Tomorrow marks a significant milestone for Delysia. Last July, I moved into the Delysia Chocolate Culinary Center and started using it as my main space for handcrafting chocolates. I had already been in business more than five years, and Delysia was steadily growing. But opening the center was like launching a brand new business all over again.
The anniversary reminded me of a recent interview I did for a local student. They were conducting research for a project on what it’s like to be an entrepreneur and what it takes to be successful. The main topic of conversation was on how to build a brand that sustains the test of time and prospers. The discussion made me reflect on how far I’ve come in less than seven years and how much I still have to learn.
Operating the Delysia business location makes me feel like a start up again. I’m exploring a whole new side of my business. Opening the center was the next step in growing the Delysia brand and the team that’s behind it. There are new challenges and triumphs every day. I’m constantly innovating, problem solving and improving in order to move my business forward.
As exciting as it has been, being an entrepreneur is extremely hard work that requires sleepless nights and the willpower to keep going no matter how physically exhausted you become. You have to know every aspect of the business even when you have employees and service providers to handle some of the workload. Entrepreneurship requires expertise on so many levels. You never know when you’ll have to jump in and take care of a task that has to get done.
To be honest only about 20% of my time is now spent actually making chocolate. Creating proposals, marketing, dealing with vendors, invoicing – there are so many more facets that go into my business besides inventing new chocolate confections. But it’s worth the late nights and long hours that are needed to grow the business because I love owning Delysia Chocolatier.
As we continue to expand, I find myself looking to other local brands, like Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Amy’s Ice Cream and Kendra Scott, that have made a lasting name for themselves. Sharing start up experiences and learning the stories behind other businesses is so beneficial for me. So many small business owners state that the key to success is finding loyal employees that believe in and are passionate about the brand. Some of the most iconic Austin small businesses have people that have been with the company for 15+ years.
That kind of loyalty is what builds a reliable and consistent brand. It allows the entrepreneur to do what they do best – innovate!
This month, I’m practicing an open door policy. I’ll be answering your questions and taking suggestions on what you think a small business owner should do to successfully build brand awareness. During this period of growth the biggest question is, how do you find such loyal people to help you grow?
Share your questions, thoughts, notes and comments with us if you are a small business owner or one of those loyal workers that have helped build a brand from a small business to an Austin institution!