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Growing Your Business Passion

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Expert: Martha Ross-Rodgers
Growing Your Business Passion

Martha Ross-Rodgers

Rodgers' Banana Pudding Sauce, Chesapeake, VA

Thursday, August 23, 2012 10:00 PM

From childhood, Reggie Rodgers, President of Rodgers’ Banana Pudding Sauce, has always loved banana pudding. As a child, he would wait with anticipation while his mom stirred the sauce so that he could lick the bowl.

Fast forward a few decades, Reggie continued the same tradition with his two daughters, Riza and Gin-Gin. The love for banana pudding was so entrenched that Gin-Gin suggested that they start a banana pudding business, specifically putting the banana pudding sauce in a jar.

Rodgers’ Banana Pudding Sauce was birthed in 2008. The legacy continues from Reggie’s mom, to Reggie, to his wife, Martha, and to their daughters Riza and Gin-Gin

Have you considered starting or growing your business? Are you wondering which strategies will lead you to success? Get practical tips from the owners of Rodgers’ Banana Pudding Sauce during a live web chat hosted by SBA.

Martha Ross-Rogers will chat about how they turned a passion for a nostalgic dessert into a booming family-owned small business, the triumphs and trails of financing and promoting their product, and what they have done to build their business.

The business was one of SBA’s video contest winners for National Small Business Week 2012.

Chat Transcript

From:
Mary A.
Location:
,
 

My name is Martha Ross-Rodgers.  Thank you for joining me today for the SBA Web Chat: Growing Your Business Passion.  I look forward to answering your questions, so let us get started.

 
From:
Mary A.
Location:
,
 
Question:
How does this work? Where do I go to join this web chat?
Reply:
Mary, thank you for your question. You may use the following link to submit a question: http://web.sba.gov/livemeeting/public/dsp_meeting_view.cfm?meetngid=163. I look forward to your question.
 
From:
Robert Berta
Location:
North Wales, PA
 
Question:
With over twenty years of successfully providing business level security/defense consulting services I seek to operate an instruction/training service business of similar ilk. The material I plan to present to attending students (ages 18 to 70+) relates to defense and security. I am seeking to better understand requirements appropriate to liability / insurance / related guidelines.
Reply:
Robert, thank you for your question. I am not acquainted with the security/defense field. For this reason, I suggest that you check out the SBA website. It has information on liability/insurance/related guidelines. To start you can check out http://www.sba.gov/content/types-business-insurance. If you are on Facebook, you can also LIKE SBA.gov. The site has excellent business-related content. Any new business-related article automatically comes in your newsfeed.
 
From:
Bache Holland
Location:
Atlanta, Georgia
 
Question:
No question. Just interested in learning some new ideas. Thanks.
Reply:
Bache, thank you for participating. My suggestion then is to stay on the online business chat. Hopefully, you will learn something that is beneficial.
 
From:
Michael Rush
Location:
Philadelphia, PA
 
Question:
How did you obtain financing?
Reply:
Michael, thank you for your question. We have been in business for approximately 4 ½ years. Everything was out-of-pocket when we first started. We did not concern ourselves about financing. Approximately two years in business, one of our banking institutions called us to inquire if we needed a business loan, credit card, etc. At that time, we did not. Approximately a year later, we did; however, at the time the economy was not doing as well. We were rejected when we applied for a loan, not once, but twice. This, however, did not stop us from proceeding with our plans. Of course, though, we had to revise our plans. My suggestion to you is that if one door closes, keep brainstorming, and moving forward to a door opens. Do not waste your time in regrets for the door that did not open. It is okay. For us, a better door opened. I said all this to say, Do not wait until everything is perfect before you proceed. Start small, because there is nothing wrong with starting small. In fact, it is better to start than to not start at all. It is your dream, your desire, so keep it moving. Some SBA links on financing: http://www.sba.gov/content/sba-loans http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/counseling-training/online-small-business-training/financing-business http://www.sba.gov/content/borrowing-money
 
From:
Hareesh
Location:
Philadelphia, PA
 
Question:
What methods did you use to build a customer base?
Reply:
Hareesh, thank you for your question. Our business, Rodgers’ Banana Pudding Sauce, is in the food industry. We are part of the Virginia’s Finest Program operated by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.You have to apply for the program because only Virginia products that meet or exceed quality standards are part of the Virginia's Finest Program. If you are located in Virginia and interested in applying the link is http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/vafinest/apply.shtml. We build our customer base by participating in the Virginia’s Finest educational workshops and the Virginia Food and Beverage Expos. We demo our products because face-to-face interactions are necessary. Then again, we do use social media tools, such as Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
 
From:
ronald
Location:
cordova, al.
 
