Starting Smart

Vic & Suzette Brounsuzian, Meg-A-Nut Inc.

Once Vic Brounsuzian, 44, decided, with his wife, Suzette, to open a small shop selling dry-roasted walnuts, pecans, pistachios, filberts and other items, he gathered extensive budgeting information about pricing and expenses from companies nationwide.

"I started doing price comparisons and calling vendors right away," Vic says. "I practically called everywhere in the United States. I needed to bring in nut supplies, equipment, balloon decorations and other food items like fine chocolates and dried fruits and snacks-there were a number of things being done simultaneously. I had catalogs and brochures from all of these companies sent over to me, so I could look into their products and price lists. Next, I narrowed my selection of vendors to the three major distributors of each type of product I was interested in, and generated some estimates from there."

Because the Brounsuzians were setting up shop in a local plaza rather than working from their home, they were forced to include some rather substantial one-time start-up costs in their first-year budget, in addition to expected monthly expenses. These included outlays for extensive renovations, fixtures, furniture and equipment.

"We chose a space half a block away from a movie theater and were thrilled with it, but there was a lot of work that needed to be done," Vic explains. "Working with contractors, I had to do basically all of the interior construction in the shop because this was a brand-new shopping plaza, just being completed. Then there were other big expenses involved, like purchasing a roaster for the nuts and dealing with the sign companies. But you know, as they say, you work hard and it pays off."

A business writer for the past seven years, Kylo-Patrick Hart has run a successful homebased consulting business since 1989.

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This article was originally published in the September 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Starting Smart.

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