A collection of short interviews and education from local business owners with amazing insights to today's challenges.
We virtually interviewed some of the top small businesses to take a look at what's really happening during the COVID-19 Crisis. Everyone has some important tips to share with other business owners and a few even have a special offer to share. Check out their interviews and MOST IMPORTANTLY visit their websites and check out their services. Every small business needs us now (and probably yours too!)
OH, And, learn from their mistakes.... hear what they've done wrong so you can do it right!
Derrick Udy, The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill
The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill, we call it The Great Greek for short. The regional Great Greek started in Las Vegas 9 years ago, a couple moved from the Mediterranean to start the restaurant. The restaurant did so well they began to expand and it now has become a franchise. There are 35 locations and we are the first in Texas. We are a fast-casual concept and everything is made fresh daily in our scratch kitchen.
Who do you consider your best customer or Target audience? Anyone who wants fresh, healthy and delicious food
What's been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business? There have been 2 big impacts on the business. The first is volume has been less with the dining rooms having to close. The second is the increase in food cost. We are using delivery platforms and they take 25-30% off the top before they pay the restaurant.
What are some actions you have taken to make a difference? We are always learning and we have negotiated better delivery pricing and in the past month we have also negotiated on our food cost for gyro meat. We have also invested more in sales and marketing especially along the lines of catering.
It's been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but the wise learn from the mistakes of others. What are some mistakes that you’ve made that could help others? When I think about this a couple things comes to mind: Human capital mistakes and not moving quick enough on talent opportunities. From a marketing perspective not working quicker to have loyalty programs. I would recommend investing in loyalty programs. Having clients sign up for the loyalty program has also given us a database to leverage marketing opportunities.
What is most inspiring to you today? The generosity and care of the human spirit and the resilience of the human spirit. The human spirit is kinder and more understanding.
Offer: Use code 15OFF50 for $15.00 off purchase of $50.00 plus free dessert (while supplies last)
Julie Hall, Custom Website to Go I have had it for 15 years; I was a software engineer and I left my corporate job 15 years ago to meet the needs of small businesses. I noticed small businesses needed a professional appearance and people wanted to be able to change their website and pictures without having to get the web designer involved to do it. I knew that I could offer that and that is where we started. Over the years we have adjusted and grown our offerings and now we do WordPress websites and social media services as well.
Who do you consider your best customer or Target audience? Established customer who knows the importance of advertising. We target small to mid-sized businesses that do not hire in-house.
What's been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business? It has scared a lot of people and when people sense uncertainty they pull back and for some reason marketing is the first thing they pull. It is important to keep marketing in times of uncertainty to keep a clear line of communicate open with your customer.
What are some actions you have taken to make a difference? We have been placing more bids on government projects and we are now offering online training courses for social media.
It's been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but the wise learn from the mistakes of others. What are some mistakes that you’ve made that could help others? We pulled back instead of going forward and we spent money without being diligent. We spent a lot of money on items that are not contributing to the bottom line. I learned to asked myself, "Am I making money on this expense?" I recommend giving yourself a marketing window of spending.
What is most inspiring to you today? I have put in place Trello and I schedule 5 things a day. It’s a simple thing but writing out tasks and checking them off is helping me be more productive.
Offer: We are currently offering a FREE website evaluation and we are offering social media training classes. If anyone is interested in finding out more contact Julie at Custom Websites to Go.
Jordan Bell, Smart Bronze We are DFW’s premier spray tan only salon. We have been in business for 12 years. I started working there 9 years ago and have owned it for 5 years. It is pretty neat being one of the first spray tan only salons in the country and one of the only ones still around. We are statistically the busiest spray tan only salon in the country and we average about 200 tans a day during busy season. I have now started working with Norvell as a contract worker and I travel the country to teach how to spray tan and the science behind it.
Who do you consider your best customer or Target audience? We see people of all ages but our target customer is anyone that is looking for a healthy way to tan or in need of a boost of confidence. We see people as young as 6 for dance and as old as 90 that want a glow for their vacation.
What's been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business? Closing during our busiest season of the year was a very hard part for us. We typically do 35% of our revenue during those 60 days we were closed. Being able to reopen it was eye opening the level of cleaning we can provide – we have lengthened our appointment times and added PPE (shields on the front desk & masks) and lowered the number of people allowed in the salon at a given time. It has changed volume for now. We are not regulated like hair stylist but we have decided to follow their guidelines.
What are some actions you have taken to make a difference? The sanitizing and the PPE have been the biggest changes. It has worked well and become our new normal at this time. It has changed the pace that we work. We are definitely working at a slower pace. It is limited us as to how many people we can see each day.
It's been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but the wise learn from the mistakes of others. What are some mistakes that you’ve made that could help others? I think 2 of the main things I’ve focused on is not to get comfortable. When I got comfortable because my business was working well, people would get lazy and things started to slip. So I’ve really tried to be thinking about the next thing--about what we can do to keep growing. There are other things we could do to grow. I could get out and do more marketing and meet more people just to keep us on their minds. I think getting comfortable is very dangerous as a business owner. The other thing is not to focus on competition. There are a lot of people out there doing the same thing. If I’m worried about what everyone else is doing, I’m not getting anything done. It is important to look forward and not to the side or behind you.
