Q. 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.
A. Restaurant eSolutions is a website technology company based in Alexandria, Virginia that works exclusively with restaurants. We offer 100% mobile-ready (responsive) website designs to restaurants throughout the U.S. and Canada. We also offer online ordering and online table reservation systems to restaurants that want to offer these services to their customers. And all of our offerings are available with no upfront fees and no long term contracts.
Q. Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
A. I am a former CFO and finance executive of a software and products company that worked on contracts within the Dept. of Defense as well as in the intelligence community. I also served as a controller and administrator of a cancer treatment center, and I was the CFO of a chain of retail outpatient clinics. I have a BS in Finance from the University of Tennessee and have complete graduate coursework in economics, finance, and accounting.
Q. 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?
A. My partner and I started Restaurant eSolutions because we recognized that independent (non-chain, non-franchise) restaurants have a real need for a strong web presence so they can compete within their marketplaces, and that need was not being met very well or at competitive price points. We also recognized that the size of the market was fairly substantial and that a single platform could be built to serve a large segment of the market and provide a much more comprehensive and competitive solution to restaurants.
Q. What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
A. Find opportunities that will solve problems and create value for your prospective customers; understand your market to ensure that there will be demand for your products or services; develop a solid business and marketing plan to ensure that you can reach your target market and make a profit.
Q. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
A. Ability to recognize and analyze an opportunity; ability to develop a solid business plan; ability to execute that plan.
Q. How many hours do you work a day on average?
A. 8-12 hours/day
Q. To what do you most attribute your success?
A. Hard work, good decision-making, and learning from past mistakes.
Q. How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
A. We’re constantly looking for new ways to reach our target clients, but we started off with search engine advertising because it provides a fast entrance into a market, and it also generates great metrics that we can analyze to better understand our clients and their needs. We’ve also started an SEO campaign, a print media campaign, and we plan to implement email and direct mail campaigns in the coming weeks.
Q. Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
A. So far, 100% of our start-up capital has been self-funded. Now that we have a functioning product and several clients onboard, we will explore bringing in some private equity to help take the business to the next level.
Q. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
A. Work smart, work hard, follow proven business methodologies, and constantly search-out new opportunities
Q. Where do you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
A. Restaurant eSolutions will be one of the top providers of website and online ordering solutions to the restaurant industry in both the U.S. and Canada. We’ll have several thousand clients, 8-10 employees at our corporate office and sales consultants in all major metropolitan areas.
Q. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
A. Amazon because they have managed to achieve incredible growth by continuing to find innovative ways to bring greater value to their customers.
Q. How important have good employees been to your success?
A. So far, we have not hired any internal employees. My partner and I have done everything ourselves along with the help of several outside contractors. But we are getting to the point where we need to starting hiring staff, and it will be critical to bring on competent people. Having good employees is extremely important to achieving success.
Q. How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
A. I’ll stick with an idea until I’m convinced that it will not be productive.
Q. What motivates you?
A. Helping others, solving problems, creating value, and improving processes.
Q. What are your ideals?
A. I want to provide the best possible solution to our clients. I always want to be 100% ethical. I want to treat people fairly. I want to lead by example. Also, I’m a perfectionist, so I always try to do thing right the first time.
Q. How do you generate new ideas?
A. I find that if I read and stay up to date on technology and current events, the ideas just come to me. Of course I have to consciously be looking for new opportunities at all times.