Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Travis Binns, owner of Over The Top Burger Bar, located in Buford, GA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Our business is Americana. Who doesn't like a burger and a shake? Who doesn't like a great draft or a well-mixed cocktail? Who doesn't like to break bread amongst friends while simultaneously listening to great music? Who doesn't want to be Over The Top? Jokes and judgment aside, operations are all we have ever known. Our greatest joy is meeting our clientele, constantly drumming up a new business, and learning each patron's back story while they enjoy our crazy product. It is a high for us unlike any other.
Tell us about yourself
I was tired of getting fired. As you can tell, humor is something we use on a daily basis. I always had ideas to go outside the boundaries, to test the limits, and to question what was always known as "That's just the way it is." Who says we can't put a Jalapeño Peach Chutney on red meat? Who said funnel cake had to be a dessert? Who said you couldn't do a collaboration with local friends, also known as breweries? I don't know. I guess the moral of the story is, breaking the rules was always extremely appealing to me. I have a sign in my office that says, "well, you gotta have" it motivates me every day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
As a business owner, that's tough. That's subjective. That's the hardest question anyone has ever asked me. But I can tell you, as a human and as a man, it's my family. They say behind every great man is a great woman, which starts with my wife, Malia. We just welcomed the birth of our first daughter, Lilliana. With all due respect to business and how I think about it on a second-by-second basis, family always comes first. I've also had a tremendous amount of help from so many people, most of all my Chef David Hartshorn and Regional Manager Emily Shattuck, amongst many others. I am very blessed.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Outside of the obvious, which is COVID, I think it is a thing that pains me the most, which is you can't make everyone happy. No one sees the blood, sweat, and tears, the behind-the-scenes, the massive obstacles on a day-by-day basis that one has to overcome just to make sure a particular product shows up in time, to prep it at a reasonable cost before the client walks in. Only to be judged, slandered, or misunderstood publicly with no opportunity to make that situation right if one has ill-intent. I understand that that is not the most politically correct response but, if you ask any bar owner their honest opinion, it's the truth.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Sleep is overrated (be sure your significant other is on board for the sacrifices that one needs to make in order to be "successful")
- LOVE WHAT YOU DO. In theory, you are going to be stuck doing this the rest of you're life
- Expect the unexpected. Nothing will ever go your way, and the sooner you understand that the better off you'll be.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
As a matter of fact, there is, love what you do, times will get tough, trust in whatever God you believe in, stay the course, and most of all have supreme confidence in your abilities to execute. Don't be afraid to fail, and unfortunately, sometimes those closest to you may become your biggest detractors. Don't ever for a second stop believing in yourself, and don't ever put it off until tomorrow. Hopefully, this helps. It did for me.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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