Young, in business, overwhelmed, help

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by bsirius0, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. bsirius0

    bsirius0
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ok, where do i begin with my issue.. or issues.. Background: Ok about 2 years ago (I was 23 and fresh out of college), My mother and I started forming a plan to start our own little retail start up or franchise. At the time a franchise in the right niche seemed like the best option so we began exploring what was out there. My job was to research and contact. Long story short we were presented with an opportunity to purchase 3 pre-existing smoothie bars that were located inside of 3 different fitness centers around the Maryland area. The catch was we had to purchase all three, in as is condition, and no franchise advising or help (Even though the people we were purchasing it from had communicated that they would "hold our hand" if you will, on getting started and running it correctly. Everything sounded great.. existing equipment, low monthly rent with zero utility expenses, captivated audience, and no franchise fees or royalties. Needless to say we jumped in head first. The bars are spread out over the Baltimore DC area in the shape of a triangle. from Point A to point C is about an hour and 15 mins driving time, From point B to C its about 45-hour driving time, and from point A to point b its about 25-30 min drive time. Right away we started with unplanned obstacles. The list is pretty long but the biggest one is we had planned on opening up "slow" and building the inventory working toward the ultimate goal we had mapped out for the business. Since this smoothie bar was operating under the previous gym owners not too long ago we figured that there wouldnt be an issue. Well the problem with that was we had 3 bars... one me... and no one to supervise and control the other 2 bars that i was not at for that specific day of the week. I started out rotating myself around over the week hiring people and "trusting" employees to do their job while trying to complete orders and my own inventory pick up and deliveries. I had no money to hire a managers. Sales did not go as planned in the beginning and spacing out limited resources between the 3 stores really stretched things. And on top of it all the promise of "help and hand-holding" was never delivered and i found myself kind of winging it. Things like expanding inventory and spending on advertising, signage, and aesthetic upgrades fell to the way side. I couldnt afford to have the supplies and inventory needs delivered by a distribution company so i found myself trying to run around everything each week myself, it eventually stopped working. Issues with staff became a big problem, the old existing equipment breaking down, the fitness center company not cleaning, not completing upgrades, and not moving forward with much needed renovations took a toll. I made it "work" over the past year and a half but every little "improvement" i go through with never delivers like it was suppose to. The bars are not growing they are stagnant if not gradually declining and I don't know what to do or how to go about fixing it intelligently and efficiently. Payroll takes up more than half of my total revenue and ive cut back as much as i could. I need some help and some advice on how to either make this work without killing myself or spruce it up enough to sell to get back our initial investment. I apologize that this was a mess to read and very hard to follow, it's a lot to try and type out so if you think you might be interested in helping me out please ask me any questions about the problems i'm having and i will gladly answer them.
    Thanks everyone
     
  2. Changed Creation

    Changed Creation
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    Premium Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    Messages:
    153
    Likes Received:
    66
    Hi Bsirius
    I definitely can relate to your feelings of overwhelm and frustration...I must however congratulate you first on one thing and you should give yourself a pat on the back and a bit of credit though it doesn't show in your bank account or anything measurable. You knew nothing about business, tried to gain as much knowledge as you were able to, took the small business plunge and have been going at it almost 2 years, and made it "work", although you are obviously facing many obstacles!!! You really need to give yourself credit because more than 50% businesses don't survive the first 2 years, and you did. Yes, there is still a lot to learn, to improve and to change, but it is important that you acknowledge your successes. Life as a small business owner can sometimes be very lonely because sometimes you struggle to find someone to talk to that can listen and really help you find answers without you having to explain your choices or finding critique. So be careful whom you share with. This website is a good place to start, if anything, people here share the same kind of challenges! Even though most of the time we can't really get involved directly. One thing I think you may find value in, is to get involved in a mastermind group in your area, or to start one. If you can't find one, pm me so that we can find you a solution because you really need a group of friends that can help you keep focused, motivated and accountable. Maybe we can start such a group on the forum through Skype?

    You actually also need a lot of hands-on training. The hardest school is practice experience (the school of hard knocks!) and probably teaches us the most, but I find the best way to have a mentor that has walked the path, that can help you identify shortcuts for your own. In my language we have a word "sterke". It means a combination of wishing you good-luck, strength and wisdom!
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. bsirius0

    bsirius0
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Changed Creation,
    I just tried to PM you but its saying I can't for some reason. Thank You for your response. What do you mean by Mastermind group? Like a Local support group? And do you have any suggestions on where I should start trying to get these moving a bit smoother? I feel like its slipping from my grasp.
    Thanks Again,
    bsirius0
     
  4. amwarner

    amwarner
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    67
    Hi Bsirius0,

    This situation you find yourself in is a very tough one because you have 3 locations to deal with that are pretty far away.

    Are people able to go to the smoothie bar without having to go into the fitness center?

    Despite all of the issues, your biggest issue (I think) that you're facing is that you're just one person having to run 3 businesses in 3 different locations. You're not capable of managing all three and making them grow to their potential. Hmmm, the first thing that I would suggest is to try to reach out to other existing businesses in your area. Like supermarkets, health food stores, etc. and try to do a cross promotion with them if possible. You need to try to strategically align yourself with businesses you think could help you succeed, as well as you could help them. If your smoothies are healthy, possibly talk to local schools about trying to do a deal with them when on certain days, you could deliver fresh smoothies for the kids. Idk. It might work since alot of schools are trying to be health conscious especially with kids.

    Also, you may want to research and collect a bunch of deal sites out there ... like groupon, dealfind, livingsocial, etc. and try to work a deal out with them. If you offer a very nice product, you could be featured with them. They basically do all the promotion for you by showcasing your site and what you have to offer, and they take a certain percentage of the sale. Can't remember the specific amount. But it may be worth it to try that avenue as well ... you can't rule anything out at this point.

    And if you're looking to possibly make extra money from your smoothies, why not create a smoothie book of something. Like a recipe book teaching people how they can make their own smoothies. Only a fraction of the people who like smoothies actually go to a gym, so this may be an option for you in the future ... maybe not now, but something to consider.

    Also, you should have a website and be on social media as much as possible. The best way to really grow your business, i think, is by word of mouth. And lastly, try to get press releases on your business, you could either write one yourself and submit it to www.haro.com or something. You just need to get more exposure.

    Just my 2 cents there ... not sure if any of those can make things better, but maybe you may have a fighting chance to make more money.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. bsirius0

    bsirius0
    uix_expand uix_collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    amwarner,
    I just tried PMing you, did you receive it ?
     

Share This Page