Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food & beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Andrew Arbogast, Founder of Arbogast Foods, LLC., located in Memphis, TN, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Arbo's Cheese Dip is a food manufacturing company focused on B2B CPG sales via regional/national grocery retailers. Current customers include Kroger and H-E-B/Central Market.
Tell us about yourself
It's anyone's dream: finding something that brings happiness and fulfillment and turning that into a revenue stream. At 37 years old, I was dissatisfied with my corporate job of four years after leaving the Army as an Apache helicopter pilot for 10 years. I love food and people; bringing those two together was my way of living happily, so I started a business to sell my dad's cheese dip, a recipe he had crafted for 30 years.
Five months after starting my LLC, I sold thousands of products through local grocery stores, gaining the attention of national distributors/retailers. The motivation that carries me needs to make the most of my life and demonstrate to my children that hard work and calculated risk can lead to financial freedom. A way to free your time to help others be successful.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment has to be getting into 100 Kroger stores in 5 states, only one year after I started selling Arbo's.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Accountability. The pressure to succeed and setting expectations for yourself bring unimaginable stress. However, that pushes me to do my best and accept what I can and cannot control. There are just as many bad days as good, but the bad days help you grow as a person, business owner, and leader.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- I started my business during a pandemic, my wife was pregnant, we just moved, and I quit my job. There will never be a "perfect" time to start your business, but realize that each day that passes is wasted due to your fear of failure and just go for it.
- Give yourself some grace. You will make mistakes in judgment and cost, but you will always learn from them and try not to repeat the same error. Trust your gut instinct; if it feels terrible, it probably is.
- Outsource, outsource, outsource. If you need the capital, find an extra source of income to help you build a cushion and pay for services that are not value-added to your business. I am a one-person operation, but my product is sold in almost ten states through hundreds of stores because I had a vision of growing into a national brand quickly. This is only possible if I were to execute the manufacturing, operations, logistics, finances, marketing, and, most importantly, sales.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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