Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage, but not sure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Niki Tsourounakis, the founder of Bar Neon, Cafe Neon, Neon Commissary, and Blue Collar Bakery, a group of restaurants in Toronto, Canada.
Tell us all about your business...
We are in the hospitality business! We are a group of food & experience lovers and we spend all day creating delicious food items from scratch and curate experiences so our guests can enjoy good food and great atmospheres at whichever location they end up! We think that each experience should feel like you have entered our home and we are treating you to something special.
What's your background and motivation to grow as a business owner?
I grew up in the restaurant business and fell in love with giving our guests a great experience and being able to share a bit of my Greek culture with them. With a passion for good food, and glenti, (a greek term for party, or good time) it was an easy decision to spend my life creating great experiences for people. I love walking into one of my spaces, and feeling the energy of a perfectly orchestrated evening. There is nothing better than seeing the smiles on people's faces, having a great time.
As an entrepreneur, what does success ultimately mean to you?
Being able to turn my passion into a viable business, especially through this COVID-19 pandemic, and employing 50+ people in an environment that I am proud of, with the values we adhere to, is my biggest accomplishment. Also, passing the ten year mark in business was a big accomplishment for me as well.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being an entrepreneur?
The hardest thing about being a business owner would be the many different challenges that you face each day. They go well beyond any single expertise and requires patience, the need to constantly educate yourself and evolve, and it requires resilience as every day is quite different from the next. I don't think there is a school I could have gone to in order to have properly prepared for all the different challenges I have gone through in the last decade!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run or grow a small business today?
1. You must love what you do. In the beginning stages, you will wake up thinking about your business, and go to bed thinking about it, so you best love it!
2. People first. Always remember to treat people the way you want to be treated, because you cannot build a great business alone.
3. Take the time to step away sometimes. You need the mental space to be able to see your business clearly, and to be re-inspired. Growth will never happen if you are always stuck in the trenches.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Never be satisfied. There is always room to be better, and do better. And stay humble!
Where can people find you online?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as an entrepreneur or business coach that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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