Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Frank Chen, co-founder of Sumer Inc., servicing in Downtown Toronto & Scarborough, Canada.

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

We are a 15-minute grocery delivery company. We provide fresh and local groceries with only $1.99 of delivery charge and no minimum purchase required. Our vision is to allow customers to get fresh groceries on-demand and experience convenience they've never felt before. We are serving mostly business professionals and University students at the moment.

Tell us about yourself

I used to live in the residence of our University, and getting groceries has always been a struggle. Other grocery delivery options are either too expensive or take too long to arrive. My co-founder Mohammed I wants to solve these issues by creating a fast and affordable grocery delivery service to our fellow students who are living at the residence. Soon enough, a lot of the residence students started to use our service. We've received great feedback, and to be able to help people who shared the same struggle as us, and seeing their happy faces, kept us going every single day. Customer happiness is the core of our business; we believe that everything we do revolves around providing the best experience to the users.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

The greatest accomplishment so far is to have such an amazing group of customers that love and share our business. We are really proud to be able to help them and make their life just a little easier.

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

Recruit and work with an all-star team. It took us a really long time to find the right people that share the same mindset and convictions as us. It always revolves around people when it comes to doing great work, and it's not easy to find the right one, especially for a start-up. One other thing is to understand and accept that a lot of the start-up mentalities or methods sometimes are the opposite of what we think is normal. For example, getting and minimum viable product(MVP) to the market and getting users to try it and get feedback immediately. The MVP are usually very uncomfortable to share with others because it's not perfect. We have to fight against our brain to really understand: Do customers really know what I'm building?

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

  1. Build something that people want. This is the slogan from Y-Combinator. Always have that in mind when you start a business. At the end of the day, business needs users, and business needs to make a profit from those users. It's easy to build what you want, but it takes effort, and continuous learning and iterations to find out what customers really want. The only way to do that is to launch your products and get feedbacks from the real users. Don't spend too much time building a perfect, great-looking product; get it in front of users, and let them tell you what to build next.
  2. Failure is great. The greatest fear for humans is the fear of failures and rejections. In a start-up, failure is good. Failure gives you the most learnings and reflections on what went wrong. That is the golden gem that can lead you to getting closer to building what customer wants. Start to have a different perspective on things that did not work out, look at that as a great learning, and don't let it get the best of you. Use that learning to continue to improve; it might take 1 try, 2 tries, or even 10 tries to get it right, but every time that it doesn't work out, you are a step closer.
  3. Do what you love. It is easy to give up on what you do not enjoy doing. Convince yourself first when you decided to start a business. Do you believe that the product/service that you are providing is useful? Do you enjoy building the business? Are you passionate about it? If you love what you do, you will never give up, and the prize is for those who stay until the last minutes of the game.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Pre-heat your oven, we will be there soon.

Where can people find you and your business?

Sumer Inc. | Linktree
Linktree. Make your link do more.

If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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