009 | Mistakes To Avoid In Growing Your Business Successfully, With DeAndre Wilson

Welcome to this new episode of bootstrapping your dream show. I Manuj Aggarwal your host and with me today is a young entrepreneur, the co founder and co owner of turntables, LLC  DeAndre Wilson. So De Andre he is the delighted and ready to discuss business development coupled with some grave mistakes to avoid to enable you to run your business smoothly and successfully. So welcome once again, DeAndre.

De Andre is a young bootstrapped entrepreneur that has done a lot for himself and his business in the past five years, largely because of his expertise in leveraging tools like social media, and building a great brand, graciously consented to this interview and share his extensive knowledge and wisdom to help us avoid making some damaging mistakes. In This area so that every entrepreneur or professional can understand how to identify market opportunities, while avoiding some mistakes in business development. Alright, so let’s jump in. My first set of questions are going to be about your background and your education so that our audience can relate to where you are, and how you can help them with business development, and so on. So why don’t you give us a little bit of your background in terms of your education and experience and entrepreneurship and business development?

Perfect. Okay. My background is in hospitality, front of the house, restaurants, I went to school for hospitality. And within that program, we had do practical, so we had to do these mock restaurant demonstrations. We had to cater events on campus at school. So while I was doing that, I was also doing it for a job. So I was getting experience all around, I couldn’t escape from it, because I just loved what I do. So I put that passion from the classroom from homework into real life, then from real life into developing a business that my my brother and I, we love so much.

Awesome. Awesome. That’s great. So, when you went to school, was it for specifically marketing or business development? Or was it more geared towards culinary skills are becoming a chef?

Well, basically, once I was in the hospitality program, I understood I while taking those classes that, you know, after we had to present on how to build a business plan, I kind of fell in love with that, because I understand the process, okay. And I love that. We had some speakers come in and judge our business plans and critique them. And believe it or not, I got an A, I passed, they all supported. And I said, you know, this could be a thing, because we want to start a business. But we really don’t want to, but we kind of talked about it. I say will buy make a great business plan. I think that’s half the battle is a smart portion of
it. So we dove in.

Awesome, So when you started implementing your business plan, take us through that journey. Were you an overnight success? Or did you have some roadblocks along the way?

Absolutely had a lot of roadblocks. So basically, we were doing this business plan putting it together, we learned about being very patient. Okay. We live in I live in Evansville, Indiana. So we talk about great food, we talk about developing a business plan or getting a kitchen so we can operate out of, it’s very hard to do so. So we had to become very patient along in the process. And that’s what I want, you know, a lot of the listeners to take away from is learning the process. And then being patient. Yes, you want to be ready. And the entrepreneurial spirit is to just spearhead it and go for but sometimes you just have to be prepared and patient. So yeah, that’s that’s what the roadblocks is, we were so anxious to just get started and go. But no, we had to be very patient. And we had to make sure that the business plan was well developed. And we expressed, you know, so much of our thought and our experience in there because a lot of people don’t understand the food industry. We had to walk a lot of individuals through especially we went for a small business loan, which we did receive, but we had to really hold a lot of commercial lenders hands on this, because here we are millennials, college students, they don’t even know what we’re talking about. But because we had the resume to back it up the experience to back it up, they took a chance with us.

That’s great. Alright, so let’s talk about some mistakes that entrepreneurs make in this area. So what is the first and you know, the biggest mistakes that you have noticed on promotes make while developing their business or a business plan?

Absolutely. So recently, I became a score mentor. And basically, it’s just free business mentoring resources, that’s offers pretty much a score office in almost every city. So while I was doing that, even as a student, and entrepreneur as the common enemy, I would I would see that the cost analysis or the budget was ignored, barely given any attention. And that’s what people you know, commercial lenders and think air investors are going to challenge you on. You know, yes, your about me is important. And your strategic marketing plan is important. And your three year five year 10 year plan is important, but it’s all about that cost analysis. So we had to break that down to like, you know, finite form, so that they understood. So my advice for entrepreneurs, or even professionals, you know, really focused on that budget, or you know, itemizing those those costs items, you got to focus on the numbers.

For sure. That’s a pretty good advice. So let’s, let’s say, you know, we have an eager entrepreneur, and they want to
get a loan or get investors, but they fail to focus on this aspect, you know, budgeting and cost analysis. So what are the consequences they have to deal with, if they make this mistake.