Question:
can you get grant to get your small business going & how.
Reply:
Ronald, thank you for your question. SBA does not provide grants for starting and expanding a business. Government grants are funded by tax dollars and require very stringent compliance and reporting to make sure the money is well spent. Unlike business loans, grants have the advantage of not having to be repaid. However, grant funding is generally restricted to very specific use and conditions, with strict reporting responsibilities. Some links for you to start in your research are: http://www.sba.gov/content/facts-about-government-grants http://www.sba.gov/content/does-sba-offer-grants http://www.sba.gov/loans-and-grants If you are on Facebook, you can also LIKE SBA.gov. The site has excellent business-related content. Any new business-related article automatically comes in your newsfeed.
 
From:
Nancy Urban
Location:
Long Beach, CA.
 
Question:
What home recipe; (best cost efficient method) will allow me to advertise and keep customers coming back in my house cleaning business? We are a 3 man/woman team. Respectfully, SPARKLE AND SHINE Home & Business Cleaning Service
Reply:
Nancy, thank you for your question. To keep your current customers, continue to do a FANASTIC job. They then will be eager and happy to recommend you to their family and friends. You can even ask your current customers for referrals. To sweeten the deal, offer incentives to your current customers. For example, you could offer your current customers $10.00 off their next cleaning job for each referral that becomes your customer. You could also wear logo-themed apparel advertising your business, like t-shirts, caps, etc. Check out www.vistaprint.com. Ask selected venues if you can put up a flyer with your contact information. Join organizations in your area. Always have lots of business cards on you.
 
From:
Belinda Harris
Location:
Charlotte, North Carolina
 
Question:
I am interested in beginning a non-profit that actually help those small businesses that are about to close their doors, could not afford to open their doors or is afraid to fail because of a lack of capital, vision or stability. How do I get started and what do you think of my vision.
Reply:
Belinda, thank you for your question. My advice is to research your field. You can find lots of information about starting non-profits. SBA has a blog on “How to Start a Non-Profit Organization” at www.sba.gov/...business.../how-start-non-profit-organization-0. This should be helpful to you. They also have more information about non-profit organizations online at http://www.sba.gov/content/nonprofit-organizations. A few other links are http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/small-business-matters/how-start-non-profit-organization http://www.sba.gov/community/discussion-boards/starting-nonprofit-company http://www.sba.gov/community/discussion-boards/advice-starting-nonprofit-please It does not make a difference what I think of your vision. What really matters is what you think of your vision. That said, do not depend on or even expect people to validate you. Some may, some may not. Regardless…you move forward… it is your dream. My advice to you is to surround your with likeminded people who are not only dreamers, but are doers.
 
From:
Erica Wang
Location:
Vienna, VA
 
Question:
What sort of legal matters does a SB have to consider? I ask this because I've only worked in corporate environments!
Reply:
Erica, thank you for your question. SBA has a wealth of information on its site. A few links to start are http://www.sba.gov/content/handling-legal-concerns http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/starting-managing-business/managing-business/business-law-regulations http://www.sbaonline.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/manage/handlelegalconcerns/index.html If you are on Facebook, you can also LIKE SBA.gov. The site has excellent business-related content. Any new business-related article automatically comes in your newsfeed.
 
