With a fiery spirit and resilience like nobody else, Victoria Dombrower became the chain’s first franchisee in the summer of 2012. Having worked for her that first year I watched as she succeeded, struggled, and everything in between. I had the pleasure of sitting down with her, three years later, to discuss what she’s learned. P.S. This was published on LinkedIn originally 🙂
Dana Iskoldski: Tell us a bit about yourself!
Victoria Dombrower: I’m perfect. At least that’s what I tell my husband! But I am Russian by birth, Jewish by religion, educated in Canada, Spain and France. My character is a mix of all of that, but more than anything I am a mother of two girls. And a wife, and an entrepreneur. That’s me.
DI: You were the first Yogurty’s franchisee, and now you own two locations. What’s your favourite part about that?
VD: I have a hard time working for others because I always think that I’m right, so it’s quite challenging, especially in the corporate world, to have that character. I love the autonomy of it. I don’t need to ask my boss when I need to pick up my kids suddenly, and, if I need to work until midnight I can do that, too.
DI: What’s the most challenging aspect of running your own business?
VD: Making money. I was prepared for the amount of work, but I guess I wasn’t prepared for the down days. It’s easy to deal with the good days, but nobody really prepares you for those.
DI: What advice would you give to somebody looking to go out on their own, like you did?
VD: The number one thing I say to people is do your homework. And that’s still not a guarantee. Also, be prepared to work a lot; sometimes with, sometimes without reward. Having a business is almost like having a baby. It always needs, always demands something. Finally, have a Plan B and don’t be afraid to be flexible. Because you will have to change with your customers’ and business’ demands.
DI: What do you need to run your own business?
VD: Perseverance, organization, and hopefully some money in the background. Money so that you can survive the bad days and buy yourself time until the good days come. I bring that up because one of the characteristics of the frozen yogurt business, particularly, is sales are seasonal. But the landlord doesn’t care, and you still have to pay your staff when the sales aren’t there, and if you have no reserves you won’t make it to summer time.
There you have it, folks. Part Two to last week’s 100 Cups of Coffee segment.