So the first one is, you know, let’s say that they built a business plan, and they didn’t give it the attention, they need it well, when they present their this business plan into a group of individuals three or more, and they started to get some pushback, I hate to see announcement or kind of start to tremble a little bit, because they didn’t do their homework. The plan is there, the passion is there. But again, it just goes back to you have to understand the numbers, and how to how you’re going to support them and make that income and pay your employees. You know, for us, we we didn’t realize that we have to pay to pay people. And then you also have to educate that, for example, if your employees is making $9 an hour, really, they’re making $10 an hour, that’s what you have to pay that extra dollar. as entrepreneurs, we get so caught up in that passion in the product, my God, the numbers will will, like overwhelm you. So the entrepreneurs really just dial back and focus on the numbers, because what will happen is that that commercial lender, or that investor will be so blown away, they’ll love you forever, and then they’ll want to invest. And then look at your business plan. The rest of it like this is gold.

Okay, now, what about some other listeners or viewers who may have already made this mistake? And they may be already dealing with this? Where you know, the house business plan, but they haven’t focused on the budget? What can they do to fix it? Are there any tools? Are there any framework they can use to? You know, put it all together once again, and and fix that mistake?

Absolutely. Absolutely. There is. So for us, I like to very analytical, I like to do a lot of research. So I took the business plan to a business consultant here in Evansville, Indiana. And I told him, I said, Hey, help us. Once he helped us to his ability, I took our business plan back into the classroom. And I said, Okay, my fellow classmates helped me. So then they did it. There’s a website that we use called chef resources calm, and it broke a lot of ideas down and some tools and some calculations we may need. I went through a series of small business classes that the community offered, such as the Kaufman business classes, mentors, protege, and then the cape Ida business classes. So our business plan was groomed, probably about Oh, five times before I submitted again, to a commercial lender, or an investor because I like to get different perspectives. Yeah. And some someone will see something that I didn’t see this personal see something that we didn’t see. And that caused the business plan to just be so. So we’ll put together now, I would say don’t overdo that. I felt like we did. I had so many eyes on the cost analysis, but I’m not got carried away. Yeah, but it worked. But it worked out.

And those are good points, like asking for help from the community asking for help from consultants that expedites the progress? For sure.

Absolutely. I know, sometimes a consultant Can you be out of your budget, but the cool thing with us is, since we serve food, we said hey, we’ll feed you. Let’s trade resources.

yeah. I mean, any expert, our professional who wants to start a business or entrepreneur, they can actually offer their services to in exchange for some advice. Yeah. And also, you know, in many cases, they can look for consultants or help online, where, you know, they are experts offering help at a very reasonable costs. Okay, great. Now, let’s take it one step further. So what is this mistake that often causes entrepreneurs to fail entirely with their business, for example, you know, they have done the business plan and everything, they have started the business, have the funding, what is the next step, or the next mistake they tend to make.

So another another mistake would be lack of planning. It’s good. And it’s very important that you set a three year, a five year and a 10 year goal. And then, at some point, see, I’m very fortunate because I have a business partner, so he can take front of the house responsibilities, backup house responsibilities of necessary, he is the head chef, but I can focus on the business side, so I can make sure that we’re turning a profit, those are getting paid. And I were staying focused on social media. I understand not every entrepreneur doesn’t have that teamwork. Through the the that road and entrepreneurs allowed to figure out how to get some help in certain areas. Perhaps the first one is bookkeeping. I know, later on this year, I’m going to hire a bookkeeper because I need to take that work and give that to them. I can’t do it anymore. The first year of bookkeeping was stressful. So so it’s important that entrepreneur along the way figures out, okay, what are my strengths? What are my talents, and how to give those responsibilities to a professional that actually does that, and feel confident trust and to do that? So finding, you know, some other professional to help you along the way, and then creating a plan and sticking to us to the three year five year 10 year plan, because we know that most businesses don’t make it after the third year. But I guess, but I guarantee you they would if they had a plan?

Yeah, I mean, those are very good points, you cannot do everything on your own. So you know, again, along the same lines of what we discussed earlier, asking for help from experts, and offloading your, your work and free up your time is very important. Yes. One thing you mentioned, there was social media. And I know that you have done a lot in terms of using social media to build your brand. So can you shed a little bit of light on that? How did you use social media to your advantage?