From:
Joe McCloskey
Location:
Charlottesville, Virginia
 
Question:
I am trying to help Janet Miller of Search Mojo get registered with the state and federal govt to be able to bid on contracts for SEO and online marketing. I need someone to help me navigate the system and get her signed up to bid, who would you recommend would be most helpful? Thank You
Reply:
Joe, thank you for your question. It sounds like you are interested in getting starting in the government contracting arena. If that is the case, SBA has information on Register for Government Contracting at http://www.sba.gov/content/register-government-contracting. They also have information on their Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program at http://www.sba.gov/content/contracting-opportunities-women-owned-small-businesses. Check out one of the SBA Small Business Development Centers. I see that you are from Charlottesville Virginia. The website address to the nearest one to you is http://www.tjped.com/existing-business-and-entrepreneurs/. They should be able to help you navigate the system. I see on their website that they also offer procurement services vendor training. Central Virginia SBDC Nora Gillespie Director 2211 Hydraulic Rd., Suite 107 Charlottesville, VA 22901 - View Map Phone: 434-295-8198 Email: sbdc@cstone.net Web Site: http://www.cvsbdc.org
 
From:
Shanique Scott
Location:
Richmond, VA
 
Question:
what strategies do you suggest when there is a lot of competition. How do you go about finding wholesalers?
Reply:
Shanique, thank you for your question. The main strategy is differentiation. For example, our first food product is Rodgers’ Banana Pudding Sauce. Some things that differentiates it from similar products are: 1) It is all natural. 2) It will soon be gluten-free. 3) You can make a banana pudding dessert within minutes. 4) You can use it to make other things, such as banana pancakes/waffles, smoothies, milkshakes, etc. That said; compare your product against similar products. What makes it different? Your positioning statement should also communicate your product positioning. For example, our positioning statement is, “It’s All About the Pudding.” This statement suggests that there are some attributes in our brand that other brands are missing. One way to find wholesalers is to attend trade shows. I see that you live in Richmond, Virginia. If you have a food product, apply for the Virginia’s Finest Trademark. It is free to apply; however, only Virginia products that meet or exceed quality standards are accepted. The website is http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/vafinest/apply.shtml. You can meet lots of wholesalers at the Virginia’s Finest tradeshow, the Virginia Food and Beverage Expo. You can also meet wholesalers by attending Virginia’s Finest educational conferences. Remember…education is key. Do not put it on the back burner. You can also network with your peers in the food industry.
 
From:
360 Vintage Designs and More
Location:
Virginia Beach, Va
 
Question:
I am interested in crowing my business with very little capital, how do i go about getting funding or goverment grants when I've only been in business 3 mos. I gently used clothing for men and women. Business has picked up,sincethe doors have opened. I have done very little marketing. I handed out over a thousand flyers and over a thousand business cards and i tell people about the business everywhere i go. Are there any tips you can offer me on how to market my business and get my name out there with minimal capital. Thank you for your time and your feedback.
Reply:
Thank you for your question. SBA has resource partners that can help you with your business and marketing plans. To find one nearest to you, you can use their SBA direct at http://www.sba.gov/sba-direct However, some links for you to start in your research are: http://www.sba.gov/content/facts-about-government-grants http://www.sba.gov/content/does-sba-offer-grants http://www.sba.gov/loans-and-grants As far as marketing, it is great that you are handing out flyers and passing out business cards because face-to-face interaction is very important. Another strategy is to offer your current customers free merchandise punch cards. For example, each merchandise punch card has eight punch holes. Customers purchasing more than $50.00 on each visit will get their merchandise card punched. After eight punched holes, you can offer them a free gift, discount, etc. Whatever you offer, make sure that it is tempting to the customers and, of course, will not ruin your budget. Facebook marketing is another marketing strategy. You set the budget, and you can specify your targeted area. You can try it for a month. If it works, great. You could offer a teaser in the ad, like 10% off each purchase. SBA also has online courses for marketing your business at http://www.sba.gov/content/online-courses-marketing-your-business, and they have a number of blogs on marketing on the SBA community at http://www.sba.gov/community/.
 
