ActionCOACH
 
October 16th, 2020
 
Here’s a collection of short interviews from local business owners with amazing insights into today’s challenges. This week’s edition of “Business Owners Speak Out” explores a variety of industries and what they are up to.

ActionCOACH Doug Winnie (DW), Cathy Reinhold (CR), and Lydia Navo (LN) virtually sit down with business owners to learn how they are working through COVID-19. Check out their inspiring stories for tips on how to cope with and successfully recover from this pandemic, and learn how to avoid making common mistakes. Be sure to check out special offers from these businesses. We can all use a little extra help right now!

Most importantly, visit the company websites. Reach out to those who offer services you can use. Let’s support each other and get through this together!
 
 
 
PRIMERICA – Owner Marcus Castille
 

Marcus Castille works with customers to keep their finances healthy. He focuses on educating his clients to ensure they make sound financial decisions. He also advises on and sells financial products, from all types of insurance to mutual funds to annuities. As a former educator, Castille has the heart of a teacher and enjoys setting teachers up to save for retirement.

LN: Who is your target customer?
MC: I’m a good fit for an educator who needs insurance or other services outside of their job. New teachers are good customers, too.
LN: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
MC: I definitely had to pivot. Schools were closed, so I couldn’t make connections with teachers at schools in the same way as before.
LN: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
MC: I focused on social media, and that has produced great results. I met many more people than I otherwise would have. I also joined the First Colony chapter of BNI. I work with strategic partners who send me referrals.
LN: It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes and wise people learn from the mistakes of others.  What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?                                                                           MC: Don’t quit too early. I have started businesses before. However, since I didn’t understand the components of a business, I probably quit when I was on the edge of a breakthrough. The key component of the business is to keep marketing. In my business, if you’re not marketing, you’re not getting enough leads to survive.
LN: What is most inspiring to you today?
MC: I know the world is sick. But I have an opportunity to help people have healthy finances. With proper coaching, everyone can achieve that goal. I enjoy making financial concepts clear to people, so they can be financially successful.  

Contact: (409) 466-5948
Email: mcastille@primerica.com
 
 
 
The Lash Lounge – Owner Rachel Gibler
 

Lash Lounge provides semi-permanent eyelash extensions and beauty services. Their experts perform perfect eyelash extensions, refills, threading, and more. Through the latest technology, training, and standards, the Lash Lounge helps customers look their best. They offer a membership-based service and customers received their first set of lashes for free. Services are customized to each client’s face shape.

CR: Who is your target customer?
RG: Our target audience is women who want effortless beauty as well as busy moms and businesswomen.
CR: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
RG: We launched in December of last year and had to close in March. That made it harder to gain traction during a time when we really wanted to build on our momentum. We couldn’t go to events to raise awareness or have a big store opening. However, once we re-opened, there was a lot of interest. People had been stuck at home, unable to get their lashes done.
CR: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
RG: We always focused on having a clean place. But now we focus heavily on following PPE and social distancing guidelines as well as sanitizing and hygiene. We aren’t able to offer certain large party services. And we have a different process for checking people in, which is helpful.                                                                                                                             CR: It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?
RG: Don’t be afraid of pivots. Just go for it and learn from the no. Feedback is important.
CR: What is most inspiring to you today?
RG: How small businesses helped each other during the pandemic was inspiring. We’re all going through this together and are connecting like never before.

 

Contact: (281) 462-5274                                                                                                                 Website:https://www.thelashlounge.com/tx-houston-memorial-green/

 
 
 
Victory Brands– Owner Haley Ross
 
Victory Brands helps clients grow via their online presence. The firm creates beautiful websites that increase traffic and boost their clients’ SEO and offers brand strategy services and logo and design packages. Their custom design and digital services and full-service marketing help businesses gain the victory they seek. When businesses need a website or want to rank on search engines quickly, Victory Brands is the company to call.

CR: Who is your target customer?
HR: Our target customers are real estate and construction companies who want website assistance and a higher ranking online. 
CR: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
HR: Demand for our services has undoubtedly increased. Businesses realized that they must have a competitive online presence and they turn to us to help them be more effective with their websites, social media, and other online assets. Surprisingly, we see ourselves hitting our goal for this year.
CR: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
HR: Before everything happened, I networked a lot in person, so when everything shut down, I had to review our company’s online assets and outreach and address ways to improve it. After all, that’s what we do. So, we increased our online presence and banded together with fellow entrepreneurs. We support each other as we move forward in this new environment.
CR: It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?
HR:
Your relationship with yourself is critical. If you have allowed your personal life to become stressed out, that will extend to all of your relationships, including your business relationships. You have to prioritize keeping yourself strong and healthy.
CR: What is most inspiring to you today?
HR: The future. I’m looking forward to helping businesses grow with the tools and expertise that are available to us.

