Last Thursday night marked the Third Annual Entrepreneur Panel. The panel featured successful entrepreneurs from various companies in the Connecticut area, large and small, national and international. The speakers offered their own experiences and advice to be a successful entrepreneur.
Tom Keller, owner of Tommy K’s, always knew he would become an entrepreneur. “As a kid I would charge my grandmother a quarter to pass through the kitchen,” said Keller. “I wanted to go to the next stage.” He started his video rental chain because it was a business for all demographics at any time. Keller’s business was built with only $30,000 and he has never been in debt.
“Becoming an entrepreneur is all about attitude,” said Keller. “Just remember to follow your gut instinct.”
Quinnipiac graduate, Chris Zane, began his business at 16 years old. He started fixing bicycles for neighborhood kids and made a business of it. He begged his grandfather to give him a loan of $20,000 to build his company, Zane Cycles, and worked his way to success. His company has been featured in Inc. Magazine and grosses millions of dollars each year with a full and part-time staff. Although he puts a lot of time into his company, he doesn’t seem to mind. “Any business that you get into should be fun,” said Zane. “You can’t be passionate about something you don’t enjoy.”
Linda Bailey spoke about her business, Munch ‘N Stuff, which caters to people who want unusual food. Although she started out majoring in fashion at a two-year college, her parents coaxed her into attending Boston University.
She started her company when she graduated and networked through word of mouth.
“I never advertise,” said Bailey. She has worked for major entertainers, including former President Bush, and is expanding her company to the Atlantis Hotel in the Bahamas.
“I love that I am queen at my job, but I work for it,” said Bailey. “My company always gives our customers much more than they expect. So if you know what you want, go for it now!”