Quarks are the smallest particles imaginable. Although they remain completely invisible to the human eye, they are the fundamental building blocks of the universe.
Armed with a dream to introduce the basics of healthy meals, diet, and life back into the world of fast food, Lisa Schulte created her new restaurant, Quarks American Bento. Lisa’s idea to establish a nationwide fast food chain was born in 2014 when she and her husband both lost their jobs on the same day. While others may have wallowed in that misfortune, Lisa saw an opportunity to start making her dream a reality. While she knew it wouldn’t be easy, she was sure she could handle whatever was thrown her way.
Four years and one thriving restaurant later, Lisa looks back at the challenges she never could have imagined, yet she tackled them all. Through the ups and downs, there were three “quarks” that became the fundamental building blocks of her success.
Have a good why
The most important thing in business ownership (and maybe in life) is to maintain a clear idea of why you are doing what you are doing. What motivates you? What gets you out of bed in the morning? What are you passionate about? Sometimes the main reason you started gets lost in the shuffle of day-to-day tasks. “We are passionate about making real food accessible to all communities and changing the mindset of the processed world we live in,” says Lisa, “We want to see people live happier and healthier lives.” That driving vision is what keeps Lisa going through the hard times. That is her why.
Figure out funding
Every small business owner knows that starting a business can be feel like climbing wall after wall. Because it is next to impossible to grow a business without working capital, funding is often a major obstacle for startups. Lisa encountered this problem fairly early on with Quarks. “After meeting with fifteen local banks, all of which were not interested in loaning to first-time restaurateurs, we knew we had to figure out some creative ways to fund our company,” she said. Through a combination of personal savings and unsecured credit, Quarks survived. Knowing that traditional lenders are far from the only option for small business loans is key to getting off the ground and running. Innovation and growth in the online lending industry is leveling the playing field for borrowers.
Don’t be afraid to look for help
Lisa’s final building block was leveraging the knowledge and resources she found in her community. “I highly recommend using a local Small Business Development Center or SCORE mentor to get a professional outside view of your business,” Lisa says, ”You can also participate in your local Chamber Connection. It’s a community of people who support each other’s businesses.” No matter how much business experience you have or what kind of business you run, getting advice and a unique perspective from people around you will be key to your success.
Lisa says while it’s important to spend time cultivating these fundamental building blocks of success, at the end of the day, her life motto rings true for entrepreneurs everywhere: “Sometimes you have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down.”