Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Armand Ferranti, President and Co-Founder of Draft Top, located in Chattanooga, TN, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Draft Top makes proprietary barware products designed to elevate the experience of drinking from beverage cans. Great quality drinks come in cans today, but no one enjoys drinking from them for two main reasons:
- You can’t taste what you can’t smell. So when the aluminum top blocks your sense of smell, it affects how you taste the beverage. This is why the same drink in a can taste different than the same drink in a glass.
- The small opening creates a vacuum when the can is tipped back, and this creates the aeration or “glugging” that makes you full.
Our customers are people from all walks of life in 50+ countries that enjoy being together with friends and family and who find themselves out and about without a glass to pour the drink into. Those not wanting to use single-use plastic cups when they are at the beach, by the pool, tailgating, or enjoying the outdoor places where cans are most prevalent.
Tell us about yourself
I’m 40 yrs old and a father of three. I’ve always wanted to be an inventor for a long as I can remember. After fourteen years in the corporate world as an Aerospace Insurance Underwriter, I decided to make the leap and pursue Draft Top full-time in 2020 when the business started to take off. For me, Draft Top was an opportunity to take a novel invention and scale it into a business that would allow me to pursue other inventions in the future. I’ve had a lot of ideas over the years, but pursuing some of them required a lot of upfront capital that I didn’t have. The ultimate goal would be to bring my energy ideas, recycling concepts, and other inventions to market in hopes of making the world a better place.
The thing that motivates me each day is leaving a legacy for my children and being able to pursue the passion of inventing full-time. The business of inventing is a whole other element that has to work; otherwise, the dream doesn’t continue. So, I take the approach of looking at day-to-day problems in business and solving them as though they were physical problems to overcome. Often, they are nowhere near problems in the physical world, but framing my mind that way motivates me to do what I do.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment has been to somehow convince an amazing group of people to join this team and do this business into a viable brand. Without the team of people in front of me, including each person that joined at the time they did, I wouldn’t be here to talk about this. It really does take a team to make something great.
A product is an idea or thing, but a team makes Draft Top a living entity or experience that customers buy into. Having the bandwidth to accomplish tasks on a day-to-day basis is one thing, but other opinions to keep yours in check are very important.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things as a business owner is that there is no instruction manual or rules to making your business a success. What works for one business won’t always work for another, and sometimes you must learn through experience as a way to test your hypothesis on certain subjects. In fact, learning through experience leaves such a deeper-rooted lesson (good or bad) that you can evolve the lesson into other areas of the business.
This methodology comes down to “acting” instead of “thinking,” and it’s the only way to do certain things in business. Trying to leave emotion out so that you can learn from the effort is just as hard. Perseverance and fortitude come from your ability to learn quickly and move forward, which is necessary to avoid repeating past mistakes and ultimately not surviving.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Ask questions – start with Google and then look to soak up information from anyone that has relevant experience that you could learn from.
- Take action – sometimes, you have to follow your gut even though your head is saying something else. Action is the only way you will truly know.
- Always look to learn – if your gut was wrong, learn from it so that you can avoid the same mistake again. Constantly learning is the only way that you can persevere through tough times.
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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