Ben runs a successful frozen yogurt franchise called Yogolicious, but today he took a few minutes to take our Entrepreneur Q&A. It’s another chance to pick the brains of a small business owner and compare his answers to the other talented entrepreneurs on our site. There’s mobile ad disruptors Nick Hatter and Yunha Kim, the surfing CEO James Kitchener and Dragons Den entrant Jake Hayman.
Takea few minutes to listen to Ben in this interview, or if you’d rather read it the full transcript can be found below:
What was your first ever business idea?
I think it involved my three sisters making bracelets and me selling them in our neighbourhood. One of the perks of having sisters.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
I always was interested in new business ideas and being independent. I believe many people have great business ideas but lack the motivation to realise them. I decided to start my own business because I wanted the challenge, and the success that follows. I also felt like I needed to prove it to myself.
How do you identify a real business opportunity?
I use two simple ways of thinking to identify business opportunities. One is copy paste, introducing successful products and services into new markets, and the second is by imagining the world in 5 years time. Where are we heading and why? If you can answer those two questions you can create a business that will be involved in the change.
What skill or ability is most important for an entrepreneur and why?
Believing in yourself and willing to sacrifice a lot to realise your dream. No pain no gain. After my first failed attempt it took me several years to find the confidence and strength to try it again. I am really happy I did.
You know someone who wants to start a business but fears leaving their job. What do you say to them?
I say keep your job and find a way to launch your business anyway. That’s what I did. I knew that having a steady income will give me a better chance of succeeding and therefore I partnered up with an ex-colleague who didn’t have a job at the time. Together we managed to pull it of and having the extra cash flow was helpful. I quit my job one year after opening.
Are there people who start a business for the wrong reasons?
For sure. If you’re thinking money, independence, free time and less responsibility, don’t go for it. My girlfriend and I joke that having a business is like having a baby. It’s a long-term commitment and it involves a lot of sacrifice and giving.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned?
Believe in yourself and don’t stop believing in yourself. Go BIG or go home. You are about to invest a lot of your time, energy and money. Don’t do it half measured. Dive in there and give it all you’ve got. Be cautious when choosing partners. You need to be able to work like a team and everyone has to have their right place in that team.
Can you recommend any books or resources that helped you along the way?
One book that inspired me years ago was Rich Dad Poor Dad. It was fun to read and it gave me an important life lesson. Always spend less than you earn and keep re-investing those savings until you’re free. Additionally I would recommend staying in touch with all your savvy friends for they are the best source of knowledge and inspiration.
What’s the best part of your job?
Being my own boss. Having the flexibility to schedule my days as I see fit and having more time to do the things I love. Having said that, we just signed our 2nd shop opening in France and a tsunami of work is heading our way.
What’s your biggest fear?
Not growing anymore. I mean that in every sense. Not growing as a business (revenues, clients, products, shop openings etc.) but more importantly not growing as a person. The thought of having peaked scares me.