BUILDING A BUSINESS: BECOMING BROKE AND RISKING IT ALL
You often hear people say “I just want to work for myself!” That’s the dream: to do something you love, set your own hours, build a successful business, and let’s be honest...make money. But what does it really take to get there, and how do we make that leap?
I was fresh out of college and landed an entry level corporate job working in finance and accounting. It didn’t take long to realize that to get any further, I would need my MBA. Once I finished my program at St. Johns University, I returned home to California and started my trek up the corporate ladder working for an international software company. Life was good but one day everything changed. My hobby of homebrewing had been taking up more and more of my time and finally it clicked, I wanted to open a brewery. My background seemed to be a great fit for building a successful business, so why not go for it?
I immersed myself in the industry and spent many hours talking with other brewery owners. I also started attending every conference and seminar that I could to ensure I really understood what it would take to be successful in the industry. After years of researching, learning and networking (and drinking beer), I was ready to develop my business plan. It was time to look at the financials, see if this idea was feasible and how long it would take to break even.
Then came the most difficult step to starting a business, raising capital. With a business plan and financials in hand, I went to the first person that came to mind: my dad. He agreed to front the equity portion if I could get a bank to debt finance the additional amount needed. After cold calling every bank that was SBA approved in California, only one was willing to take a chance on me, allowing me to report to my dad that the SBA loan was secured. We were officially in business!
Not long after, I found myself in a swirl of architect drawings, city permitting, general contractors, marketing firms, suppliers, vendors, social media, banks, human resources and the list goes on and on. During this stressful time, I learned how to utilize all of my resources and connections to succeed. However, the most important lesson I learned was to find a good team.
Flash forward through all the speed bumps and headaches, there I was ready to open my doors. Now came the long hours, hard work, endless meetings, little or no pay and a lot of stress. At this moment in my business journey it was more important than ever to have a good team to delegate some of the workload to.
Honestly, I didn’t really know what I was getting into even after years of researching. Naturally, I look back at how things could have been done better but the process is never perfect. In the end, things ended up working out and the lessons learned are priceless. Thanks to the lessons I learned along the way I have been able to launch my venture, Ivanhoe Park Brewing Co in Orlando, Florida.
I am fortunate that Ivanhoe Park Brewing Co. has a great team with strong leaders in each department.. The investors who have backed this venture have been amazing and continuously help the business grow. Being only six months into it, we are already adding our Phase 2 growth tanks that we weren’t planning to add until year two or three.
In the end, your first or second (or third, or fourth, or 50th) venture won’t always have a guaranteed success. To be honest, there are no guarantees in business.
The risk will always be there, but the reward will be so much greater on the other side.
Good Luck Gents!
Founder of Ivanhoe Park Brewing Co.