From:
Donna
Location:
Oakton, VA
 
Question:
How were you able to get your first big order as a small family business? How did you go about scaling up? Please tell us how you promote your product? Thank you.
Reply:
Donna, thank you for your question. As I stated before, tradeshows are very important. We received our first big order from attending a Virginia’s Finest tradeshow. It is free to apply, and the website is http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/vafinest/apply.shtml. This is also how we scaled up; we attend the Virginia’s Finest tradeshows and educational conferences. The Virginia’s Finest organization has been an integral part of our success. It is a great organization with great people. As I previously mentioned, we also demo our products because face-to-face interactions are necessary. In addition, we use social media tools, such as Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
 
From:
Paul D. Brooks
Location:
Chantilly, VA
 
Question:
Have you grown to the point yet where you have had to develop a sales staff or capacity to help grow your client base?
Reply:
Paul, thank you for your question. At the beginning, we did a SWOTT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats, Opportunities) analysis to analyze our internal and external environment. Consequently, we set yearly goals and analyzed our goals in terms of new accounts, which correlated to an increase in revenue. When we first started, our marketing strategy was focused on the retail market; however, through education, we broaden our market base. To further develop our sales capacity, we are always asking ourselves, “What other avenues are available that we could have possibly overlooked.” One, of course, is to develop new products. You also asked, “When and how did you move from marketing to sales.” Well…to me, marketing and sales are intertwined. You market to increase your sales. I really cannot separate the two entities.
 
From:
Jen Zegel
Location:
Melbourne, Fl
 
Question:
Can you walk us through the process in your first three years of your business activities? From idea to start-up preparation to successful selling?
Reply:
Jen, thank you for your question. Answers to your question can be found in my previous answers. I will just recap the idea to start-up. My husband, Reggie, has always had a love for banana pudding. As a child, he would wait eagerly for his now deceased mom, Polly, to make the pudding sauce or custard, so he could lick the bowl and spoon... When he was stationed in San Diego, he looked all over trying to find a place that served homemade banana pudding. He could not find one, so he called his mom to get her recipe. For than on he started making banana pudding for family and friends. In fact, he become known as the “Banana Pudding Man.”. Decades later, our youngest daughter, Gin-Gin, approached us about starting a business. Initially, we did not understand the concept. My initial thought was that no one, not even I, wanted to eat a banana pudding with soggy vanilla wafers and brown bananas. She explained to us that we should put the pudding sauce in the jar. Because we were not familiar with the food industry, we started researching it. From there, we moved forward to licensing and production.
 
From:
Brandy
Location:
, Virginia
 
Question:
I want to start a business so that I can make a lot of money. Should I?
Reply:
Brandy, thank you for your question. I think that you should rethink starting a business if making money is your primary reason. The reason being is that sometimes people look at only the successes; they do not think about everything else, like the long hours, the sacrifice, and everything else that goes in between. If your primary reason is to make money, what are you going to do when you encounter trials or whether when the going gets tough? The going will get tough because everything is not always smooth sailing. Are you going to quit or what? Research businesses and talk to other business owners so you can understand the fundamentals of business. Remember…look before you leap. What may be good for someone else may not be good for you.
 
From:
Julian Garcia
Location:
Miami, Florida
 
Question:
If you could only offer one piece of advice to an aspiring entrepreneur, what would it be?
Reply:
Julian, thank you for your question. Only one piece of advice, huh. Okay…my one piece of advice is what I have emphasized throughout this chat…Study to Show Thyself Approved, which is really the same as Look Deep Before You Leap. 1) Research your intended Industry; 2) Talk to business owners who are already in your intended industry; 3) Like sites such as SBA.com and Inc. Magazine on Facebook so you can receive business-related content; 4) Keep going on…on…on… and on because the studying never ends even if you decided to start a business. Once you have Looked Deep, now decide if you are going to Leap into entrepreneurism.
 