What is most inspiring to you today? Today in the current time it has been truly inspiring to see our local community come together and support each other. It’s a really hard time financially and the outpouring love we have received in Southlake, TX has been very humbling and a very beautiful thing that shows how much people really care about each other. People I didn’t even know were calling the mayor on my behalf and they wanted us to survive and do well.
Offer: Right now, Smart Bronze is offering HALF off one spray tan (for first time customers only)
Infinity Management account team and business consulting provides the basic book keeping and cash flow management services with the added value of advice on a regular basis for small companies.
Who do you consider your best customer or Target audience? We target small companies between 1-40 million in sales. Our best customer is a small company with 15 million in sales and is experiencing growing pains.
What's been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business? It has had a good impact on business and opened up a lot of opportunities. It has given us a lot of work for the PPP and SBA loans. We have more prospects now than in the last 3 years. The need for a business advisor has gone up. We are back in office and not bringing the full staff back in house. Some will continue to work remotely because it has been effective and efficient.
What are some actions you have taken to make a difference? Managing the teams was a big hurdle. Having employees suddenly remote was more complicated. We were able to find a cohesive and effective way to communicate with each other so we still have a strong team. The demand for work was there and we had to keep the momentum. Job security was not a distraction.
It's been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but the wise learn from the mistakes of others. What are some mistakes that you’ve made that could help others? One mistake was not delegating. It is so important every entrepreneur learns to delegate. Also learning team management and how to be a supporter. It is so important to learn management skills as early as possible.
What is most inspiring to you today? By looking for opportunities. Relentless pursuit for something different and how to improve in a changing market. There is always a better way to do it and different ways to look at the same opportunities.
What we do here at Terrydale Capital is work with investors on all sizes that are investing in commercial real-estate. We work on asset classes that range from multi-family, office retail, self-storage, hotels and sometimes owner-occupied buildings. We work with investors that are looking to structure their financing to get the best returns and avoid unnecessary costs and fees. We have a large list of lenders that we work with all over the U.S. and we work to place the right investors with the right lenders.
Who do you consider your best customer or Target audience? Real estate investors between 1-10 million looking for loan.
What's been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business? Captial markets are adjusting their outlook and risk profile and underwriting on a lot of deals. Deals prior to COVID-19 didn’t have to stress test the cashflow. There has been about a 10% reduction in leverage and that adjustment has really slowed things down for the first 2 months of COVID
What are some actions you have taken to make a difference? We had a very strong group of lenders we were working with and we have expanded our group of lenders by 500%. We have really spent a lot of time investing in new relationships to help our investors(clients) find resources to get them the terms they need. The environment has changed so much we really need to look at a lot more lending options. We have really doubled down on technology; we have been building out new resources through our website to try and track new business and give people information about what is going on in the market.
It's been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but the wise learn from the mistakes of others. What are some mistakes that you’ve made that could help others? I think the thing that is most important when starting your own company is taking your time with organizing structures, processes, and procedures first and foremost vs ramp up hiring.
What is most inspiring to you today? The innovation we are seeing out of small business. It's inspiring to see a lot of companies change gears and adapt to the new market.
Offer: We are now offering a FREE consultation if an investor has an opportunity they are looking at. We can outline the loan structures we could put on the table for them.
Kevin Gooden, Onyx Onxy is an energy consulting firm and we do all the negotiation and leg work on behalf of the consumer with the suppliers. We act as the liaison to negotiate the pricing and contract terminology. Our process is one that drives out supplier margins, it is not until our clients are happy until we earn anything. We also include our margin in the price we present to the customer, the customer pays their monthly bill and the suppliers pay us. We do this for both electricity and natual gas. We also offer energy efficiency services too.
Who do you consider your best customer or Target audience? We have a broad spectrum of clients. Everyone uses energy. We focus on commercial and industrial businesses. Our ideal client is companies that are on a small-scale spending $2500+/month on electricity. We also target companies with multiple sites (even if the sites are across states). These companies are spending 5-250 million annual revenue and have 2-10k employees. We also serve churches and non-profits.
What's been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business? We have not had many negative impacts. Energy usage is down due to working at home, and our approach has been softened tremendously. Onyx is used as a source to help navigate COVID-19 by offering payment options. We have extended ourselves a lot more from a customer stand point and are being proactive by reaching out to clients.
What are some actions you have taken to make a difference? Before COVID-19 we were working on automating as much as possible but now that COVID-19 has happened we have scaled that project back because I think people need to hear the actual voice of Onyx. We also have some other ideas to comb over our entire client base by offering free gas to increase foot traffic for anyone that drives by.
It's been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, but the wise learn from the mistakes of others. What are some mistakes that you’ve made that could help others? One of the mistakes that I did make was staffing while growing Onyx. It is important to choose the right people to hire. It became more of an emotional decision. I ended up hiring someone that takes care of the entire process and it’s a little bit more removed from the emotional aspect of it.
What is most inspiring to you today? To see how our businesses have been able to navigate the front end of COVID and not being too severely impacted by it. Also keeping moral high at all times, being able to navigate this time, and that our employees are safe and feel safe.
Offer: Receive a $150 Visa Gift Card when renewing your commercial electricity or natural gas service agreement through Onyx.
Minimum 12-month term length service agreement
Minimum 250,000 kWh annual electricity
Minimum 60,000 therms annual natural gas
Gift cards will be issued per qualifying agreement