Have you ever thought, I could make money from this side project or I wish I could start my own business? You’re not alone; the Kauffman Foundation estimates that on average more than 200 Indy residents decide to start a new venture every month. That’s a lot of entrepreneurial spirit in our region.
Stephanie Waters knows all about taking a leap of faith and jumping into owning a business. Launching Slice of Heaven Delivered in March of this year, Stephanie is turning a passion for cooking and servitude into a successful business delivering home cooked meals to busy professionals and families. What she wasn’t expecting was quadrupling her sales after four weeks. Stephanie has some insight for first-time entrepreneurs and working with the Indy Chamber’s Entrepreneur Services.
“I have a servant’s heart, I love to serve people. If a friend had a baby or somebody came home sick from the hospital or someone was just having a bad day, I would cook them a meal and take it to their house. I had done it for several years and thought how fun would it be cook meals and deliver them as a full-time job?”
Stephanie launched her business on Facebook, taking orders by the popular social media site, e-mail and text message. With a menu that changed weekly, Stephanie found it was more than just her Facebook friends that were interested in receiving meals delivered straight to your door. Word had gotten out.
“The first week, I did $300 in sales, the second week I did $600 in sales and by the fourth week I was at $1,200 in sales. I quadrupled in four weeks and I was going somewhat crazy. I didn’t realize it was going to go so well.”
Since then, Stephanie has only seen an increase in customers and the amount of orders she takes every week. “Who starts a business and then complains they are too busy? It doesn’t even sound right. But I was so busy that I was in a panic and I didn’t know what to do anymore,” acknowledged Stephanie.
Through a friend, Stephanie was introduced to Indy Chamber’s Entrepreneurship Services which offers free one-on-one business coaching, microloan program, and educational opportunities for every stage of owning a business. While Stephanie’s passion was in cooking, she needed the assistance of a personal business coach to ensure the back end of her operations was in order.
“I’m not computer savvy, I like to cook and deliver. My business coach opened the door and shed some light on things that were really important and I needed to get in check. She showed me how to do my spread-sheets, figure out how to price my items, and understand my margins."
You don’t have to be a business genius to be an entrepreneur. The Chamber’s free programs and potential sources of start-up loans are great for those who may have a great idea and want to join the entrepreneurial trend. The Indy Chamber runs the nation’s biggest Chamber-affiliated microlending program and can guide start-ups and new businesses from financial management, record-keeping to marketing.
If your business is taking off or it’s just an idea, Stephanie’s advices, “Believe in yourself. Failure can be a success. Seek out coaching; without a business coach I would probably be in a pile of receipts and invoices. Seek out the best advice you can get.” If you’re still not sure about business coaching check out the Entrepreneurship page.