From:
Michael Hargrove
Location:
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
 
Question:
Can you give me one good reason why I should start a business?
Reply:
Michael, thank you for your question. However, I cannot give you any reason why you should start a business. You see…starting and maintaining a business is a lot of work. You must be passionate about what you are doing because passion will help keep you going when it seems like nothing is going right, when you are tired of being sick and tired. I do not believe in giving people reasons why they should start businesses. Either entrepreneurship is in them or it not. It is not for me to convince, but them to decide. That said, SBA has a quick “Small Business Readiness Assessment” that can help you figure out if business startup is right for you at https://eweb1.sba.gov/cams/training/business_primer/assessment.htm
 
From:
John Bernier
Location:
Washington, DC
 
Question:
As a small 8(a) IT company we are finding it very difficult to break into the federal market space. Could you recommend your top 3 or 5 strategies to follow to put our best foot forward and get in the door?
Reply:
John, thank you for your question. A good source for you may be SBA’s blog on “Selling to the Government – 4 Tips for Meeting and Building Relationships with the Right People” at http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/small-business-matters/selling-government-%E2%80%93-4-tips-meeting-and-build.
 
From:
Andre' Smith
Location:
silver spring, maryland
 
Question:
Question that most important at this time is to find business plan layout that I can viewed, to assist me with mines. Also business account information went to a few banks to open a business account that information that was responded to me was not clear. Furthermore know how to set up fund raiser to help with funding with different organization and business for sponsors help to the fund riser.
Reply:
Andre, thank you for your questions. For a business plan layout and help with what goes into making one, SBA has information online at http://www.sba.gov/content/guide-writing-business-plan. When we started, we attended a workshop held at a SBA Small Business Development Centers in Virginia. We learned how to write a detailed business plan. I see that you live in Silver Springs, Maryland. I looked on their website for the closet one to you, but I did not see Silver Springs listed. However, I have posted the information below for the one serving Prince George and Montgomery Counties. You can call and find out more information. Capital Region SBDC Serving Prince George\\\\'s & Montgomery Counties Kyle Bayliss Regional Director 7100 Baltimore Ave., Suite 303 College Park, MD 20740 Phone: 301-403-0501 ext. 19 Fax: 301-403-0505 Web Site: http://www.capitalsbdc.umd.edu Andre, go back to the bank where you tried to open a business account. Let them know that you do not quite understand their instructions. If need, ask them to write the information down to give to you. You can even write it yourself. You can even take a friend with you; sometimes two heads are better than one. In regards to fundraisers, you need to research the procedures and talk to people who have done them. Learn from their successes and failures.
 
From:
Susan Bliss
Location:
South Jordan, UT
 
Question:
You certainly have a team of family members who make this happen. What other support systems have you found helpful?
Reply:
Susan, thank you for your question. You are correct in that my family is a great support system. As you know, our business is in the food industry; therefore, another huge support is one that I mentioned before is the Virginia's Finest Program. The people that coordinate the program are absolutely wonderful and truly supportive of all the companies.
 
From:
Trina
Location:
Jackson, Mississippi
 
Question:
What is one of your biggest regrets in regards to your business?
Reply:
Trina, thank you for your question. I do not know if it would really be considered regret, but sometimes I wish we had started our business years ago. Each time this comes to mind though, I remind myself that there is a time and season for everything. Even though I may feel an earlier time to start the business would have been better, this is just my humanly thinking. I know that everything had to be lined up, in order; therefore, our business launched in the right season.
 
From:
Walt
Location:
Clinton, Maryland
 
Question:
Is it difficult working with your family members?
Reply:
Walt, thank you for your question. Yes, it is sometimes difficult working with family members. We have different personalities. On the other hand, it is rewarding. Yes, we disagree, sometimes loudly. In spite of this, we know that we are working together for a common goal. As the saying goes, “One for one and one for all…we stand together BECAUSE we are family.”
 
From:
Theresa
Location:
Richmond, Virginia
 
Question:
Why the banana outfit?
Reply:
Theresa, thank you for your question. My reply is, “Why not the banana outfit?” I am the banana mascot. I absolutely LOVE dressing up in different outfits/costumes that represent our brand. Because I am very secure in what I do, I see no reason why I should not wear the banana outfit or any outfit that I deem to represent our brand.
 
