well where a government person, just because of their big ego and wanting to assert their power will act in a totally illogical way, will slow the economy down and will slow business down. It’s awful, and that’s why I’ve always believed, Jenny, that’s why we need to keep the government as small as possible.

Jenny:
Amen. Boy, you are preaching to the choir because those are my sentiments exactly.

Jason:
Let’s talk for a moment about some tips for cooking light and healthy. I want to just make sure we get back to the actual content of Jenny Craig and I appreciate the business insights and so forth, those have been great! What are some tips, Jenny, on how people can cook light and well?

Jenny:
Well, I think today, most people are savvy about that, but things like substituting butter and cream and rich, fatty things with food, with spices. Many people think that butter and rich ingredients is what adds flavor to food, but that’s wrong. It’s really spices. You can take the same basic tomato sauce and with different spices it can become like Indian food, it can become Italian food, it can become French food. It’s all about the spices and herbs that you add. Being from New Orleans, which is where I grew up, I learned very early how to incorporate different herbs and spices to achieve the kinds of flavors you were looking for, so really, it’s easy today. Today, with microwaves, you can steam food, steam vegetables, and the main thing is to have fresh ingredients to start with. I’m lucky to live in California because we have a little store that’s not too far from where I live and it’s a Japanese family that have all organic vegetables. They’re lovely people and they’ll even tell you how to prepare it. Every morning, they pick the vegetables fresh and you can go to the stand and buy them. When you start with fresh food like that, you can hardly go wrong. All you need to do is just make it tender. If you’re cooking vegetables, my suggestion is you just need to steam them. If you boil and boil vegetables, you’re boiling out all the nutrients so when you pour out the water, you’re pouring out all the nutrients as well. Use very little water and steam the vegetables. If they’re cooked properly, you can put spices and herbs on top and you don’t need anything else. If you feel that you must use something, I like to use olive oil. Any fat that is liquid is much better than a solid, that’s why olive oil or vegetable oil is much better for you that butter, which is solid at room temperature.

Jason:
The thing that really made Jenny Craig big was that you made eating good food easy. All of your competitors back at the time that you launched your frozen food line found that it was a lot harder. You made it easy for people, right?

Jenny:
Absolutely. It has to be convenient. In our world today, everything is for convenience and that’s one of the reasons so many people live on fast food – because of the convenience. That was one of the reasons we went to the frozen dinners – it takes 7 minutes and you have wonderful, nutritionally balanced food and we did address the convenience factor because most people that are trying to cut back in their diet and trying to lose weight think about food all the time. They’re sitting at one meal and they’re thinking ‘What am I going to fix for dinner tonight?’, so they’re constantly preoccupied with food. They’re rarely thinking about the chopping board and preparing it. We thought ‘What can we do to eliminate that?’ Instead of having them focus on food, have them focus on enjoying it and have them focus on moving their body. You don’t have to get on the floor and do push-ups to benefit from exercise. You can just walk. We recommend walking and today, especially in the electronic world, people are always sitting. They’re either sitting at their computers, sitting in front of the TV, playing video games – we say get out and move your body. Walk! That’s what we try to get across in the book I Believe in Genevieve is for kids to move. If parents will get kids walking, just think about it. If they take their kids for a long walk, it’s special time. They can really bond with their children and at the same time they’re benefiting from the exercise and so are the children. I really recommend walking – you can do it. It doesn’t take any special equipment, you can do it any time, anywhere, and people who travel a lot say things like “I don’t have time to exercise”. Yes you do. At night, go for a long walk, or early in the morning before you begin your day, go for a long walk. We always have time for walking, and instead of taking the elevator to go up to your office, take the stairs. Maybe that’s not practical if your office is on the 42nd floor, but I think for most people, it’s just a matter of climbing a couple of flights of stairs.

Jason:
That’s easy and that’s good. People can do it. Stop sitting all the time. Very good advice.

Jenny:
Yeah, and even if you’re going to the grocery store, instead of searching for the closest parking space to the store, park away from the store and then walk. There are people that will help you cart your grocery shopping back to the car, but all these added steps make a difference. Really, it’s just a question of habit. Habits are nothing more than practiced behavior, so the longer you practice a behavior, the more it becomes a habit. I find myself today, even though I try to walk 4 miles every day, even though I’ve walked intentionally, I still find myself when I go to the grocery store parking away from the door. I’ve had people listening in the car and they ask if I do it to protect my car. I say, no, I do it to protect my body.

Jason:
Right. A very good point. They say that every flight of stairs you walk up adds forty-two seconds to your life, so that’s good advice. Jenny, any thing you’d like to say in closing, and please give out your website. Tell people where they can get the book, of course. I’m sure it’s all the usual places, but if there’s anything you want to give out as a link there.

Jenny:
They can get the book at Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, I think most booksellers. I had a book signing last night at Warwick’s which is at La Jolla, California. It’s a family-owned bookstore and it was absolutely delightful to be there. There are independent bookstores that have it too, so I think pretty much all places. If all else fails, Amazon has it and everyone can go online and get it. My wish for all your audience is for them to have a very long and very healthy life. I think a lot of that outcome is based on us living intentionally and not accidentally. We have to determine what we want to become and what we want to do, and make sure that we do it.

Jason:
Very good point. Well, Jenny Craig, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and being on the show with us today. We really appreciate having you.

Jenny:
Well, thank you so much.

Outro:
What’s great about the shows you’ll find on www.jasonhartman.com is that if you want to learn how to finance your next real estate deal, there’s a show for that. If you want to learn more about food storage and the best way to keep those onions from smelling up everything else, there’s a show for that. If you honestly want to know more about business ethics, there’s a show for that. And if you just want to get away from it all and need to know something about world travel, there’s even a show for that. Yup, there’s a show for just about anything. Only from www.jasonhartman.com, or type in ‘Jason Hartman’ in the iTunes store.

 

Thank you for joining us today for the Holistic Survival Show, protecting the people, places and profits you care about in uncertain times. Be sure to listen to our Creating Wealth Show, which focuses on exploiting the financial and wealth creation opportunities in today’s economy. Learn more at www.jasonhartman.com or search ‘Jason Hartman’ on iTunes. This show was produced by the Hartman Media Company, offering very general guidelines and information. Opinions of guests are their own, and none of the content should be considered individual advice. If you require personalised advice, please consult an appropriate professional. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

 

 

 

 

Episode: 232

Guest: Jenny Craig

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