I want to start my own business, but I don’t know everything.

By Leonardo Pozzobon

f you ask entrepreneurs why they started their businesses, motives spread all over the place, from following passion and wanting to turn a hobby into a business; being personally unable to hold an office job and needing to be its own boss; all the way to just “I saw an opportunity”, “I saw a market”, “I saw room for improvement”. After this, conversations often go into the “I wish I knew” topic, and that’s where pain starts talking by itself. You will hear stories about sleepless nights trying to solve operational problems and lost business opportunities due to lack of experience or not knowing where to find an answer. Thus, it always helps to have resources to learn from and reach out to in times of trouble.

The learning chance that helps one become a better business owner often comes as a result of a previously failed business. When the business owner is busy putting out fires day and night, it is only after failure that one will take the time to do a postmortem and understand what went wrong. Thus, it is important to stay on your feet, listen to your business, and make timely changes if/when needed.

A quick google search will get you to hundreds of “10 things I wish I knew before starting a business”, “7 things to know before opening your business”, “5 things I learned from running a business” and similar results. Of course this experience will be very different for people running different businesses and with different lifestyles, but here is a list of selected quotes I found quite relevant for most entrepreneurs:

  • Running the business takes 24/7

The biggest difference between a 9-to-5 job and being a business owner is the total lack of a fixed schedule. There is always the possibility for your client to have an issue with your product at an inconvenient time, or a supplier to have trouble in the middle of the night. Consider these possibilities, have contingency plans to address your customer’s needs, and organize responsibilities among your employees to ensure resiliency.

  • Optimize, outsource and automate everything you can

We at EGBI take our time to explain “The Four Roles An Entrepreneur Must Take” (Product Manager, Organizer and Manager, Marketer and Salesperson, Financier), and we emphasize that the entrepreneur must focus on the roles he is best at. Start by wearing many hats, but as soon as you have some traction, consider the best use of your scarce time will rely on dedicating your full attention to what you’re best at and outsourcing or hiring for other activities.

  • A part-time gig gives peace of mind

Once you give up a regular full time job in place of a business, you will be subject to the whims of seasonality and economic ups and downs. You can plan for these risks either by building a strong savings lung, or having a part-time gig to supplement the varying income from the business. This resiliency will give you peace of mind.

  • At the beginning everyone is excited and ready to help. When help is needed, it’s hard to come by.

People want you to succeed, and as soon as you start will get excited for your success. However, not everyone is willing or available to help you when you’re in such need for help. What should you do? Find access to reliable resources to help you through the hard times, find mentors, find a business coach.

With all this in mind, you should now know that you will face unexpected challenges, and learn from every opportunity you have. These common challenges I mentioned are not the end of the world, and do not mean that running a business is impossible. Challenges and obstacles are there for you to improve yourself and your business, and once you get to such a point in your entrepreneurial adventure, you will be more than welcome at EGBI for training, coaching and support.

Shirts Write Men Business Help Discussion Two


Celebrating 15 years of success: Tamale Addiction

A pleasure to provide fresh, organic, local tamales!

Every year, we celebrate the achievements of our clients and their contribution to the local economy at our annual success celebration. This year, we will celebrate EGBI’s 15th anniversary of providing training, coahing, and support services to area businesses with the vision that all businesses be profitable, sustainable, and an asset to the community. Leading up to our big anniversary celebration, we have been interviewing clients every week to feature a total of 15 success stories.

Adrian Paredes and Mariana Paredes are the owners of TAMALE ADDICTION, making each tamale by hand using the highest-quality ingredients. They use 100% organic masa and 0% gluten, lard, trans-fat oils, food additives, or preservatives.

Below is a Question & Answer we recently had with Adrian.

Q: What would you like everyone to know about you or your business?

A: Tamale Addiction is a manufacturer of hand-made, artisanal, gourmet, organic-masa tamales. We sell our products in various distribution channels, Famer’s Markets around Austin, small retailers, and food trucks. We also sell in big events such as ACL Music Festival, SXSW, and Trail of Lights.