Contact: (281) 704-1463                                                                                                                                                       Website:https://victory-brands.com/

 
 
 
Darlene’s Flower & Gift Shop – Owner Susan Tate
 

Darlene’s Flower and Gift Shop provides cut flowers and plants as well as a collection of gifts. This family-owned business started in 1969, and the ownership changed hands in 1982. From inspirational gifts to bath and body products to garden and home décor and clothing and accessories, Darlene has gifts to suit any occasion. and the product selection is always changing. They enjoy working with people to make sure they get what they need.

LN: Who is your target customer?
ST: We say our target customer is anybody between ages 18 and 80, as we offer contemporary and traditional arrangements. 
LN: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
ST: Front-end sales are down, as we have a less walk-in business. We closed our frontend for about six weeks when everything first hit, but we are open now. Fortunately, we were able to continue delivering flowers. At one point, one of the few nice things people could do for each other was to send flowers. We usually send many orders to hospitals, but that has almost stopped completely.
LN: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
ST: We market more to keep ourselves in front of people. Our deliveries are no contact and we follow CDC guidelines. We ensure deliveries get to the intended recipient and are not left on a side table somewhere, which is especially important when you can’t hand-deliver orders. We usually have an in-store holiday event and offer 20 percent off everything in our store the week before Thanksgiving. That will have to change. I’d like to make a YouTube video to highlight our offerings. We now deliver a different style of personalized shopping experience.
LN: It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?
ST: You have to have an online presence. It’s more important now than ever. Even if you don’t like it and haven’t viewed it as a necessity in the past, you have to focus on that now. It’s definitely a critical component.
LN: What is most inspiring to you today?
ST: How people have come together and done their best to support small businesses is inspiring. They have made that a priority, and that’s what it’ll take for small businesses to survive and move forward. I’m also inspired by the fact that God’s grace has made us more aware of the people around us, what’s going on in the world, and helping us care more about both.

Contact: (713) 680-2350                                                                                                                                                                                   Website: https://www.darlenesflowerandgift.com/

 

 
 
 
Forever Young  – Owner Sandee Trevino
 

Sandee Trevino offers more than traditional facials – she is a facial massage therapist. She works beyond the skin and massages down to the fascia, the muscle, and the lymphatics to release tension, increase circulation for a natural, healthy glow. Women visit her for a relaxing, rejuvenating upper body and facial experience, and they rarely want to leave at the end of their appointment. Her massages release facial and upper body tension which helps them avoid premature aging.

LN: Who is your target customer?
ST: Our customers are women in their 40s who are looking for an alternative to a facelift.
LN: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
ST: I’ve had a decrease in traffic. Some of my clients feel safe coming in, and I enjoy helping them. Some of my other clients still don’t feel safe going out.
LN: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
ST: I created professional, do-it-at-home facial kits for light exfoliation and hydration that are stronger than what you can get over the counter. People say they enjoy and benefit from the kits, though not as much as they like having me help them with the treatment personally. And I’m marketing to younger women. I offer an infrared heat and LED system to help break down fat and scar tissue on the body.
LN: It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?
ST: It’s easy to become a product junkie. I try to find product lines that will help my clients with various aspects of skincare. But you can quickly become overwhelmed with many different products vying for your attention. It’s important to stay focused on the most important product benefits and to be as streamlined as possible.
LN: What is most inspiring to you today?
ST: People who are pushing forward and using this crisis as an opportunity to be successful are inspiring. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!


Contact: (713) 299-9781                                                                                                                                                                                      Website: https://www.foreveryoungbysandee.com

 

 
 
The Cage.jpg
 
The Cage  – Owners Jennifer & Sergio Perez
 
The Cage is an indoor baseball training facility where youth baseball teams, individual players, and the public are invited to train. It is the only batting cage and baseball training facility in Houston Heights, and they have indoor space for baseball training and practice, private one-on-one lessons, team practices, cage rentals, gym equipment, youth sports camps, and event rental. Professional trainers are available upon request.

LN: Who is your target customer?
JP: Parents who want to train with their kids, athletes at all levels, and people from all over Houston who would like to pick up a bat and enjoy taking a few swings are all part of our target audience.
LN: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
JP: We launched the business recently, and it was quickly running itself. However, we had to close for a while earlier this year. We can’t have an entire team at the facility at this point, and there are some related difficulties for us to surmount. However, we provide a one-on-one sport. It’s people working with a machine or a trainer, so we’ve been able to continue giving our great service to help people.
LN: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
JP: We moved to our new location in September 2019, and when everything changed, we made some adjustments in our building. We added a waiting room. We also boosted our social media marketing. And we added soccer programs to our offering.
LN: It’s been said that smart people learn from their mistakes, and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?
JP: We didn’t consider serving groups that want to hit a ball for fun in the past. We were focused on helping serious athletes. So, don’t pigeonhole yourself. Now is a great time to reimagine your target audience.
LN: What is most inspiring to you today?
JP: It’s so easy to take things for granted. Seeing people value the individual moments we have, and then move forward to keep their businesses alive inspires me.
 
Contact: (713) 213-6945
 Email: hello@thecagehouston.com                                                                                                                                                               Website: https://www.thecagehouston.com/