Each year I co-chair the Philadelphia 100 Awards where we recognize the area’s 100 fastest growing companies. Our big gala is coming up in just 9 days

Meet my friend Bryn Davis. His success story shows the power of keeping things simple while thinking big. Read my interview with Bryn and ask yourself:

“What should I stop doing that’s making my business more complicated?” “What’s keeping me from thinking and playing bigger?”

Then, I want you to tell me where are you stuck in accelerating your own business growth. 


How This Recent College Grad Bootstrapped His Way to 5 Million!

Landing a high paying position can difficult in today’s job market, especially when you’re a young college grad like Bryn Davis. Bryn chose instead to pursue the life of an entrepreneur.

He started with a simple idea and a small amount of savings. Just six years after graduating Elizabethtown College as a business administration and marketing major, Bryn landed the distinguished Philadelphia 100® Award. This young entrepreneur is recognized as the area’s 100 fastest growing, privately held companies based on sales growth 3 years in a row.

I congratulated Bryn at a recent CEO breakfast pictured here.  What I love about Bryn’s story is how much it illustrates the opportunities we all have that are right in our own back yard.

Whether you are a middle aged professional struggling with job loss or you’re a recent college grad struggling to just get your first job starting a successful business can happen even on a little bit of capital.

Here’s Bryn’s story on how he did it:

Yoon: What is the business you started? What is Bryn and Dane’s?

Bryn: We are in the restaurant industry and operate as what we call ‘Healthy Fast Food’. We adhere to our trademarked philosophy of ‘LOCAL. LO CAL.’ which completely describes how we approach all of our offerings.

Yoon: How did you get the idea to start a healthy fast food restaurant?

Bryn: I was never a chef or dreamed of becoming a restaurateur. I was just a guy looking for a healthier way to eat. So I started where all healthy food starts on a farm. It was my grandfather’s farm to be exact. That’s where I earned the start-up money for the first Bryn and Dane’s.

Yoon: It sounds like you had a problem yourself that you weren’t able to find a solution for, so you offered that solution to the market.

Bryn: Yes. I used to be 70lbs overweight.  I found that eating healthy was very challenging, especially when you’re out. I didn’t really know what to eat, where to eat and how much.  So, I learned how to make food that wasn’t just good for you, but also just plain good. I began to shed the weight and decided to share healthy fast food with the world. That’s how Bryn and Dane’s was born.

Yoon: Give us a snapshot of your business growth that landed you as a Philly 100 winner? 

Bryn: We are the epitome of a ‘bootstrapping’, ‘start-up’ that had our beginnings fueled by a whole lot of passion and very little capital! I started B&D’s with $12,000 in cash, two credit cards, and a whole lot used equipment. On Day 1

we offered only B&D’s Smoothies and flavored Air-Popped Popcorn. It wasn’t a whole lot on the menu, but we hustled it!

Over time we saved up our money from cash flow, and reinvested by adding in kitchen equipment. After a little over a year, we were able to make wraps, salads, and other menu items that allowed us to put up a sign that said ‘Healthy Fast Food’… the concept we always wanted to be!

We went from doing a couple hundred dollars a day just a few years ago to next year being on pace to do over 5 million in revenue. It’s been an amazing journey and we are just getting started!

Yoon:  What gave you the confidence to go after what many people may view as too risky or unstable?

Bryn:  This is a hard one to answer- as I always felt that not following my dream was far more risky. Although financially it may have been a risk, the risk of regret of not pursuing my passion always felt far greater.

On the same token- the people who had said it was too risky were usually people who had lives that I wouldn’t personally want. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, but rather that their judgment and assessment of risk led them to a career that I personally do not want (although it makes them happy). I tended to find support from other entrepreneurs and risk takers, so I focused on that!

Yoon: What were the key factor(s) that attributed to your company’s fast growth?

Bryn: Our social media following is immense. Horsham, PA has a grand total of 14,000 residents. Our Facebook following alone for this region is at just under 30,000 fans! We are able to communicate messages to this base whenever we would like and the response is unreal.

We also treat B&D’s far more like a ‘tech start-up’ than we do as a conventional restaurant. Right now I am sitting in a circle with 5 of our corporate positions, in our commissary, working on things from graphics, to social media outlets, to our new menu launching in 12 days.

Our designer is on the road working on B&D’s Cube we are opening on October 11th. It’s a high pace atmosphere, and we have amazing people that work with us.

Yoon:  What were the biggest challenges you faced along the way and how did you overcome them?

Bryn: Capital, capital, capital! Accessing capital isn’t the issue per se, but rather raising money without giving up equity in the B&D’s brand is a balancing act that takes a tremendous amount of attention.

Yoon:  What is your advice to other entrepreneurs who want to accelerate fast business growth and win the Philadelphia 100® award next year?

Bryn: If they want to ‘win’- I suggest they drop what they are doing and join the B&D’s Team 🙂

Yoon: Ok, how about what are the core disciplines you spend your time doing that makes the greatest impact in running your company and driving your business growth?

Bryn: I spend the majority of my time on, I guess, what you would call brand development. We are fine-tuning our model now so that when we expand more aggressively we are who we want to be as a brand. Right now, that requires constantly bending and conforming to the needs of our market, all while adhering to our principles. So, that balancing act is what I spend most of my time addressing.

Yoon: Bryn, congratulations again on winning the Philly 100 Award. Thank you for sharing your success story with us.

What I love about the Philadelphia 100 Award® is it truly levels the playing field for all industries and companies of all sizes to compete and win. Established middle market companies and small business startups are equally applauded for their exceptional achievement for driving business growth.

Why not come and join us at the Philadelphia 100® Award Gala held on Wednesday, October 16th from 5:30pm-9pm at the Annenberg Center in Philadelphia. It’s an excellent opportunity to meet and network with the CEO’s of the top 100, fastest growing companies in the area. Get your tickets at www.Philadelphia100.com

QUESTIONS:

  • What should you stop doing that’s making your business more complicated?
  • What’s keeping you from thinking and playing bigger?”
  • Where are you stuck in accelerating your own business growth.

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