Hillsborough County – ‘Taste of Success’ offers free lunch and expert advice

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Post February 15, 2022 | 09:00

Hillsborough County Entrepreneur Collaboration Center Launches Monthly Sessions Featuring Successful Local Professionals

“If you ever open your own business, you will never be able to work for someone else again.”

Nick Vojnovic, president and majority owner of 44 Little Greek Fresh Grill restaurants in six states, offers that perspective to those considering starting their own business and to seasoned professionals seeking information. An eclectic group of such people came together recently for the first The taste of success session at Hillsborough County Entrepreneur Collaboration Center in the city of Ybor. Each of the lunchtime meetings will feature a local small business owner sharing their journey and meals with those looking to start or improve their own businesses.

Although the outcome can be life changing, starting a successful business is risky and difficult work. “I think it’s wonderful that you’re here,” Vojnovic told his audience between bites of Greek delicacies. “It takes a lot of courage.”

Strawberries

Nick Vojnovic discusses the benefits and challenges of entrepreneurship at the first “Taste of Success” luncheon.

The two-hour rallies organized by the County’s Economic development department, in partnership with First Home Bank, are held on the second Thursday of each month. There’s free lunch and networking, a successful entrepreneur pitch, and a Q&A.

WATCH FOR THE NEXT TASTE OF SUCCESS SESSION

Vojnovic offered advice drawn from over 40 years of ups and downs in the restaurant industry:

  • Define aims. “You will literally go in circles if you don’t have goals.”
  • Get good mentors. “People who have been there have done it. They can help a lot.”
  • To save money. Be frugal. “No company has ever gone bankrupt because it had too much money.”
  • Look for honest reviews. “Don’t ask your friends, ‘Do these cookies taste good?’ They’re going to say ‘Yes.'”
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses, then fill in the gaps. Build a team. “You must have so many skills. No one is good at everything.”

Vojnovic says it’s important to learn from your mistakes. For example, as the former president of another restaurant chain, he admits that it grew too quickly. He won’t do it again.

Be aware of what’s happening in the market, he advises. It’s hard to start, especially now. There is inflation, a labor shortage and a pandemic. “All the rules have changed,” he says.

Jazzmen and Jessica Bey attended the first Taste of Success. The sisters start a business and seek expert advice. The free session and the free lunch won them over.

“We’ve never started a business before,” Jazzmen said. “We are here to absorb as much knowledge as possible.”

Top photo: Nick Vojnovic, founder of Little Greek Fresh Grill, talks about his franchise business at the Entrepreneur Collaborative Center in Ybor City.

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