Q: How has your career added value to your life? To the community around you?

A: This career has totally transformed us. We are totally committed to the business. Our customers have become our friends and the same happens with our suppliers and vendors. Our employees are more like a big family and we celebrate with them their big moments in life. We participate actively with our fundraiser program with schools and organizations sponsoring or sharing with them with a percentage of our sales. This has been of enormous impact for the organizations at the same time that we brand our company to make it more and more recognizable.

Q: How long have you been working with EGBI and how have they helped you?

A: We have been working with EGBI since 2011. EGBI helped us map a more understandable route to navigate all the different areas of entrepreneurship by connecting us with mentors and experts. Finally, we got a better picture of where we were standing when creating a business plan and acting accordingly, taking off hesitation when deciding and making business operations more easy to manage.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of?

A: Our best accomplishment is to keep our business thriving, our challenges have never been how are we going to survive but how are we going to grow and that is such a difference.

Adrian Paredes and Mariana Paredes are the 12th of the 15 clients we will share stories about each week leading up to our 15 years celebration. Please continue to follow us to read more about the businesses we serve.  If you would like to further encourage these businesses, contemplate using the products and services of our alumni. To do so, visit our CLIENT BUSINESS DIRECTORY.

Celebrating Success Luncheon is less than a month away, on September 6th, 2019. If you are interested in attending, reserving a table, or sponsoring our annual event, please contact Monica Peña at monica@egbi.org and 512-928-2594 . More information about the event HERE.

Celebrating 15 years of success: Selam International Mart & Café

Enjoy native Ethiopian culture while relaxing with friends.

Celebrating success is our annual event, and we celebrate the achievements of our clients and their impact on the local economy. This year will be a special year for us as we celebrate our 15th anniversary with our vision that all businesses should be profitable, sustainable and assets to the community. We have been with interviewing a client each week to share their success stories, with a total of 15 businesses. Previously we featured Spencer Costley. To read his story click HERE.

Sitotaw Degefaw is owner of Selam International Mart & Café, supplies fresh meat, serves delicious cuisine, Ethiopian spices, and more.

Below is a Question & Answer we recently had with Sitotaw Degefaw.

Q: How has your career added value to your life? To the community around you?

A: I can create the future by learning more about business. The business is sustainable for my partner, employers, and me. I take pride in providing East African products that usually people can’t find in Austin.

Q: How long have you been working with EGBI and how have they helped you?

A: I have been working with EGBI for 3 years. I took classes and graduated from one of EGBI’s business workshop series . EGBI helped with the planning of my business from the beginning. At first, it was not easy to open a slaughter house so I switched to the a market. I was able to get a place for a grocery store with a restaurant. EGBI helped me find a network and partnership with friends.

Q: What would you like everyone to know about you or your business?

A: Selam International Mart & Café is a unique grocery store which has spices and food from East Africa. Also, they offer fresh meat and lamb.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of?

A: My store is still growing and continues to change. I had a big success when we worked together and gathered partners to cooperate.

Sitotaw Degefaw is the fifth of the 15 clients we we have shared stories about each week leading up to our 15 year celebration. Please continue to follow us to read more about the businesses we serve. If you would like to further support these businesses, consider using the products and services of our alumni. To do so, visit our CLIENT BUSINESS DIRECTORY.

SAVE THE DATE! Celebrating Success Luncheon will be on September 6th, 2019. If you are interested in attending, reserving a table, or sponsoring our annual event, please contact Monica Peña at monica@egbi.org and 512-928-2594 . More information about the event HERE.

