Starting a business is a big achievement for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining one is the larger challenge. There are many standard challenges that face every business whether they are large or small. It is not easy running a company, especially in a fast-paced, ever-changing business world. Technology advances, new hiring strategies, and now, political changes coming with the new administration, all add to the existing business challenges that entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives have to deal with.

Maximizing profits, minimizing expenses and finding talented staff to keep things moving seem to be top challenges for both SMBs and large corporations. We have been interviewing companies from around the world to discover what challenges they are facing in their businesses. We also asked each company to share business advice they would give to a younger version of themselves.

Below is our interview with Kevin Gelfand, Founder and President at Shake Smart, Inc.:

What does your company do?

Shake Smart specializes in freshly blended protein shakes and healthy on-the-go foods. While our product offering is innovative, our business model is also unique. Locations are less than 300 square feet, and the company prides itself on using cutting edge technology including our proprietary Self Order System. We are located on college campuses inside Recreation Centers and Student Unions. We have both corporate and licensed locations that stretch throughout the United States. We are headquartered in San Diego, California, and have been in business for over 7 years.

What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?

I’m the President of Shake Smart, Inc. As the Co-Founder as well, it has been an amazing journey to watch the company that was just an idea come to fruition and continue to grow over the years. I enjoy building a unique culture where everyone within the company loves what they do, and enjoys being a part of our family. We pride ourselves on growth from within, and watching entry-level employees develop into the leaders and visionaries of our company is what keeps me excited and passionate. Along with this, making healthy eating more accessible to college students is something I wished was available to me as a student. Being able to bring this to college campuses is extremely fulfilling.

What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?

Our biggest challenge at the moment is developing our management team. We pride ourselves on growth from within, which has been a key component of our culture since inception. Balancing the development of current employees into higher-level management, in conjunction with our rapid growth, has proven to be difficult. Another challenge we have always faced is how to expedite speed of service as much as possible. College students have limited windows to purchase food with their busy schedules. Our continued commitment is to be able to provide the fastest service of any food option on campus, so trying to find new and innovative ways to expedite speed of service is something we always push to challenge our team on.

If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?

My best advice to a younger version of myself would be to understand what is in my control versus what is outside of my control. Once I realize what is outside of my control, to not stress over those, and to focus on other areas to better utilize my time, energy, and reduce stress. In our business, there are a lot of outside factors that can pull our company in many directions. Whether that is new locations, new regulations, delays in construction, or other components, being able to focus on the items that are within our control, and letting the items that are uncontrollable play themselves out, has proven to be beneficial as I have matured and grown as a leader.

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