WEEK 2: A Change in Plans

Zoey C -

Hi everybody! This week something happened that I did not expect. I had 4 interviews scheduled, but I got stood up on 2 of them. Luckily, they did reach out to me and let me know what happened, so I was able to get them rescheduled and everything is now figured out! Mr. Corradi and my mom both stated that this is an important life lesson about how sometimes people are just not as dependable as they should be, and we need to keep moving forward through those situations. I still had two interviews this week that went really well! Here is a list of some of the questions I am asking at the interviews, and of course if there are any questions you would want me to ask, then I will add it to the list!

Some of my questions!!

The first was a woman named Sonya. She owns an ice cream shop named Scoopz which is connected to a pizza shop in Humboldt! Sonya focused a lot on how customer service is essential for a company. They have a set amount in their budget just for customer service and they give 5 free meals to low-income people each week. If a customer is dissatisfied, they try to give a discount or the same item they ordered for free. With competition, Sonya stated that their distinguishing factor is quality over quantity because the other pizza company in her area focuses on producing more. This business places a major focus on customer service, and Sonya believes it is vital to a business that the customers are happy. Customers are the lifeline of a small business. She also talked a little about her toughest moment in her business, which they are actually going through right now. Currently, they are super busy and need more inventory to stay open, but they are not making enough profit to buy more. So, the owners are having to use their personal money in order to keep inventory up. This is very interesting to me, because I always thought once you started to make money, profit came easy. This interview with Sonya opened my eyes to the difficulties of making a profit when first starting out, and I learned that patience is key! The ice cream shop has been open for 8 years and the pizza shop just opened in December, so it takes a while for results to be seen in a business and in profit. A business owner must have the ability to be patient and wait for the profit to come over time.

My second interview was with a woman named Annie! She and her sister Holly run One Hundred Chairs, an event rental company. They started this business because they had a passion for helping set up events, and they were approached by the original owners on if they wanted to take over the business. While talking to Annie, she placed a big emphasis on how important it is to hire people who are self-motivated and accountable. Instead of having employees who say, “Not my job, not my responsibility,” she would rather have her workers have a little ownership and care for the customers where they can. Employers need to keep motivation going by giving employees incentives to keep working hard, like giving free meals or a raise in wages. Annie talked about how she has very clear expectations of the end goal yet gives her workers some ownership on how it is done. According to her: “The space in the middle is less important to us as long as the end goal is clear and achieved.” I also found it interesting how her competition is more of a friendly competition, and they work together to increase sales! Their business focuses on a more vintage look while her competitor is more modern. Annie emphasized that they would rather their customers get what they were looking for instead of getting more business, so her and her competition will reach out when customers are looking for something different than what they are providing! They focus more on the happiness of their clients than the profit of the business, and that is how they satisfy their customers.

With my business plan, I ran into another problem! With the cookie dough business being young, it is really hard to find any data for my plan. So, I am sadly moving back to building a business plan for a soda shop. BUT HAVE NO FEAR, because I will make sure to sell cookie dough at my soda shop for all you cookie dough lovers. Since I had to redo my company description, I did not make it far into the market analysis. Basically, this section is where I am looking at trends in the market I am in, and I am talking about my main demographic and where they are located compared to my location. For quick context on my market, dirty sodas are sodas such as Dr. Pepper and Coke mixed with different flavorings. Popular soda shops such as Sodalicious, Swig, and Fizz have seen an increase in business in this market, because of the aesthetic nature of the drinks and the perceived notion that they are healthier than normal soda (though this is in fact not true)! These soda shops first rose up in the Mormon culture by being called the ‘”Mormon Starbucks” due to the drinks being non-alcoholic and containing no coffee or tea. But, dirty soda quickly gained popularity through social media, and now these soda shops are serving over 100 locations in the United States. When researching the trends on dirty soda and soda pop, I was interested in how the soda pop consumption has changed over time. Ever since the introduction of carbonated beverages in the 1830s, the consumption of soda reached its high point at a plateau from around 2005- 2012 and has since been decreasing. However, the amount of soda drunken by the average American is still twice as high as in the past. So, even though the trend has been steadily decreasing, Americans now drink 44 gallons, which is still a lot greater than before the early 2000s. Just a quick fun fact for you guys!

This next week, I have 3 interviews and I hope that number is the same in the next blog post! Thanks for tuning in and have a good week!

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    Taylor Phelan
    Hi, Zoey! What a cool opportunity you have to interview all these local businesses. After you finish all your interviews, what do you expect will be the main issue these companies have in making decent profit, like what main factor might set them back? I hope that makes sense :O
    Hi Taylor! That is a great question! For local small businesses, word of mouth is an important tool in advertising, so I expect a lot of it could be just not getting the word out. I also think bad reviews affect local small businesses more than the big chains, so a big setback in profit could be getting one bad review and that scares people away? I guess we will learn together!
    Hi Zoey! It seems like you’ve been super busy! I love your fun fact about soda shops, and I think having cookie dough AND soda at the same shop is genius. After both of these interviews, are there particular aspects of these businesses that you plan to incorporate into your own plan?
    Hey Maddie! There was an interview just this week actually where they focus a lot on community and conversation and I would love having that same environment in my soda shop! I have also taken some ideas for categories in budgets and how they differentiate from their competition!
    Wow Zoey it sounds like you had an eventful week! I find it really interesting the ares of importance that different business owners have. How are the interviews contributing to the business model you are developing? Also, I appreciate the addition of the cookie dough to your soda shop. I think you would be a success here in Prescott for sure!
    Hi Gianna! A lot of the questions I am asking, such as questions on writing their business plan and advertising techniques that have been successful, are so that I can see what has been working with the business. I am also talking about what has not been effective, so that I know how I would not run my business. I like to think of it as getting advice from experienced business owners before starting my own business in the area!

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