Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in consulting but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Patsy Ramirez-Arroyo, owner and founder of Homera, located in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Homera is a firm that focuses on brand representation, consulting, and investing. We represent leading brands in the organic, natural and plant based industry throughout the Caribbean, Central & South America. Some of our leading brands are Bob's Red Mill, Amy's Kitchen, Food For Life, Alpha Foods, Field Roast, Light Life, Catalina Crunch, Wingman, Omni Foods, Tasty Smart, among others.
Due to the size and scope of the region, we maintain a limited portfolio of limited brands so that we can provide the highest quality service to our manufacturer partners and customers. Our customers are the food manufacturing companies that we represent, and on the other hand retailers & distributors who will bring our brands in different countries.
We are the liaison between manufacturers and how to reach the final customer. As consultants we go in depth to analyze each market and opportunity for companies that are interested in entering into our markets.
We also work on other food related issues, such as food waste, which is a growing concern and there is a lot of work to be done from all regions. As investors we believe in the growth of the plant based category and have investments in selective brands to help them achieve the next level.
Tell us about yourself
I started Homera with my business partner Robert Hoffman in 2003. We both come from the food industry working in marketing & sales with leading brands. We saw an opportunity in a "new" segment of the food industry with natural and organic products, and decided to pursue it. We started working only in Puerto Rico and eventually it developed to the Caribbean, and later Central & South America.
We get motivated by seeing the growth and innovation in our industry. For example plant based products are growing 2 times faster than overall food products, and the innovation is incredible. As investors in the industry it is very rewarding participating in a category who is bringing new alternatives and a positive change to many issues such as climate change.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
We are very proud of being recognized as leading voices in the region for the categories that we work with, but that we also have professional integrity. People can trust that we will be diligent and transparent. We have no hidden agendas and always work with the best interests of our product lines in mind. We have opened and developed new markets for a number of product lines and done so in a way that assures long term growth.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
A business owner of a small company has to wear many hats and needs to be able to adjust on the fly. Many do not have an HR, IT, or accounting department, so our time focusing on the core aspects of the business can be limited compared to a large corporation. It is also extremely challenging working with other companies and people who do not hold to the same professional standards.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- You need to have a passion for whatever industry you are getting into and maintain this passion as you create your strategies and put them into action.
- You have to know your strengths and weaknesses. This way you can look for help or guidance in the areas in which you are not that strong.
- Do your homework and understand the market you are going to be entering, who is your potential customer, your competition, niches, etc. Never stop looking for information. This is an ongoing process of learning and getting the information at the proper moment so can be used to your benefit.
Anything else you'd like to share?
Keep an active network of people where you just share thoughts and information. Even if they are not strictly in your area of business, for example in our case food industry, but we share information and have healthy talk with peers about industries such as finance, manufacturing, communications to keep an open scope and always be learning.
Where can people find you and your business?
Twitter (Company): https://twitter.com/homeracaribbean
Twitter (Personal): https://twitter.com/patsy_317
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur 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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