CHAMBER MEMBERSHIP AND March EVENTS

By: Monica Peña

We are consistently encouraging our alumni to increase their circle of influence by attending professional events in the area. We are proud of the community partnership that we have with the four chambers; including Austin Young ChamberGreater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce (GAACC)Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce (GABC), and Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GAHCC). When our clients graduate from the Build Your Business PLAN workshop series, they qualify for one year membership to one of these chambers. Each chamber has unique opportunities for business owners.

Here are some of the opportunities the chambers have this month to learn something new or meet other business owners.

March 20th- Coffee Connection Presented by Rudy’s

March 22nd and 23rd- Asian Eats Night Market

March 28th- Small Biz U

The joy of trying out new recipes

By Hye June Park

The spring is a good time to learn how to cook. I recommend you visit Tye Cooks Austin website which has plenty of recipes.

Tye Lewis, an owner of Tye Cooks Austin loves teaching people to cook a healthy gourmet meal using staples found in most pantries. Her business combines her training as a teacher and her passion for food. She offers highly personalized one-on-one and small group cooking classes. Additionally, she offers on-site team building cooking lessons for organizations in the Austin area. She is happy when her clients realize that they can cook healthy flavorful entrees in their own kitchen.

However, it has not always been easy starting a business. She faced obstacles like developing a clear mission, finding her “client”, and startup funding. She got help from Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI). EGBI helped her learn the basics of how to set up a business from scratch. “Also, the value of insurance, pricing, refining my elevator pitch, and seeing the full value of the service I provide to my clients.” Tye offered. “Now my goals are to expand into more markets here in the Austin metro area as well another Texas city. I am working on publishing a multi-cultural cuisine cookbook geared for those who have food allergies or intolerance.” You can find her own recipes on her website, which consist of ingredients found in most people’s pantries, but also one ingredient that can easily be found in a local grocery store but is versatile. Anyone can try one of the free recipes and building confidence in your own cooking skills.

For more information about the Tye Cooks Austin, visit www.tyecooksaustin.com.

Unity within the community leads to business growth

By Hye June Park

The number of black-owned businesses in Austin is growing. February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of blacks in U.S. history. To celebrate Black History Month, Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI) recognizes two clients that operate an African food mart and a nonprofit that highlights black history. One brings Ethiopian food to the Austin community, while the other helps youth shape their identity and learn from their past.

Sitotaw Degefaw, one of the owners of Selam International Mart & Café on North Lamar, sells imported Ethiopian and East African foods and spices in his grocery store. Visitors can explore East African culture while enjoying traditional Ethiopian food without the need to travel to Ethiopia. Selam International Mart & Café is a place where the East African community in Austin can come and enjoy their native Ethiopian culture, as well as a place for non-Africans to try something new in a very friendly environment. Degefaw’s favorite part of owning his business is meeting new people and having a place where his community can gather.

He started his business with just an idea. He came to EGBI to get the support he needed for his small business, with the idea of starting a slaughterhouse for a particular type of beef important to Ethiopian food. EGBI helped him to understand the governmental regulations around processing meat, and as his idea got better defined, he had the opportunity to purchase a grocery mart that had space to add a butcher shop for his specialty meat.

He worked with Joni Foster, EGBI’s Program Director, through one-on-one coaching sessions. “She connected me to the supplier that slaughters the specialty meat according to my country’s custom,” Degefaw offered. “She worked with me side by side to make my dream happen.” He continues to visit with Joni once a month to talk about this business. For more information about Selam International Mart & Café, visit selamcafe.com

The Living History Foundation was founded in February 2018 when the first group of people sat around the table and called the meeting to order. In the past year, the organization has received its 501(C)(3) status from the IRS and presented three living history programs in Central Texas. Edgar B. Garza, the Board President of Living History Foundation, said, “The mission of the Foundation is to inspire children and the young-at-heart to learn about the contributions people of color made in the building of this great nation from the time before the first Europeans to the present day.

“History is an important part of our personal lives,” Garza continued. “It is the key to understanding who we are as humans. The youth will ultimately develop their own perspective on human life and society. One that is based on stories about ordinary people just like the youth that are in the program. They will also learn from ordinary people lessons in courage, leadership, and constructive protest.

