Q1 : Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
Ans :
We are Glass Block Express (GBX) where we build and install glass block windows for commercial and residential buildings in the Metro Detroit Area. Glass blocks are attractive, secure and economical, glass blocks are also energy efficient; their thermal insulation values significantly reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer.

GBX was started in Detroit, Michigan in January 2018 and has over 10 years experience in glass block installation.
GBX prides ourselves on providing the highest quality glass block installation at fair and market competitive prices.

Q2 : Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
Ans :
I am Sonja McCoy, I hold a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.

My partner is Raymond Joiner. Raymond attended college for a few years but quickly learned his passion and skills where using his hands. He has been self employed providing home improvement constructions services for nearly all of his working life. He has over 10 years experience building and installing glass block windows.

We have been featured in an article by Southwest Solutions with whom we provide glass block services for their housing solutions division. Motor City Match awarded us design services for the renovation of our recently purchased building. We were selected by Quicken Loans for their small business mural project.

Q3 : What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
Ans :
Raymond decided to contract himself out to install glass block windows. After about 6 months he realized he needed help. It’s very difficult for one person to run both the business and operational components.

He asked if I would be his partner and the journey began. When I researched the glass block industry, there weren’t a whole lot of competitors. There was also a large demand for them in Detroit because of the resurgence the city is going through and the rehabilitation of many many homes.

Q4 : What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Ans :
It takes time…

  1. Take the time to research your industry so that you know who your competitors are, what the latest trends are and how you can stand apart from the rest.
  2. Take the time to plan how you will accomplish your goals and set milestones so you know where you are in your journey.
  3. Take the time to make adjustments. If it’s not exactly as you planned it out, figure out why and make the necessary adjustments to get back on track.

Q5 : What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans :
The skills needed to be successful at anything are to:

  1. Do your very best at every single thing you do no matter how small
  2. Do what you say you will do when you say you will do it
  3. Stay motivated

Q6 : How many hours do you work a day on average?
Ans :
Glass Block Express is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week, we work an average of 10 hours each day.

Q7 : To what do you most attribute your success?
Ans :
Each partner has strong skills in their area of expertise. Raymond, glass block installation and me in business.

Q8 : How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Ans :
We use many of the “standard” marketing mediums; we have a website, a truck magnet and yard signs. Were listed on many apps such as Yelp, Yellow Pages on line and Google My Business. We are on social media; Facebook and Instagram. But what has been most successful for us has been passing out cards wherever we go. Every trip to a hardware store or Home Depot usually results in a customer.

Q9 : Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Ans :
Our initial capital came from us. I completed the ProsperUS entrepreneur training program where I learned to write a business plan and develop a business pitch. We were able to secure a microloan through ProsperUS for the purchase of our building.

Using the business materials and what I learned from the ProsperUS program, Motor City Match awarded us design services for the renovation of our recently purchased building.

Q10 : What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Ans :
Working smarter, not harder… I believe in establishing repeatable processes when you can and adjusting as needed.

Q11 : Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
Ans :
In 5 – 10 years we will be established in our building with more employees and be a known competitor in the glass block industry.

Recommended Questions –

Q1 : How important have good employees been to your success?
Ans :
As of right now, we are the good employees! Lol As we expand good employees will be very vital.

Q2 : How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
Ans :
You stick with your idea until you’ve vetted it completely and determined it’s not what you wanted to be OR until it becomes a burden that threatens your livelihood.

Q3 : How do you define success?
Ans :
Success is when your happy with the choices you’ve made and those choices have taken you to a more comfortable place in life. Be it money, being in control, less stress, etc.

Q4 : How do you build a successful customer base?
Ans :
Building a successful customer base comes from the same skills needed to be successful:

  1. Do your very best at every single thing you do no matter how small
  2. Do what you say you will do when you say you will do it

We’ve learned that customers don’t expect perfection they just want someone they can rely who will give them their best every time.

Q5 : What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Ans :
That feeling you get when you do a great job and you know it was all you! Not being dependent on someone else to decide if you get a raise or promotion. Being empowered to implement your great ideas and make your business exactly what YOU think it should be.

Optional Questions –

Q1 : How did you decide on the location for your business?
Ans :
Our companies goal for our physical location was to be in the area we work in. We live and work near the building we chose; we drive by it daily. It was the size we needed, in the area and rehabbing it would allow us to contribute to the improvement of our community by eliminating blight and beautifying the neighborhood.

Q2 : What book has inspired you the most? (OR what is your favorite book?)
Ans :
The Four Agreements

Contact Details:
Company Name: Glass Block Express
City: Detroit
State: MI
Zip Code: 48238
Tel No.: 313-286-4201
Email Id: sonjamccoy@glassblockexpress.com