It was always a lifelong dream to have his own business, and after two years of sweat equity in his role as CEO of the Social and Savings Club, he felt he was ready to successfully operate his own business. He had visions of rooms filled with friendly conversation, music, and the laughter of people basking in the ambiance off much needed lounge, targeting a more mature crowd. He was well on his way to becoming an Entrepreneur. His company’s name exemplifies his target market, “Grown & Sexy Lounge. This establishment is an entertainment lounge where adults can socialize and co-mingle in a safe and relaxing environment.
Before opening the lounge Jonathan was the CEO, of a Social and Savings Club, which was successful for two years, and in that ole he learned that charging a ten dollar ($10) cover charge, along with hosting events was an attractive idea. He had a passion for the business, and he enjoyed the combination Of nightlife, business, and hospitality. Jonathan fulfilled all four of the primary characteristics of becoming an Entrepreneur: Passion for the business, Product/Customer focus, Tenacity despite failure, and Execution Intelligence.
Questions ensued, what type of start-up firm he would pursue? His business would come under Lifestyle firms, firms that provide their owner the opportunity to pursue a particular lifestyle, and make living at it. His decision was made, he had his business ideas, he was moving from a desire or idea, to an actual entrepreneurial firm. Jonathan researched the target market and decided he would target the twenty-five year and older crowd. This would be his niche market. He started to work on a financial feasibility analysis which gave him a clear concept of his startup cost.
He factored in the cost of a business license, dance license, food permits, alcohol license and location costs, rent, equipment, beginning inventory’, utilities and payroll. He now had a clear understanding of how such it would take to get started. The startup cost ranged from $8,000- $1 0,000 for a small club. He created a solid business plan that would give him a strong advantage and a written narrative that would help describe what he intended to accomplish, and how he intended to accomplish it. When he started his business plan he had several sections he wanted to focus on.
The Industry Analysis – this assessment gave him an overall appeal Of the industry and the target market for the service he wanted to provide with the night club industry. He saw his location and was ready to get started. Challenges Ahead In spite of Jonathans experience and business plan, he faced the same challenges that many startup companies have faced, funding. After being denied by the bank and told that they only wanted to handle expansion loans not startups, he didn’t let that deter his plan. The seed money he needed to get his business started wouldn’t come from the bank.
He worked harder, “bootstrapping” -? using creativity, ingenuity, or any means possible to obtain resources other than borrowing money or raising capital from traditional sources. He used: personal funds, and reached out to friends and family to invest. After raising enough money to start the new business, he faced more obstacles. He now had to deal with the City Council Representative in his assigned area, along with building neighborhood awareness. After three long meetings, Jonathan received the okay to start his business on May 5, 2012.
He had to obtain licenses such as: dance license, food permits, and an alcohol license from the Alabama Beverage Control Board (BBC). He worked hard to pull what he needed together. Competitors There was lot of competition in the city, so his first step would be to establish ho his competitors were. Jonathan started working on the competitor analysis section of his business plan which gave him a detailed evaluation of his competitors. He visited some of his competitors like: Airport Lounge, Lounge, J G’s Lounge, Marianne Lounge, Steel City Lounge and plum Bar & Lounge.
In doing so, he was able to determine how different he wanted his club to be. He would buy the building, which would give him ownership of the building instead of leasing it like the competition. He wanted to stand out from the competition, his establishment would not be just a typical lounge here people gathered on the weekends, but during the week as well. He would also allow his venue to be used for special occasions and private functions as well. Marketing Once the lounge opened it was a great undertaking.
Jonathan, along with his family and friends worked very hard to promote his establishment. He would now decide on his marketing mix. This was done with Flyers, word of mouth, social media, and a website that was created for the lounge. He enticed his clientele from the Social and Savings Club and welcomed suggestions from them. The owner learned to do a market analysis on drink ricers and came up with specials for every day that the venue was open. Financial Analysis & Expectations The Grown & Sexy Lounge has been overwhelmingly positive. We are now starting to make profits from our business, and see some success”, Jonathan Gizzard stated. “We are currently planning renovations and hope to expand our business. ” He emphasized his desire to create a community around the space, a community that is welcoming and appreciates the venue, fine drinks and the pleasure of company. Future plans of growth is to do a complete renovation of the old historic building we currently own, restore the lounge, AR, and outside cosmetic work. Mr.. Gizzard plans to renovate his building to attract the target market to bring the desired revenue.
While interviewing Mr.. Gizzard We asked Mr.. Gizzard such questions as: What drives you to go to work daily? -“The love of what do, it encourages others to achieve their goals, and desire to create a legacy for my children to build on if they so choose. ” What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur? – “Sacrifices made was using my ovum personal funds as start-up cash and spending time with my family and spending long hours promoting my equines” What would say are the five key elements for starting and keeping your business successful? (1 ) Having a vision, (2) Developing a plan to obtain the business that follows your vision, (3) Know who your customers are, (4) Surround yourself with people that will help fulfill your vision and (5) Grow your business – continually strive to make it better”. If you could go back in time and make an alternate business decision, what would it be and why? -? An Alternate business decision would have been to buy the entire block that surrounds the current establishment. We would own each building and could have multiple venues now.
What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them? – “Failures in pricing, we realized we had to have reasonable prices to attract a crowd, another failure we added a pool table that really didn’t make any money. Failures give you information on what not to do and how it could have been done differently’. What has been your most satisfying moment in business? – “The Most satisfying moment is when profit was actually earned in the last year, the fruits of the seeds planted were coming forth. ” Exit Strategy As part of the exit strategy the owner wants to invest in opening another
Lounge/Karaoke Bar/ featuring Neo-Soul and live jazz bands and he plans to leave these establishments to his children for future income and or legacy. Conclusion Through the interview, Mr.. Gizzard was able to show the motivation behind the starting up of the business and the reason for choosing the particular line of business. The interview also reveals how the initial capital was raised and the challenges encountered while raising the capital. Mr.. Gizzard also managed to discuss the marketing strategies that were used and the general challenges that the business faces. As the interview ends, Mr..