WEEK 3: Connection is Key!

Zoey C -

Hi everybody! I am happy to report that I had all 3 of my interviews this week and they went great! Here is a little recap of my interviews this week:

If you are in need of a photographer, I would 100% recommend Dalaney and her small business Dalaney Mason Photography! I was able to meet with Dalaney on Monday over the phone and we talked a lot about how her business has changed over time. She started this photography business as just a creative outlet and she just wanted to do what she loved. But, after about 6 years of being in business, her focus is on loving and serving her clients to the best of her abilities. She tries to provide style guides and location guides and get to know you surveys so that she can differentiate herself from other photographers in the area, making her seem more personable! At the start of her business, she would take any job that came her way so that she could spread the word, but she has since been able to narrow down what styles she does. She focuses on couples and marriages, as well as some portraits, but she hopes to be fully focused on marriages in the future. When I asked her what her biggest learning experience, her response was that she learned to be proud of herself for everything she has done, and she realized how much she could do all by herself!

I was also able to meet with Matt at Prescott Commercial Real Estate, who was recently nominated for Best Commercial Real Estate Office with Prescott Now! He and his wife are very hopeful for the future, and they hope to control a lot of Northern Arizona’s Real Estate! They have owned many small businesses in the past, yet this one was a success right out of the gate! When talking about his competition, he stated that “you keep your next move pretty close to your heart” and never let people know what you plan on doing next. He has had instances where he has told people what he is planning on doing next, and his competition has been able to play out his next move before he could! So lesson of the day is to always keep your next move a secret from your opponent, and treat every seller and buyer with respect!

My last interview was with Joe at Campgrounds Tea and Coffee. His philosophy with his business is that they will see what happens and whatever sticks, they will go with it! This business is hoping to move out of the trailer and move into a building! When talking about finding new employees, Joe pointed out that he could teach anybody how to make the drinks, but he could not teach anybody to have a good attitude and be cheerful! So, for him, being a people person is a big part of being a business owner! He is not really into the whole competition thing, but in order to differentiate his business from other coffee shops, he makes all of his syrups from scratch! The biggest focus for Joe with his coffee shop is that he wants to bring the community together, and he loves being able to talk to people and connect with others. Joe loves talking to people, and that was evident during our time together!

me and joe
Me and Joe at the trailer!

With my business plan, I did not make any progress this week. I reached out to a second group of people hoping to set up more interviews, and I have gotten so many more replies! I have also found a way to keep all the data I am collecting in an organized manner. I will start focusing more on my business plan and I will let you guys know my progress next week! Thanks for checking in and have a good week!

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    Hi Zoey! I love learning about the many similarities and differences amongst businesses from your interviews. It seems like depending on the sector, “competition” has a different meaning. Have you found that for specific sectors, competition is a more cutthroat part of business than others?
    Hi Maddie! That is a great question! Of course, I have not interviewed all sectors of business yet, but from what I have seen, most small business owners have a friendly view of competition. They work together and if they have to turn someone down, they send them to their competitors to help. But, I have seen that in real estate, there is a very cutthroat idea of competition where you have to play smart to beat your opponents. Most sectors of small businesses are friendly and work with their competition from what I have witnessed.
    Taylor Phelan
    Hey, Zoey! I love the variety of businesses that you are interviewing. I was wondering what kind of questions you are asking. Is there a list you have written, or are you just asking about their general strategies?
    Hi Taylor! I do have a list of questions but of course if we get off track talking about something else in their business, I do love learning more away from the set questions. I am asking general questions on why they started their business and what they have learned from running a business, but I am also asking how they manage employees and customers, about their business plan, their differentiation with their business, advertising techniques, and customer satisfaction. All the good stuff!
    I am glad to hear you had a successful week! Based on what I have read, it seems like a lot of owners value there customers/clients satisfaction above everything else. I was wondering if that relationship will be considered in the setup of your business model?
    Hi Gianna! The answer to your question is 100%. With my competition, I want my soda shop to have a major focus on connection in the community. This will give me an advantage above one of my biggest competitors, national franchises such as Starbucks. There are two ways a business can be successful, either having really cheap products or really good quality. I am focused on having really good quality for my customers so I can provide the utmost care to my customers. So, this is definitely one of the bigger focuses in my business plan.

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