How did the idea for your business come about?
The idea was not mine for the business but, the product was fantastic and they just needed someone who was willing to put the money back into the company.
What was the turning point for your business? Was there a moment you knew you had something special?
I think the turning point for us is right now. We have a brand new website and an opportunity to really do something special with it. This next year will really tell us where we are going and how special it is.
What does it mean to you to be an entrepreneur and business owner?
It means everything. My father is an entrepreneur in every way and has really made me want to own my own company. His story is what I’m trying to write.
What does the city of Columbus mean to your business?
Ohio is where I was born and where I grew up. I bleed Scarlet and Gray. We just acquired the licensing for The Ohio State University and are extremely excited about what we can do for them. We also started out as a store in a mall in Worthington and from there have grown into a national company.
What’s the number one piece of advice you’d give to anyone wanting to start a business?
Start it. If you have a passion for something then go for it. If you have an idea put it on kick starter. If you have something to sell put it on amazon. I was a mechanic who had no money and now have an online business, so there is no excuse. Just start it.
What do you wish you knew about entrepreneurship before starting your business? I wish I knew what it really took, I think I would have started off a little faster. When people say its 24/7 you think oh naa when I go home I’m home. This is not the case if you are not thinking about it, talking about it, or selling it, then it’s not for you.
What’s the most challenging part of your business (i.e, what keeps you up at night)?
What keeps me up at night is when a mistake is made and the customer suffers from it. When something goes wrong it can really bring you down.
Every business owner has a flaw. What’s yours?
I get too emotional, which sometimes is great but can be costly others. I put everything into this and sometimes I let that get the best of me.
What was you biggest mistake and what did it cost you?
The biggest mistake I made so far (and I know I will continue to make them) is I argued with a customer when I absolutely should not have. I got emotional and angry. It cost me the customer, the product, the review and probably about 20 people he told about what happened.
What tool has helped you the most for your business (invoicing, accounting, shipping, plugin for website, etc.)?
The tool that has helped me the most is my accountant. He has given me advice, gotten me sales, and most importantly gotten me paid for the orders we take.
When did you know it was time to expand your business, make your first hire, etc.?
Well that’s a hard question to answer because we are always growing. So expansion is happening all the time and as we go I just add the pieces.
What is something that you did that was a game changer for your business?
We bought a machine called the vmag 500. This allowed us to quadruple our cookie output as well as dial in our cookie weight. This was our biggest time and money saver.
What was an idea that you spent a lot of time on or thought would make a big difference in your business that didn’t pan out.
That would be getting the OSU licensing. I spent about 6 months getting it and have not really seen a return. This could all change come this fall but so far that’s our biggest flop and I hate to say that.
What is something you’re working on now that you’re very excited about?
Right now we are working on our personalized and Logo cookies. We are about to add a large number of products to the page and have invested in a really cool printer. That allows us to print full color photos directly onto the cookies.
What is something that your business spends a lot of money on that’s worth it?
We spend a lot of money on advertising. Getting your product out in front of people costs a lot of money. We spend it on ads, we spend it on coupons, we spend it on emails. You have to spend money to make money.
What form of marketing is the most valuable for you?
I would say SEO. Organic traffic is by far the most profitable and long-lasting.
Who is your best Columbus resource (accountant, lawyer, marketer, etc.)?
Pete McCoy at GAAP Inc.
What’s your most productive time of the day to work? And least?
My most productive time is first thing in the morning. I like to get a jump on things before anyone else gets in the building. My least productive time is about 3pm. I have completed all my tasks for the day and am just working on finishing up orders. So late afternoon would be my least productive.
How many cups of coffee do you drink everyday and what are your usual coffee drinking times?
ZERO. I have both ADD and ADHD so when you add ANY Caffeine to that mix my whole day is unproductive. I start a lot of things but don’t finish any of them and then normally stay awake all night thinking about how I got nothing done.
If you had one hour of free time what would you do? (get more specific than “hang out with family”)
I would work on my 1948 Willys CJ2a. I am a mechanic by trade and absolutely love just tinkering around with it. Both of my kids have also taken a liking to it so they would probably be with me either riding around or helping me fix some little thing.
Who do you vent to when you have a business problem?
I vent to my wife. She is excellent at listing to me and then helping me work through the problem. I vent to her probably more than she would like but she is always there to help.
Where do you see your business in the next 10 years?
I see us in our own building doing 10+ million a year.
What other entrepreneur do you look up to most?
Marcus Lemonis. I like the way he works and his priorities for a business.
If you had to tell a visitor one thing to do/see/eat in Columbus, what would it be?
You have to go to an Ohio State Football game. I would tell them to go to Gallery hop and see all great work by Columbus artists. Where to eat is hard because I have so many favorite places. I would suggest go to the Short North and eat at any of the local spots on that street.