* * *
"The Small Business Professor is a site that should be bookmarked by every entrepreneur. In today's business environment, it is difficult to gather information and obtain answers to the myriad of questions that face business owners. Bruce Freeman's 'Ask the Small Business Professor' column is an excellent resource that provides guidance, up-to-the-minute information, mentoring, and more."
"I've been working with patients for almost 10 years as a Chiropractic Physician. I'm always looking for new ways to increase awareness of the valuable clinical services provided at my centers. Bruce Freeman has given me insightful ideas to assist in my marketing efforts. I rely on his 'Ask the Small Business Professor' column to keep me abreast of new trends and developments in the field. I couldn't ask for a more knowledgeable and capable advisor as my companies move forward into providing nationwide healthcare for patients."
"'Ask the Small Business Professor' is a must read for small business owners looking for free expert business advice. Using a Q&A format, Bruce Freeman covers important small business topics weekly by bringing in recognized experts on subjects including accounting, legal issues, trademarks marketing and sales. Don't miss it!"
"I find the column inspiring and helpful to me in running my own small business."
"Bruce Freeman, The Small Business Professor, is a most valued and enthusiastic guest contributor to the business segment of our radio show dealing with the challenges facing today's entrepreneurs. His practical and insightful advice has served to enhance our ability, as broadcasters, to help business owners move ahead in their various fields of endeavor. ....Thank you, Bruce."
El Señor Sol – Recipe for Success
Felipe Duran of Denver, Co is a classic immigrant entrepreneur success story. Born in Mexico, Mr. Duran joined family in the US at age 14. Although he did not speak English, he and his family understood the value of education, and Felipe worked hard, graduated high school and went off to college. To pay his way, he did many jobs including dishwasher, construction worker, dental technician, and food manufacture before he became an accountant for the government. In 1992, his brothers invited him to help them in opening a restaurant. In 1995, he bought his brothers out and began to implement his vision for El Señor Sol, which he believed would improve business. Felipe Duran believes that the restaurant business is like a puzzle, where each piece interlocks with the others and attention to detail is paramount. Soon he had changed the menu, added new tile floors, new furniture, jazzed up the decor and upgraded the sound system. To make the puzzle complete, he worked with personnel to change the service level and approach to customers. The freedom to make decisions and steer the restaurant in the direction he wanted it to go proved to be a recipe for success. A second restaurant followed.
By 1999, he was able to quit his job and devote all of his energies to El Señor Sol. His recipe includes seeking new opportunities by searching out and leasing sites of previously closed or struggling restaurants in areas where Mexican restaurants are scarce. Once each new restaurant becomes a going concern, Mr. Duran takes steps to purchase the property. Owning multiple restaurants is different from having just one. Restaurateurs know that the ability to pitch in and solve problems on the spot is a key ingredient. With multiple sites, letting go of operational details becomes a necessity, but it’s a difficult transition. Felipe Duran’s focus had to shift to a broader perspective. Today, he watches cost of goods sold as the determining factor – a factor he allows to go no higher than 25% without explanation and comparison shopping among suppliers. Along the way, Felipe Duran has found that he loves the restaurant business. He believes that nothing in the world substitutes for love of what you do. Once you love what you do, you can keep up the pace longer than others without getting tired or sick of it. Attention to detail becomes a labor of love.
The Small Business Professors' Words of Wisdom
Felipe Duran’s hard work and success are not uncommon in this country, but hard work is not necessarily a guarantee; many hard-working people fail in the restaurant business. As Mr. Duran learned, it’s hard to share your time between two jobs, especially when one concern requires your constant attention. The sooner you can dedicate yourself completely, the better chance you have for success. Another important point for all business is the cash flow juggling act. Professors can talk about it, but until you do it for yourself, it’s hard to understand the impact of the anxiety. Even now with seven restaurants, Mr. Duran makes his own deposits and checks his cash balances every day. He likes to pay suppliers COD normally so when cash is low, they know he is good for it and he can ask for more time to pay. He also adjusts his salary based on sales and profits, a concept that can make home life difficult, but can make the difference between success and failure.
- Case History: Felipe Duran El Senor Sol Restaurants
- Entrepreneur’s Strategy: Open restaurants in underserved markets following proven recipe for success.
- Could This Work For Me? Branching out into underserved markets is a good strategy for expansion.
The freedom to make decisions and steer the restaurant in the direction he wanted it to go proved to be a recipe for success.