An Interview with an Entrepreneur BY YOU YOUR SCHOOL INFO HERE HERE An Interview with an Entrepreneur Mr. Gregory is a local business owner of a single internet café. The company operates in a diverse local market, offering a variety of different products and services. The café buys a variety of coffee and other beverages, which are maintained by an in-house barista that has multiple responsibilities that include cleaning, servicing, beverage production, and assistant manager duties. A variety of baked goods are produced in-house; desserts are purchased from local and national suppliers.
The company also has a beer and wine license, maintaining a small supply of these products on tap and bottled. The café is a sole proprietorship managed by Mr. Gregory and his wife, who performs some of the cooking processes and accounting work. The owner recognized that there were currently no Internet cafes in the area and many of the local taverns have dedicated crowds that do not fit all lifestyles. He recognized the potential mass market appeal of providing a diverse selection of products and light alcoholic products with the possibility to access the internet in a quiet and highly social environment.
Establishment of the business involved negotiations with a commercial real estate owner for leasing, with contracted elements allowing for self-managed modification of the facilities. Financing was procured through a local credit union, where Mr. Gregory has been a customer for over 15 years, and through personal investment from savings and investments. The entrepreneur had always wanted to manage his own small business, and his wife’s recent retirement made it possible for him both to manage and operate the café.
Mr. Gregory indicated that the main benefit of sole proprietorship was the ease of adhering to the tax structure. He suggested that it also made it easier to terminate the business in the event that it is not profitable or difficult to manage. The main disadvantage was that it put too much costs into the marketing function, making him wish he had selected a franchise, since the parent company usually provides free promotional materials with each campaign. The owner believes strongly in ethical behavior and responsibility, donating unsold food to the local shelters and agencies.
He believes that social responsibility gains new business opportunities and consumer interest, especially when it is publicized in media. Since he is the only internet café, there is virtually no competition. The economic environment, he believes, is favorable to business owners with more credit availability than in recent years. The technological environment is supported by advances in wireless internet and a POS system that manages sales and services for better stock ordering. According to Mr. Gregory, his local position and ensuring that individuals show identification to confirm they are twenty-one has not led to any legal or global challenges.
Gaining new market potential involves newspaper advertising, direct mailing, and a sign-up form in the café for internet and mobile device coupons during special promotions. This has been a key to success, as he tracks return of coupon codes and mailers, and there is major interest. The rewards of the business are flexible operating hours and a closer relationship with his spouse, with a major challenge being maintenance of dessert quality for highly-perishable products.
If he had had to do it all over again, Mr. Gregory was firm that he would have eliminated the beer and wine license, since often there is waste in various wine selections after being opened. Many times he has witnessed young people trying to drink their older friends’ drinks, which made it difficult to monitor social activities.