Oh, absolutely. So turntable LLC is five years old. It’ll be six years old this year. So for the first five years, I’m sorry for that? Yeah. The total of five years. What Jeff and I did was we know the saying you eat with your eyes first. So we would pose food pictures, almost every single day. And people loved it. And they couldn’t stand they said, we’re going to get this food. Where can we find it? Where can we get it? I said it’s just Jeff and I and our kitchens having a good time. Over time, people would actually harass us, because it’s like, we want you to cater, we need your food. We see all this stuff on social media. I mean, I was posting it on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, it was going everywhere. And the thing that, you know, people couldn’t have the food. But what made him so interesting it is it was consistent. Oh, yeah. And the pictures look nice. I also have a presence within the community. So people are always constantly talking about it. And they forgot that they really couldn’t eat it, they just wanted to talk about it and view it. So we were able to leverage that and keep that momentum going. So now it transferred into Okay, in that fifth year, we’re actually catering we’re actually going, and business was so profitable for us, we normally, you know, small businesses normally don’t see a profit that early, but because we had the business locked in so long, it was a benefit. So yeah, leveraging social media, using those hashtags, make sure pitches are clear and consistent. It was beautiful.

That’s awesome. So help us understand. So what was your business? So if you’re posting pictures, is are you running a restaurant? Or? Like how come people cannot order the that you’re posting the pictures of

all original, for the first for the first four years, I couldn’t because we didn’t have a commercial kitchen. And it’s very important that we that we have that, but we’re a catering company. So I’ve been getting some business that way. Okay, we also do local festivals. We have a huge festival, we have to that we’re that we have so much fun at parks Fest, and the jazz and Wine Festival. We have fed roughly in both of those nights close to 800 people. And those festivals kind of catapult us to the front of the line. So that businesses returning throughout the year, and people are coming back for seconds and thirds that night. So that’s what we do. We’re a catering company. And we we focus on catering, but we understand that you know, especially as a pretty nice, so that’s why people can’t we don’t have a restaurant and we don’t want to restaurant that restaurants too much.

Yeah. All right. Okay, so moving on the next question. So sometimes it takes only, you know, some sort of convincing to, to understand that we are making a mistake, and we don’t realize it. So Can you think of a mistake that people generally think is in their best interest, but actually they are working against themselves or harming their business?

Yeah, yeah, actually, I would say for us whenever we’re, you know, Jeff and I, who was the head chef, or the owner of turntable, when we have this debate, what we did was we put together a board Advisory Board of five members, and we meet with them, course we feed them, but we meet with them, and they kind of help us make these decisions. But I would say one example, was the debate of if you’re ready for a food truck. And we kept going back and forth. He said that we will wasn’t. And I was torn, because we, you know, we just had so much business, it was ready. we think about a food truck. If the axle breaks, or the engine goes out, or the transmission goes out, you’re done. So Jeff and I, we were able to compromise on a concession trailer, you just pull that thing? What’s the worst that can happen? There is a tire blows, that’s perfect will change that. So that’s we were, I felt like I was working against myself, because I was like, are we ready? Are we not ready? Not flat, we’re ready. But that’s one thing is that you get caught up in the emotions, you have to think clearly about the business and the future of it.

Okay, that’s great. Now, let’s talk about identifying the market opportunity. So you know, I know that you are very passionate about this topic as well. So how can entrepreneurs identify these market opportunities faster than others? And obviously, you know, the sooner they can either identify these, market opportunities, the sooner they can launch their businesses?

Absolutely, absolutely. So in the fourth year of turntables existence, Jeff and I gave all the food away for free. Every single piece of free, here’s what we did, we had a guest comment card, knowing we gave them the fish tacos, or some type of burger he made or what have you. We gave him a common card. And we said, Is this traditionally what you like? How does this taste? How does it look? Use your eyes first. We ask all the questions rate this from one to five. And we did it for a whole year while we were in so we were understanding what the market wanted. They’re getting experiences firsthand. Yeah, we took that feedback back to the kitchen. And again, once we had a year’s worth of establish relationships, seniors kind of blossom for us.

That’s awesome. All right. That’s great. Now, is there anything else that I have not asked you about successful business planning or development that you may want to share with the audience?

I think that a fantastic job because we got right to it. I felt like the listeners will be able to take away from a lot of what we discussed thus far, just about being patient and being thorough. That’s just to, I guess, entrepreneurial, focuses and knowing that you can’t do it all on your own. Like I say, as soon as we turn so as we make some, you know, some extra money. I’m hiring a bookkeeper. Yeah, I got the CPA. Now we’re gonna do a bookkeeper.

That’s awesome. Great advice. Thank you, the De Andre. This was a fantastic interview. I’m sure all the entrepreneurs and professionals in our audience have a much clearer understanding of how they can avoid these simple mistakes and help their business flourish. So thank you so much. Thank you so much DeAndre . This was an amazing interview. And I hope everyone in the audience enjoyed it. Thank you so much.

Thank you.

 

 

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