If all the passion, hard work, time and energy you’ve thrust into starting a business is starting to pay off, then perhaps you’ve begun to think about taking that lone thriving business and adding another location. How do you know you’re ready? How do you go about making that next location open successfully?
“There are lots of uncertainties within business and you can’t let people’s feelings and emotions, their negativity psyche you out. Fight it,” says Marcus Antebi, owner of The Juice Press, a wildly popular organic, unpasteurized, fresh-pressed juice shop located in New York City. “If I listened to everyone who told me not to do something, I’d never have done anything. I’m always willing to lose it all to make it materialize.”
After recently opening his second Juice Press, Antebi is working on a third in the city and is in talks about two other locations. Although busy, he managed to slow down a second to share some tips on how to prove the naysayers wrong and get bigger without compromising the quality or integrity of the product or service.?? Here’s what he had to say:
1. Don’t micro-manage your businesses’ destiny
“A lot of people have a vision, an idea of how they want to grow,” says Antebi, who previously ran a successful skydiving business. “They say: ‘One day I’ll be 100 stores!’ Because I’ve already owned a successful first business, I was comfortable waiting a little and letting this one define itself. I wanted to be guided by it vs. guide it. I didn’t want to totally control every part of it. I’m someone who needs to open and then see what it is I’ve opened.”
2. Avoid being seduced by the hype or the “help”
The Juice Press has enjoyed a lot of media and Internet buzz early on. In turn that attracted many people eager to collaborate and suggest joining forces with Antebi and his company.?? “People with money wanted to work with me because they believed in it and used the product,” says Antebi. “They wanted me to put a juice bar in everything. But it was really people pitching me ideas to make them money, and leave me with too much work. These potential partners wanted me to do the heavy lifting while they make money. I look to partner with people who could contribute beyond money. That’s what I need contribution wise, not money but real presence labor and coverage. So I’ve kindly declined on a lot of people.”
3. Check out the local competition
See what they’re doing wrong, and do it better.? Last month Antebi opened his second Juice Press, located just 12 blocks away. Before he opened either shop though he studied already-existing models of the juice business to find the flaws in the competitors.?? The Juice Press has a page on its site called why we are the best, highlighting where they feel they outdo their competitors, in terms of price and machinery to organic and freshness.
4. If you want to be the best, you have to spend money on the best
Avoid hiring low-cost labor, and take time to get comfortable with a first shop before going full throttle to open the second, third and fourth. ??”If I have $20K that I spend in labor that I can do for $14K, I’m going to spend the $20K because I want to grow and be better than my competitors. I’m not looking to make money by cutting those kinds of costs. I don’t borrow or leverage. I’m not trying to figure out scalability. I spend money on the best produce and the best products. I have a working model. I have protocol. I have recipes that work. I understand all these problems and know how to work through them to keep my life manageable.”
The Juice Press also invested in expensive machinery—and the knowledge required to operate the machines.?? “We understand our juice machines better than the company who manufactures them,” says Antebi. “We train everyone to know how to take them apart, fix them and manipulate them.”
5. Be aware of larger trends
“Retail trends change every ten years,” says Antebi. ” Giant corporations like Whole Foods and Starbucks had their moment to come into the neighborhood. Now people are starting to see what they’ve lost, that people want cachet and niche. Now it’s what I call the ‘me pop shop’ like me moving it. This is someone who is smart enough to run a big corporation, but chooses to run a small corporation.”
6. Reassess your partnerships throughout the growing process
Work with people you trust. Especially with people you trust with your money.? “The key to having a partner is to pick one that is suitable for where you are at that precise time,” says Antebi. “You want the guy that you know will help you actually open the store vs. stick by you forever. The guys with the most to lose won’t be greedy. I’m not beholden to investors so I’m not required to have it all make sense for them on paper.”
7. Stick to your life philosophy not your business plan
“My philosophy has always been to work until it’s done,” says Antebi. “To me a business plan is a flight simulator. Nothing reflects the reality. Writing a business plan was good for the discipline, for committing, but the plan wasn’t right. I thought I needed $75K but it was $280K to open this first store. It’s all fiction until you do it. Now I’d say a 10-page summary of your philosophy is a much better guideline.”
8. Be savvy about where you open up your second shop
For Antebi that meant another Juice Press close to his first. His rationale was that he wanted a shop close enough to where he could manage logistics reasonably and quickly, but still far enough that it wouldn’t cannibalize sales from the first store.
“Just open it up and see,” says Antebi. “Everyone will tell you it’s a bad idea. Figure it out yourself.”
By: Marcus Antebi https://www.openforum.com