Last week, Savor founder Angela Jia Kim hosted an exclusive Masterclass Series for Savor Success Circle members. This past month, members had the opportunity to be mentored by 7-Figure Circle member AdreAnne Tesene, founder of Two Bostons. They talk about AdreAnne’s first store, first hire, and first million.
In this two-part series, we share a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the lessons she shared.
Angela: AdreAnne, thanks for joining this national member call today. Congratulations on just recently opening your fourth brick-and-mortar location in Illinois and on your twelfth year in business!
Let’s get started by going back. How did you and your husband decide to launch Two Bostons? What possessed you to open your first brick-and-mortar?
“We need to do this or we need to stop talking about it.”
AdreAnne: Honestly, our rescue Boston Terriers sparked this passion for us. We started talking about this idea nonstop for a year and a half. It was an obsession we had!
We talked about it at dinner, had binders full of ideas, went to trade shows. I reached a point where I just felt like “We need to do this or we need to stop talking about it.”
So Andy was out of town for work, for his ‘real job’ as I like to call it, and I found a spot.
I told him “Don’t go home, come into downtown Naperville, I found it.” We had a lease signed later that week.
Angela: You’re not messing around!
AdreAnne: I don’t mess around with a whole lot of stuff.
Angela: Are you the type of launcher who goes by the book with a really structured business plan, or are you more like me, more fire then aim?
AdreAnne: I’m normally a quick start, so I’m a little surprised at myself that we planned for a year and half. Usually I’m someone who is like, “I have this idea, so let’s try it. If it doesn’t work out, we can make another decision later.”
“Sometimes you just have that gut feeling and you have to do it.”
Our first store worked because we had the passion for it, and took the time to educate ourselves on what we needed to do. Sometimes you just have that gut feeling and you have to do it.
We asked ourselves, “Why not? What was a good reason to hold us back?” and there wasn’t a whole lot holding us back. I think that’s common among entrepreneurs. Otherwise you can get paralyzed, thinking about it too much!
Angela: That’s really the beauty of being an entrepreneur! What are your most important lessons learned that catapulted you to your first million?
AdreAnne: Know when you need help! Especially when you reach that level of growth in your business, it is so important to be clear on what you need, and getting that help.
Here are the three things that I focused on to get to my first million.
1. Build a team that you trust.
When we first opened Two Bostons, I was doing it all. I was baking dog treats, running to the post office to send orders, and meeting customers. Until… I literally fell asleep on the sales floor. My husband walked in, and realized it was time to get our first hire. I couldn’t physically afford NOT to hire someone.
Neither Andy nor I had any sort of retail background. We didn’t even fold shirts at the Gap growing up. So when we started hiring and building our team, we had to really trust our instincts.
Every initial step we asked ourselves:
- How do our customers want to be treated?
- How do our team members want to be treated?
- What makes sense?
“How do we set up people to have success and to shine, even when we’re not there?”
Our top priority was to respect our customers and team members as people.
2. Define your core values.
About two years ago, we had a lot of turnover with our team. This is so costly in any industry, and we had a rigorous 60-hour training period too. We concluded we were not hiring appropriately.
So we went back to the drawing board, and clarified our core values. You really need to showcase your expectations and values to attract like-minded people who you can trust to represent you and your business.
“If something is not in alignment with your core value, don’t do it.”
I do a team member pledge with every single new hire. If something is important to you, get it down on paper and have your team members sign off on it. In fact, the third and final interview is always with me, and my goal is to determine if they are the right fit based on our core values.
If you aren’t sure about what your core values are, ask yourself some of these questions:
- What’s important to you and what do you exhibit as a business?
- What do you want to be known for?
- What do your business neighbors say about you?
- What do your customers say about you?
- What do you want them to say about you?
If the answers are something you don’t want to hear, there are other things you need to work on!
3. Turn your weakness into your greatest strength.
In 2008, we signed our second lease for a new location, and we signed a third lease planning to move our first store. At the time, we didn’t have our act together with operations like we do now. We were definitely flying by the seat of our pants; I was buying Red Bull by the case at Costco.
We were really lucky that we had a good reputation and that second store took off like it did. I attribute our customer loyalty to our amazing team.
Going through those pain points and pinch points made us realize we need to take some time to organize our thoughts and ourselves. From that experience, we have taken the time to really analyze and improve, and now we have one of the most operationally strong businesses in our industry.
The 7-Figure Circle mentors Savor Life Summit attendees.
Identifying your weakness is the first step. Don’t let it become your blocker.
- Accept that others know more than you do! Be open to getting help.
- Follow through and implement the solution.
- Build this new mindset or process into your core operations.
- Train your team, if applicable.
Angela: That’s something I’ve noticed in my years of studying success. Successful people often take a perceived weakness and often become known as that being their greatest strength. Every obstacle is an opportunity.
Tune in next week to learn about AdreAnne’s tips on how to deal with a competitor that launches in your space, along with the mindset habits she adopted to grow her business to the multi-million dollar mark.
AdreAnne at Savor Life Summit 2016 closing Pink and White Party!
This is a 2-part Masterclass Series featuring AdreAnne Tesene and her journey to a million and beyond with Two Bostons. Stay tuned for Part II of this feature.
You can follow Two Bostons on Facebook, and meet AdreAnne at Savor Life Summit this October 16-17 in Saugerties, NY!