The goal of every FLY session is to enhance students’ perspectives on the topics of financial literacy and entrepreneurship. As a part of that commitment, our weeklong programs take advantage of the wealth of knowledgeable business-owners that we are fortunate to have here in the Bay Area. This year, franchisee of Jersey Mike’s Subs on El Camino, Ed Phillips, was gracious enough to supplement our entrepreneurship section with a talk on his experience as an entrepreneur and what it takes to be successful.
Follow Your Passion
Ed Phillips has a passion for food. He wakes up at 4AM, sleeps at 11PM, and thinks about food every hour in between. That’s what happens, he explained, when your passions, interests, and skills intersect in your career path. Your career is more than a means to provide; it is how one contributes to society and spends the majority of the week. Being passionate about that career benefits the well-being of both you and your job.
“Entrepreneurship – Learn to Spell It”
“If you’re going to be an entrepreneur,” started Ed, “you need to learn how to spell it.” In short – be prepared and informed. The thing is, dreams don’t work unless you do, and the first step is to develop into an informed entrepreneur. Once you’ve identified your passion, it is important that you look before jumping. For Ed, this started with the realization that nobody else was doing it his way. What he saw was that none of the other sandwich shops were making it taste as good as he could, as healthily as he could; in the context of our entrepreneurship class, it was an identification of his competitive advantages. Ed’s desire for delicious, healthy food in a relaxing, home-style environment gave him a starting point from which to grow. You don’t need a perfect plan to start; if you wait for that, it will never happen. The first step to starting is to simply start, then correct little details along the way.
Look Ahead to Get Ahead
Wayne Gretzky once said, “a good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” This applies to business as well, Ed explained. To succeed, one must be able to evaluate market trends and project where those trends are heading. It is not enough to simply replicate what already exists. It is far better to innovate and improve upon quality, value, or delivery – to play where the puck is going to be.