Young entrepreneurs need to stay true to their passion, persevere and learn from their mistakes, according to a panel of local business founders who faced questions this morning from LSU business students at an event on campus held as part of Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week.
“I know it’s cheesy, but my high school football coach always used to say, ‘Find a way.’ That’s what being an entrepreneur is about,” said William McGehee, co-founder of Tin Roof Brewery.
Each of the panelists, including Monique Breaux with POSH Exclusive Interiors, Caryn Roland with Heirloom Cuisine and Kolby Tullier of Body Mechanics Training, spoke about the importance of taking away lessons from situations that went poorly.
In the nascent stages of Breaux’s business, she and her husband did their own installation work in a pinch. After a heavy pair of just-hung window treatments fell from the wall, taking sheetrock with them, Breaux committed herself to better quality.
“Never skimp, ever. This became the new benchmark and the new foundation from which the company is run,” Breaux said.
Roland said she turns down clients who don’t have absolute confidence in her catering because success of her service requires trust in her product for an event to go well. It’s important to have staff in place who share the vision for the product, Tullier said.
“If you’re trying to create a product, you have to stay true to that,” Tullier said. “If you hire that one bad apple, that can affect your whole business. I tell my trainers, ‘If one falls, we all fall.’”
All of the panelists urged students to take risks, and if a decision doesn’t pan out, build from it.
“Take those less-than-perfect situations and modify and mold them so that it’s a benefit to your business,” Breaux said. —Kelly Connelly