Small-business owners, what are you doing to stand out from the crowd? Each week, we focus on an entrepreneur who has lessons to share that we think will resonate with other small-business owners.
Jim Farrell, founder and CEO of readymade milkshake maker f’REAL Foods, answers our questions:
What are you doing to stand out from the crowd?
Many restaurants that make frozen drinks on the spot are using their own process and recipe, developing their own measurements and blending techniques – sometimes with every order. At f’REAL Foods we’ve franchised the process of making milkshakes and other frozen drinks. We’ve standardized the ingredients, portions and blending, so retailers can make the drinks as they’re ordered but without any of the guesswork that can put taste and consistency at risk.
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
Developing a hard-charging company culture that’s also fun, so people are motivated to come to work every day. That’s the kind of place I’ve always wanted to work, and now I do.
What’s the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
Staying focused on achievable goals. There is a never-ending list of things we would like to do, which would help us grow the business. However, keeping up with everything can be overwhelming. I’ve learned that it’s important to prioritize and focus, or we will spread ourselves too thin and compromise the quality of our work.
Name: Jim Farrell
Business: f’REAL Foods, a readymade milkshake maker.
Industry: Consumer Packaged Goods
Location: Orinda, Calif.
Year founded: 2003
Number of employees: 42
Web address: freal.com
What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve overcome?
When we launched, many potential investors thought we were naive about the potential mishaps that could befall a business focused on milkshakes and other blended frozen beverages. Only a few were willing to invest. The lack of funding made starting up more challenging. We had to stretch our resources razor thin and think creatively to get the company going.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made?
Following the lead of a product development “expert” who was not nearly as knowledgeable as he made himself out to be. In fact, following this expert’s advice for over a year likely set us back. We’ve also made a couple hiring mistakes, which are always painful and costly, in terms of lost time and staff development.
What’s the best business advice you can offer?
Most successful businesses are fueled by three ingredients: a good idea, great people and extreme persistence in the face of uncertainty. Put these three things together and you’re bound for success.
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