It is the first time for many of the board members to be a part of a non-profit organization, but EGBI meets with directors a couple of times per month to help them put everything together. The board gathered in December 2018 to make plans for 2019, and Joni Foster, Program Director at EGBI facilitated the conversation. Keep a lookout for one of the 12 living history programs the organization will offer in the months to come. For more information about the Living History Foundation, visit facebook.com/livinghistoryfoundation.

Board members of Living History Foundation
Black History
Salem Mart

Ice Cream Cone or Fruit Cup?

Las Mangonadas opened it’s doors in December of 2016 to serve customers a variety of their forty homemade flavors of ice cream,  cakes and pastries made daily, fruit cups, and other tasty snacks.  Claudia Sanchez, the co-owner of Las Mangonadas, learned about the business from her uncle, Alfredo Sanchez,  who was already an entrepreneur. Claudia gained experience through a similar business she helped her uncle with in Illinois until she decided to move back to Austin.  Both created the Austin business to provide the assortment of sweet to salty munchies that also include corn cups, smoothies, Doritos locos, and so much more.  In business for less than a year, they have already started to see growth in sales.
Claudia first became connected with Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI) when she attended Curso Empresarial, EGBI’s series of workshops taught in Spanish by local subject matter experts who have years of experience dealing with start-up businesses.  “The workshops helped with the general vision of business and learning from the experience of other attendees and instructors.  I was motivated that running a business was not going to be easy, but with tenacity it was going to be possible.” Claudia continues, ” I continue to receive assistance from EGBI anytime I contact them. They are always ready to help with resources, their knowledge, and encouragement. ”

 

 

Do you have a Tamale Addiction?

Tamale Addiction is famous for being fresh, organic, local, and delicious! Since it first set up at a farmer’s market in 2010, these tamales have managed to collect a following of Tamale Addicts and in the process increasing their production from 80 tamales their first week to now 9000 tamales on a Monday through Friday work week. Their flavors have spread fast through markets and coffee shops around Austin, San Marcos, San Antonio, and major events as ACL Music Festival, Old Settlers Music Festival, Food and Wine Festival, Formula 1 at COTA, etc. Recently these savory meals have made it into local retail stores.  Now their product can be found in Wheatsville Co-op, Royal Blue Grocery, People’s Pharmacy, Fresh Plus, and Thom’s Market. You may even be lucky enough to spot a Tamale Addiction food truck in an office campus near you!
Owner Adrian Paredes and his wife Mariana’s experience in the food industry started in 2009. After a failed venture with Mexican desserts, a new opportunity randomly aroused when a farmer’s market director asked them if they could make and sell tamales (they didn’t know how, but they said “yes”). Over the next days, Adrian and Mariana called every family member they knew to collect recipes, tips, and tricks about making tamales. They worked all week to prepare 80 tamales for their first market. Those tamales were sold out within an hour. The couple rose to the task before them: going organic and local and create vegan and vegetarian options for their customers. They had found the magic!  This is when Tamale Addiction was born.
Due to rapid growth,  Adrian Peredes sought out training and consulting services from the Economic Growth Business Incubator to develop a business plan and financial projections.  “I  am so grateful for the training, support and networking EGBI has given my business.  The business has been such a great adventure for my wife and I.”  – Adrian Paredes.


ATX Co-op Taxi In the News


ATX Co-op Taxi splits the difference between traditional taxis and ridesharing. ATX Co-op Taxi ride-hail app is up on the iTunes store: “ATX Taxi”. The app is modeled much like your standard TNC template. Should it ever fail, as happened with Fasten and RideAus­tin during SXSW, the co-op can fall back on its full-time dispatch system – staffed with call-takers at an office just like any taxi franchise.
We are proud of our clients, ATX Co-op Taxi. Read more in the Austin Chronicle here.