From:
Lorraine
Location:
Boise, Idaho
 
Question:
How do you balance business and family? If the business is putting a strain on family, how do you address these issues?
Reply:
Lorraine, thank you for your question. I laughed when I read your question. The reason why is that we do not balance business and family. Because we are a husband and wife team with our two adult daughters, we talk business approximately 95% of the time. The business has never put a strain on our family, so we never had to address any related issues. I enjoy talking business. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind; this is one of my purposes in life. Thus said, every family is different. If only one spouse is involved in the business, you should discuss issues, such as budgetary confinements, prior to starting the business. In addition, you should discuss how to balance family and business because your uninvolved spouse may not be as understanding.
 
From:
Lori
Location:
,
 
Question:
Did you have paid personnel during initial startup; if not, do you now have employees?
Reply:
Hi Lori, good question. No, we did not have paid personnel during initial startup -- we were the employees, and we put everything back into the business. Today, we remain the only employees of the business.
 
From:
Jason Page
Location:
Memphis, Tennessee
 
Question:
What is the biggest pitfall that beginning entrepreneurs make? Many feel that there is no real disconnect between their personal life and business, especially in the beginning. What is your take on this?
Reply:
They want everything now. Many entrepreneurs have no idea the hard work, time, and sacrifices, especially personal sacrifices that are involved in just getting the business off the ground. This takes many by surprise. If you are passionate about your business, get ready to be dominated. My mind is always clicking. I wake up in the middle of the night to write down an idea. I write down ideas on napkins when I am out and cannot find paper. Ideas…Ideas…Ideas…I love it.
 
From:
Duane Davis
Location:
Virginia Beach, Virginia
 
Question:
What were you most naive about when you first started your business?
Reply:
Duane, thank you for your question. If you are referring to Rodgers’ Banana Pudding Sauce, the answer is “really nothing, because I have been in business most of my working life.” It is a lot of work, but I absolutely love being an entrepreneur. I honestly cannot think of anything better.
 
From:
Ginna Johnston
Location:
Norfolk, Virginia
 
Question:
The saying goes, in business and success,
Reply:
Ginna, thank you for your question. My advice is: 1) Adhere to your values. 2) Don’t get distracted from your purpose. 3) Do not allow compliment to “blow up your head.” 4) Stay focused. 5) Understand the importance of giving back 6) Remain humble. 7) Treat everyone, as you would want to be treated. 8) Learn not to sweat the small stuff. Know that “this too shall pass.” 9. View setbacks as learning experiences.
 
From:
Bunny
Location:
, Montana
 
Question:
I have always wanted my own business, but my friends have always discouraged me. They tell me that a business is too much work and I don’t need to be tied down to a business. How can I convince them otherwise?
Reply:
Bunny, thank you for your question. Why are you trying to convince your friends? Do you believe that your friends know what is best for you or do you know what is best for you? Why bother in even trying to convince your friends? Is it your life? If it is your life, then you need to decide. Remember to Look Before You Leap. You need to learn about your desired industry. Talk to other business owners about their successes and failures. When its all said and done, you may have to find new friends.
 
From:
Ernie
Location:
Chicago, Illinois
 
Question:
I am 63 years old. I want to start a business. Am I too old?
Reply:
Ernie, thank you for your question. SBA and AARP have a new alliance to reach “encore entrepreneurs” in the 50+ age bracket who want to start or grow small businesses. They are planning a National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Day on October 2, 2012 to help entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs who are 50+. It will be a coordinated day of mentoring events around the country, including SBA’s district offices. More information on the upcoming mentor day will be SBA’s website at www.sba.gov. SBA has information on for the 50+ at http://www.sba.gov/content/50-entrepreneurs. Ernie, do you feel that you are too old? If you feel so, than you have answered your own question. I feel that if you 1) have studied your intended industry, 2) are passionate about it, 3) have the time and Energy, why not? The reason why is that I know people older than you with more energy than people in their 20s. My mom, for example, was 62 when she passed from colon cancer. She was a maid. Before cancer, she had lots of energy and could outwork many younger people. I know that she could outwork me. I said all this to say, do not allow your age to deter you. Some other links to start your research are: http://www.sba.gov/content/50-entrepreneurs http://www.sba.gov/about-sba-services/7367/148061
 
From:
Mary A.
Location:
Torrance, CA
 
Question:
I'm online but I don't know how to listen to the Q&A
Reply:
Hi Mary, thank you for joining the chat today. There is not an audio format for the online chat. You can follow along with us at http://web.sba.gov/livemeeting/public/dsp_meeting_view.cfm?meetngid=163. Please do post a questions if you have one.
 
