Thursday, May 9, 2013

Natural 2 Go - Chris Sanchez

Over the years, I've had clients with a variety of business interests. Some were interested in being in the food business without the food business hours. I've had other clients that wanted a "healthy" aspect to their business such as health clubs, GNC type or healthy foods. Yet others were looking for a business that they could do part time and work it into full time.

Our entrepreneur this month chose a business that incorporates all three.

Congratulations Chris and welcome to the world of entrepreneurship!  

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Chris Sanchez
Chris Sanchez
 I first met Chris Sanchez at a "sales" oriented job fair. He had been out of work for a little over 6 months and was anxious to be productive again. At one time in his career he was in route sales for an ice cream company, which was sort of like running his own business. He promoted, sold, delivered and displayed various ice cream products and negotiated shelf space for key accounts. Most recently he was involved in outside sales of new and used commercial duty trucks and construction equipment.

Chris had always had the dream of owning a business of his own. He had kicked a few tires and looked at a few things over the years, but not being a big risk taker, he had ruled them out. In his words, "I always had the intuition and drive to start my own successful business. My biggest challenge was having a lack of creativity as to what business I should get into that would best utilize my talents and experience. After bouncing around from one lousy company to the next and out of work, I was in a very frustrating and sad place in the career world and that was when Marty and I connected."

Chris was very excited to talk to me about his possibilities in business ownership since he would greatly prefer that over a job. He had already read the book, "The E-Myth", which I recommend to all my clients. The E-Myth, or Entrepreneurial Myth, is that old saying, "Do what you love and enjoy, and you'll be successful." It's a myth. Call me if you'd like to discuss that.

Chris is a very detailed person and likes working with people and building relationships. He wanted something with a proven track record, relatively close to home and something that would trigger his passion. If he found that, he felt he would be unstoppable.

During our journey of exploration, I did the customary behavioral profile and criteria preference list. What surprised me was that although Chris had been in sales most of his career, he didn't have a profile of a typical sales person. He had the qualities of a "driven" type of personality, but also showed introverted signs. Was "sales" the right career for Chris?

I've learned over the years that there is such a thing as an extroverted introvert. This is an individual that likes to work on their own and needs their own space. They don't want to be around people all the time like extroverts do. But when the need arises, they put on a good show, become very outgoing and friendly so that they get the job done and the desired results. I think that is a good description of Chris. He'll do whatever it takes to get the results he desires -- a great entrepreneurial quality.

When building the profile of Chris' hypothetical business, he gravitated to businesses where customers would come to him or a route where customers would be expecting him on a regular basis. We looked at a mobile coffee franchise, a popcorn franchise with mall based kiosks and a vending machine distributorship that specialized in healthy foods.

Chris learned about the various business models, watched videos, attended webinars and talked to a lot of owners. In the end, the natural vending machine business triggered his entrepreneurial gene. "People are more health conscious today," Chris said. "Schools and workplaces are setting the example by providing better snack options. More and more businesses are trying to support employees looking for ways to make healthier lifestyle choices."
Naturals 2 Go is an Idaho base company and has been in business for over 20 years helping entrepreneurial minded individuals get into the vending machine business. They offer an alternative to traditional vending machine fare laden with trans fat and high fructose corn syrup.
The machines are built in-house and incorporate the latest technology and on-line management tools. Machines are filled with a variety of healthy drinks and snacks customized for a particular location. Their clients are health oriented individuals looking for a healthy alternative to the sugar and salt products offered by the typical vending machine. Schools, YMCA's, health clubs, office buildings and malls are all great locations.

Chris added, "I was impressed with the Naturals 2 Go machine because it employs sophisticated technology in offering purchases by credit and debit cards, as well as cash. The machine houses a virtually silent cooling unit to keep snacks fresh. Onboard cellular communication technology provides him real-time reports to keep selections available at all times." In addition, he liked the flexibility and the fact that he could continue to grow this business in the future by establishing more vending outlets.

"Our biggest challenge was that we did not have a lot of working capital to buy into what most people consider a typical franchise," Chris said. "We researched several and decided to go with the Naturals 2 Go healthy vending snack and drink business. To our delight this was not a franchise, but something you buy into once and they never have any fees or control over what we want to do." Chris funded his business with an SBA loan.

A Small Business Administration loan is really not a loan from the government. The SBA guarantees the loan to a SBA approved bank. This type of loan is used for individuals that don't have the collateral that traditional banks require. Generally, the individual puts up 20% of the value of the loan, the SBA guarantees the next 60-70% of the loan and the bank covers the remainder. The interest rate is a little higher than a collateralized loan, but the payback period is longer allowing for lower monthly payments.

Chris used his funding to purchase 10 machines. Through a little trial and error he has found that schools are his best locations. "They have a captive clientele of hungry growing kids looking for snacks and the schools have put in policies that require healthy choices in vending machines," he said.

So how is Chris enjoying entrepreneurship? Here's what he had to say. "While starting and running a successful business is not easy, I have never been more satisfied both financially and on a career level than I am with this opportunity. My ultimate goal is to become so successful, that I never have to work for someone else, other than my own clients, ever again!"

If you are located in SE Wisconsin and are interested in having a Naturals 2 Go healthy vending machine placed in your business, please call (262)-402-8429 and Chris will be happy to go over some of the great options available!

Finding the right business fit is a journey. The fit is a combination of the product or service that the business provides, the basic business model, and most important, what your role is in the business. Too often people go on the internet and pick out a business because they like what the business does and because they've had good consumer experiences with this type of business. Later they find out that although they like the business, they're not happy with what they have to do in the business on a day to day basis. And, that's the most important part.

Chris was able to use his journey of discovery to find a business that met his goals and needs and would fit the life he wanted to create for himself and his family. Plus, Chris has the satisfaction and he will be helping young and old individuals with healthy food choices. We wish Chris and his wife Melissa success beyond their expectations

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