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Q 1.    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:    Fast Lane Clothing dba Tampa T Shirts is a full service Apparel Decorating business offering custom screenprinted and embroidered apparel and accessories at competitive prices.  We also can assist  with  art services and fulfillment to customers of all types. We help schools  restaurants, race directors, theme parks, and many trades such as lawn service, plumbing and air conditioning contractors and other corporations keep their staff looking good with easy orders and re-orders.We welcome customers  into our  showroom in East Tampa to see and feel the garments they choose, or try them on before purchasing apparel for their company.

Q 2.    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:    Started in 1985 by Lori Davis as a triathlon wear company, Fast Lane Clothing dba Tampa Tshirts has morphed into a full service custom apparel wholesaler. Voted by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce as the Small Business of the Year in 2006 for its achievements, Tampa T Shirts is one of the Tampa Bay area’s premier custom clothier.

Q 3.    What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)?

Ans:    9/11/2001

Q 4.    How did the idea for your business come about?

Ans:    Out of a need for better clothing for business.

Q 5.    What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Ans:    1.  Budget your time and your money.

2.  Always Stand behind your product or service.

3.  Pay your employees and vendors before you pay yourself.

Q 6.    What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Ans:    1.  Organizational Skills such as money management.

2. Patience with others.

3. The ability to make decisions in a timely manner.

Q 7.    How many hours do you work a day on average? 2-3.

Ans:    I don’t think this is relevant at this point in our business.

Q 8.    To what do you most attribute your success?

Ans:    A good bank.

Q 9.    How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?

Ans:    Word of mouth and the internet have been the most successful form of marketing. A good web site is essential.

Q 10.    Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it?

Ans:    How did you obtain investors for your venture? No investors. Saved money and borrowed from a traditional bank when needed.

Q 11.    What is the best way to achieve long-term success?

Ans:    There is no best way. There are many good ways. Take care of your customers and manage your money.

Q 12.    Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?

Ans:    Serving the Tampa Bay area in a larger capacity.

Q 13.    Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?

Ans:    Either the Columbia Restaurant Group, Richard Gonzmart’s business or Fintech, Scott Riley’s company.

Q 14    How important have good employees been to your success?

Ans:    Extremely important. We could not do what we do without them.

Q 15.    How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?

Ans:    Until it proves to be a failure.

Q 16.    What motivates you?

Ans:    The joy of giving and the smiles on happy customer’s faces when they see their custom apparel. What really motivates me is  the idea that an honest entrepreneur can help society by creating value, employing people and solving problems.

Q 17.    How do you generate new ideas?

Ans:    By looking around you all the time and by visiting other businesses.

Q 18.    How do you define success?

Ans:    If you are truly happy, you are successful. Also, if paying your bills doesn’t hurt.

Q 19.    How do you build a successful customer base?

Ans:    By doing what you say you will do.

Q 20.    What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

Ans:    Meeting people from all kinds of businesses in the local community.

Q 21.    What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

Ans:    Either when our second building was paid off, or we landed SeaWorld as an account. It’s a tie.

Q 22.    What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?

Ans:    The satisfaction of creating jobs and trying to lift others out of what some would consider poverty.

Q 23.    What kind of culture exists in your organization?

Ans:    A culture of just do what it takes to satisfy the customer and get the job done.  How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture? We established this tone so people would be free to do their jobs without being micromanagers. This type of culture was  instituted so that we could work on the business rather than working in the business.

Q 24.    If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?

Ans:    I would have studied accounting or business in college.

Q 25.    How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?

Ans:    It has been great for family life as we could always be there for the kid’s events, and take family vacations together.

Q 26.    What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?

Ans:    Unhappy customers are my greatest fear. I manage that by doing everything possible to make them happy and keep them coming back to our business.

Q 27.    How did you decide on the location for your business?

Ans:    The City of Tampa had a program where they were re-developing an area of town and offered us a fantastic deal. Previously we picked a location as we were able to purchase a foreclosed property in an industrial area of town.

Q 28.    Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?

Ans:    Yes, do the right thing and treat customers, vendors and employees as if they were you.

Q 29.    If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?

Ans:    George Washington.  He was the first to run our country, so he had to create a plan and hire people to help him achieve his vision.

Q 30.    Who has been your greatest inspiration?

Ans:    My father.

Q 31.    What book has inspired you the most? (OR what is your favorite book?)

Ans:    I do not like business books.  I never can really get through the whole book. They may have good ideas but most of the ones I have started to read are just kind of dull.

Q 32.    What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?

Ans:    Spending a lot of money on fancy catalogs to market product, or forgetting to pay a patent fee and having the patent expire prematurely.

Q 33.    How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?

Ans:    Check and double check your work. And if it is your mistake, than fix it free of charge.

Q 34.    What are your hobbies?

Ans:    Paddleboarding, cycling, skiing, swimming, boating, and gardening. What do you do in your non-work time? Those things.

Q 35.    What makes you happy?

Ans:    Friends, wine, and money in the bank.

Q 36.    What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?

Ans:    Mostly time. I had to give up some fun invitations because something or someone at work needed my attention.

 

Company Address:
Tampa T-Shirts
5112 N. 22nd Street
Tampa, FL 33610
Local: (813) 534-5999
Fax: (813) 871-2035
www.tampatshirts.com

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