Lyka CEO unveils behind the scenes insights into how she runs her business

Lyka Pet Food CEO and founder, Anna Podolsky, shares her insights on how she runs her early-stage fresh dog food business in her recent interview with B2C.

How do you keep employees motivated?

Firstly, everyone that works at Lyka Pet Food believes in our mission, and disrupting the pet food industry inherently motivates them. I have a strict recruiting process to ensure that everyone we hire believes in our values and shares the passion in drive. Other than this, we do have some processes in place to keep everyone motivated, engaged and performing at their best.

I strongly believe that understanding the wider business context and how an individual is contributing to the big picture is very important. I try to be as transparent as possible, and we have weekly team meetings where the team and I share updates and what’s coming up and the focus for the week.

We review metrics weekly and have a set of targets that once we reach, we do fun events as a team. I also am very focused on professional development, and believe that people are motivated when they see they are growing and developing. 

I have one-on-one fortnightly professional development catch ups with every team member where we discuss their progress and learning opportunities. I also encourage the team to share and pursue other areas of interest within the business which might not be in their core role.

Photo shoot of Lyka pouches

Do your staffs meditate every day? Why?

I personally started meditating over a year ago and it has had a transformative effect on me. Being a founder and CEO of a start-up is high pressure and stressful. In order to excel at this role I believe I must have a clear mind and not be reactive to the ups and downs that come with the job.

Meditating trains your mind to be controlled, self-aware and helps reduce stress. I meditate for 10 minutes every morning to start off the day. I have recently introduced a weekly meditation with the entire team, as I believe the benefits extend to anyone and are seen both personally and professionally.

What changes have you noticed in your work environment since implementing this?

Lyka Pet Food is still in the early stages, however given my personal experience I strongly believe that we will see benefits, and hopefully become an even more cohesive and high performing team.

Have you ever experienced failure in a startup? How did you respond to it?

I experience failures most days – most are minor, and some are major. The nature of startups is to “move fast and break things” so failure is just part of the process. I try to see it as a learning experience and reflect on why something didn’t work and what we can do differently to make our produce even better. I also try to see the failure in the bigger picture- something that seems like a disaster at the time most likely won’t actually be that significant when you look back on it in a week or month.

How do you manage to keep work life balance?

The reality is having a work-life balance as an early-stage founder is close to impossible.

I choose to make a short-term sacrifice on the “life” part, with the hope that it will pay off dividends in the future. We’re on a mission to redefine pet food and it’s a big one – so I need to be proactive about my health, so I make sure I eat well, and that I have some activities which I make sure I do every week that give me energy and joy.

For example, I do a yoga or pilates class at least once a week. I also try to block out a few hours on the weekend to do a fun activity with my partner and dog – like going hiking or to the beach. 

Lyka posed on one of her hikes with Anna

What productivity tricks do you have for other startups?

My biggest tip is to build in processes with your team to set up everyone around you to provide the most amount of leverage possible. Your reports should be proactive in planning and organising in the way they update you and get input from you. That will increase the efficiency of not only you, but them also, and will free up your mind to think about the more urgent and needle-moving items.