From:
Pat
Location:
San Diego, California
 
Question:
If I say successful entrepreneur, you would say
Reply:
Pat, thank you for your question. If you say successful entrepreneur, I would say Passionate Strong work ethic Leader Visionary Risk taker Self-motivated
 
From:
LaKisha
Location:
Atlanta, Georgia
 
Question:
How do you deal with unsupportive people?
Reply:
Lakisha, thank you for your question. I do not deal with unsupportive people. I learned this from experience. Years ago, when I purchased my first business, my, “I thought friend” was very unsupportive. In fact, it seemed like she was burning up with anger and resentment. I did not understand at that time, so I bent over backward “as to say to convince her.” Nothing worked. Let me mention now that my husband was very supportive, and I did not ask my “I thought friend” for money or anything. Anyway, I tried... tried…and tried. Finally, I decided to end the relationship. Reflecting on it today, I realize that my “I thought friend” was jealous and that nothing, except me giving up my dream would satisfy her. That said, don’t waste your time…keep it moving.
 
From:
Annie Mae
Location:
Memphis, Tennessee
 
Question:
What do your husband’s mom think about you taking her recipe to market
Reply:
Annie Mae, thank you for your question. My husband’s mom is deceased. Nonetheless, I know that she is proud that he is continuing her legacy. She is probably saying, Well done, my son.
 
From:
Chester
Location:
Bioloxi, Mississippi
 
Question:
How do you stay motivated?
Reply:
Chester, thank you for your question. I stay motivated by reminding myself of my purpose. Do not get me wrong now because there are times when everything seems to be going wrong, and I do get discouraged. I may even have a “oh woe is me” party for awhile; however, my party does not last long because I know that I have to keep it moving. I also believe in a higher power; therefore, even though I do not know how/when or do not understand, I believe that my “oh woe is me” will work out for my good.
 
From:
ajay
Location:
garfield, nj
 
Question:
How did you decide what product/service was lucrative in the market? are you planning on crossing the million $$ mark?
Reply:
Ajay, thank you for your question. Our focus in starting our business was not based on what product/service would be lucrative. We view our business as legacy-based to my husband’s mother. My husband’s mom had very little formal education; however, one of the ways she showed love to her family was via cooking. She is now deceased; however, her legacy will continue to live on through us. Of course, we are in business to make money but, for us, it is much deeper.
 
From:
Paul Brooks
Location:
Chantilly, VA
 
Question:
At what point did you realize you had to develop a sales capacity and how did you do that initially? When and how did you move form marketing to sales?
Reply:
Paul, thank you for your question. At the beginning, we did a SWOTT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats, Opportunities) analysis to analyze our internal and external environment. Consequently, we set yearly goals and analyzed our goals in terms of new accounts, which correlated to an increase in revenue. When we first started, our marketing strategy was focused on the retail market; however, through education, we broaden our market base. To further develop our sales capacity, we are always asking ourselves, “What other avenues are available that we could have possibly overlooked.” One, of course, is to develop new products. You also asked, “When and how did you move from marketing to sales.” Well…to me, marketing and sales are intertwined. You market to increase your sales. I really cannot separate the two entities.
 
From:
Debbie
Location:
Hampton, Virginia
 
Question:
how do I see the web chat
Reply:
Hi Debbie, You can see chat by going to ttp://web.sba.gov/livemeeting/public/dsp_meeting_view.cfm?meetngid=163.
 
From:
Mary A.
Location:
,
 

Thank you for joining me today. I would also like to thank Cecelia and the SBA. It has been my pleasure to be part of the SBA Web Chat: Growing Your Business Passion. I will leave you with these words, “Choose not to look back on your life saying, “I wish… I could have.” Be able to say, “I have done…I am doing.” Chose to live a purposeful life. It is your choice.