Imagine a tasty steak smothered in tangy barbecue sauce with a side of mashed potatoes. How about some Swedish meatballs? Or maybe you prefer a healthy serving of smoked pork or a delectable buffalo burger?
Is your mouth watering yet? Entrepreneurs David and Kathy Lethem hope so.
The Lethems, who are clients of 1-800Accountant, established their own small business in Casa Grande, Arizona, right between Phoenix and Tucson. Naturally, the company is called Kathy’s Mobile Creations Featuring Dave’s BBQ, LLC. The startup formally took shape in June 2014.
While the company currently offers catering services for groups and events at specific locations, it will soon transform itself into a mobile food truck service around the Casa Grande area. The couple recently purchased a 26-foot toy hauler and will tow a large smoker and barbecue grill behind their truck to various hot spots around town.
“Our slogan is ‘A little piece of heaven for those on the go,” Kathy says. “We are combining our love of food with being kind and considerate to others. We want to offer people that little bit of time to have some fantasy away from reality eating something good when they don’t have much time.”
David recently left his full-time job to focus on the small business, while Kathy continues to work as an ICU nurse in a hospital. She’s been doing that for 23 years now. She talks about where the true satisfaction comes with being a new small business owner and having David by her side.
“I get to spend time with my husband,” she says. “I love my partner, and we have so much fun together. There’s no way I could be doing this without him.”
In recent years, there has been a significant rise in the mobile food truck industry across the country. Lethem says there are some Mexican food trucks around Casa Grande, along with another serving up barbecue cuisine. However, she feels like she and David are in an ideal market for such a small business.
“I don’t think we’re going to have too much competition,” she says. “In the fall and winter, a ton of snowbirds come here from up north. The RV parks start filling up with retirees, and they don’t want to cook much, so we’re in a really good spot to serve them.”
Small Business Marketing for a Mobile Food Truck
Marketing strategies differ from one company to another depending on the types of products and services they offer. In the mobile food truck industry, Lethem says it’s all about getting out there in front of potential customers.
“We plan to be involved in some local benefits and parties. Downtown Casa Grande also has a farmers’ market. Plus, my hospital is in need of food services for both employees and patients after a certain time in the evening. So we have lots of options. Also, we’re going to connect with the local chamber of commerce. Word-of-mouth marketing is a big part of this as well when people try our food and tell their friends about us.”
Entrepreneurs who try their hand at starting a business will inevitably face hurdles along the way. Lethem admits she and her husband have dealt with a variety of challenges.
“Getting the funding for the business has been a challenge,” she says. “We’ve put lots of our personal finances into the business. We’ve also had to learn how to communicate as business partners, which is different than the husband-wife relationship. We have to trust each other that we’re going to hold up our ends of the bargain.”
Tips for Entrepreneurs
From Lethem’s perspective, discovering startup success is all about persistence and cutting through the clutter.
“One of my biggest tips for entrepreneurs is that if it’s your dream and something you’re passionate about, don’t let the negativity stand in your way. I’m still fighting this myself. Some people will tell you, ‘No, you can’t do this.’ Ignore them and go for it.”
In terms of funding a small business and financial advice in general, she highly recommends entrepreneurs read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.
Lethem says she deals with life-or-death situations almost daily as an ICU nurse. However, when it comes to cooking, she says the worst thing that could go wrong is that the food doesn’t taste right. This is why she loves the idea of more freedom, less stress, and increased flexibility that owning a business involving cooking can offer.
As clients of 1-800Accountant, Lethem says she and David have been very satisfied with the services they have received from the national accounting and consulting firm. She would definitely recommend the firm to anyone interested in starting a business and looking for top-notch business tax support.
Photo credit: The photograph and logo included in this blog post were provided by Kathy’s Mobile Creations Featuring Dave’s BBQ, LLC and are used with permission.