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One night, after a long day of work in the financial services industry, Trent Schneiter and his wife were discussing what life might look like if they left their jobs in finance. The thoughts were nothing more than hypotheticals at that point, but Trent surprised Jennie when he admitted that if he could, he’d love to open a restaurant.
Little did he or Jennie know that the late-night conversation would lead their life down a new path to entrepreneurship. They did their due diligence and noticed their hometown of Austin was lacking healthy food options, which has been a growing trend for years. So after looking into different restaurant concepts, they landed on poke—diced raw fish, served bowl style—and in March 2018, the two together opened Poke Austin.
In order to get their business started, Trent and Jennie sold their home and cleared their savings, something 77% of business owners do. The sacrifice, they say, has been worth it.
“Being a first-time business owner and restaurateur, there is plenty we had to learn on the job,” says Trent. “Some great decisions, some just bad ones. But we love having our own business and really enjoy speaking with the customers.”
The transition and building a business from scratch has come with challenges, however. Staffing is an ongoing hurdle for the restaurant. With so much turnover in some of the entry-level positions, it has been hard for Trent and Jennie to find adequate replacements. At the same time, they found there is significant seasonality in the restaurant business. Luckily, Trent has the experience to make it work.
“Having many years of experience with finance in many different industries provided a great level of confidence to deal with the issues that come, whatever they may be,” continues Trent. “You must always know what is happening in your business. That doesn’t mean you have to be there every day, or every hour, but you need to be good at asking questions and reviewing the financials to find possible problems.”
“Things that are just a little off can become a big problem if not addressed, so keep on top of it,” cautions Trent.
Businesses need cash to grow but cash flow remains a top issue for most small business owners. Not knowing what is really happening in your business, as Trent cautions fellow business owners against, is one of the biggest hurdles in acquiring funds to scale or expand. Financial documentation and a good bookkeeping service can be what comes between a business owner and their next loan.
Trent’s diligent financial records made the already-simple process of applying for funding on Lendio’s marketplace even smoother. And after an extensive review of the offers he received, Trent found the funding process to be “quick and easy.” The most difficult decision he said was choosing the timing for receiving the expansion funds.
Now, with funds in hand and construction underway on their second location, Trent and Jennie are focused on growing their operation and fulfilling their newfound dream.
Spencer has spent the last ten years in the throes of all things marketing and communications. In the past, he has written for companies and clients spanning restaurants to SAAS companies, and entertainment guilds to yoga studios. Spencer has a B.S. in Communications from the University of Utah. When not writing or working, he can be found in the mountains on a hike, in a movie theater with a tub of popcorn, or on stage at a local theater.
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