Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with John Matthews, Founder and CEO of Gray Cat Enterprises, Inc., located in Raleigh, NC, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Gray Cat Enterprises is a firm specializing in retail consulting for multi-unit operations, interim general management, multi-departmental project management, and strategic management consulting. Clients range from Fortune 500 to multi-unit operators to small, start-up businesses.

Tell us about yourself

After a successful corporate career as the National Marketing Director for Little Caesars, Vice President of five divisions for Clark Retail Enterprises, a 1,400-store convenience store chain, and as President of Jimmy John's, I launched Gray Cat in 2004, tapping on those years of corporate experience. Gray Cat has been thriving for nearly two decades because I continue to make material differences with my clients, enabling them to grow. I am not a consultant who talks the talk - I actually walk the walk and get projects done.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Continually keep the hopper full of exciting clients and receiving ongoing recommendations for the work I have performed. I am very self-motivated to maintain Gray Cat as a thriving entity.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

You have to do everything from business development to implementing the work - all on time and on budget. There are very few shortcuts you can take when dealing with sophisticated clients - they hire "A" players to augment their staffs and expect Gray Cat to deliver.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Network, network, network. 95% of my business has been derived from relationships and being top-of-mind with prospects. While it is important to add value to your clients, equally important is who you know, and networking opens the doors to opportunities.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Prepare to work hard.

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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