What factors do you find to be critical in succeeding as an entrepreneur?
You have to be an action person. You can’t just sit around and think and talk. You have to go do stuff, be willing to try things and not be afraid to fail. You also have to be a great organizer. Even if you have a staff, you have to manage and delegate intelligently. You can’t make a decision and walk away. You have to make sure everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing and that they do it right. If you find a really good person, the temptation is, “Okay, you take care of this.” Then you come back six months later, and this person has taken the company in a different direction you didn’t want to go, all because you abdicated your responsibility. That’s another point from The E Myth.
What are your personal factors to success?
I’m very driven. I’m just determined to make this work. I’ll do whatever I have to do.
Every business cycle has slow times. How do you handle this?
I don’t know. I don’t handle it very well, actually. Since it’s my first year, I don’t really know what my slow times are yet. Of course football is slow. I’ll have to figure out some special promotions, things to drive people in. Beyond that it’s frustrating. Some weeks have been really slow because of Jazz Fest, Cinco de Mayo, other outdoor events. You just have to deal with it as it comes on.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring entrepreneur, what would it be?
Just do it. Try it. Sure, you don’t want to be stupid about it. But if you really want to start your own business, just do it. Start small, part-time, in your basement. The key is once you get a little momentum, some clients, some customers, then you can grow. I started doing tastings with this little wine club I had. So I figured out how I can work them. If I had a store I could sell the wine, this is going to be great. There are so many small steps you can take to get you in the right direction. A lot of people are just paralyzed. People say, “How did you get the money?” I didn’t have the money when I started. I had part of the money and just went ahead and did it, and I figured it would all work out. If I had waited on all the capital I needed, I would still be waiting.
Was there ever a time you questioned what you were doing?
Sometimes, because I’m bringing something new to my area. There’s nothing like Roux Wine in Ascension Parish. During football season, sometimes I feel like I should have never opened a wine shop in this town, because everybody’s so obsessed with football. Those little moments of doubt where you think, “No one likes my wine. They’d rather drink Bud Light and watch the game.” It’s depressing, but I get over it.
How do you overcome that?
I don’t know. I know there will be ups and downs, so I remind myself it will be better. There are some people who come in and are so appreciative I’m here. My regular customers really keep me going. They love what I’m doing. They’re just so positive and happy.
If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice when you first thought about opening a wine bar, what would it be?
I would have started sooner. Instead of taking the safe route and going to law school, I should have just done what I really wanted. I should have fought harder to get what I wanted, because then I’d be so much farther along. I’d probably have an empire by now. If I had started 10 years ago, I’d probably have eight Roux Wines all over the US.
What do you look forward to in your future?
Becoming profitable, maybe expanding to a couple new locations, having enough money to hire really good staff. I just want to be the CEO. I don’t want to be in there every day working the business. I want to just have it built, and do some more traveling.