Foodeez is a boutique creative digital agency focused exclusively on creating content for food and beverage brands. The co-founders, Noel and Waseem Ballou, are brothers who have invested their own resources and bootstrapped their way to creating this full-service agency, without a single investor.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with these inspiring entrepreneurs and here’s what went down:
Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?
I came from a business management background. I started this business with my brother when we saw a need with brands lacking social marketing services and felt it was something we both truly understood. Together we both started this agency with the main focus in creating high-quality content with the appropriate brand direction.
Can you describe your journey to success? When did you start? Did you ever imagine you would become this successful?
I still don’t feel we’ve reached “success.” I always hit a milestone and feel I need to set a bigger and harder one to chase and set that as the new standard of success. It continues to push my brother, my team, and myself. Starting this company fresh out college, I had 0 income and felt that it’s now or never if I want to start a company and dove straight in – and there was no looking back. I never imagined the company to get to this size, I always envisioned it to be about 5-10 people, but we are at 30 people and working with over 75 clients every month.
What is your main source of income?
Our main sources of income come from our content creation and production departments.
What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?
I am always looking for new strategies to maintain lean operations yet maintain the high-quality output we stand-by. Aside from internal strategizes, we are always looking for new services we can provide to our current/potential clients as well as new avenues we can take the direction of the company that may have strong long term benefits.
What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?
High-quality content with a fast turnaround!
What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?
Word of mouth. Ever since we’ve started our business has been driven by cold calls and referral business. Only recently have we got aggressive with our PR and digital marketing. But moving forward we are focusing our efforts on traditional PR and digital marketing.
How did your brand stand out from the rest of the other brands out there that is similar to your niche?
We solely do Food & Beverage and nothing else. A lot of other businesses who do production and content creation don’t specialize in it (they other their services to other industries i.e. fashion, lifestyle, fitness, etc). We have a team of true foodies that are the best in their fields.
What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
Expanding our office and scaling the team. As owners, we’ve really had to tighten our belts and make sure we can afford such a move. We’ve not only doubled our office space but have doubled the team to gear us towards an influx of work.
What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?
Budgeting and sticking tight to your budget. It’s so easy to swipe your credit card and get carried away. But budgeting is crucial. Oh, and save. There is nothing better than having cash on hand especially when you need it!
What have you learned in the process of becoming successful that others can learn from?
There is no such thing as an overnight success. I read a quote that goes “An overnight success usually takes 10 years”. Don’t expect to start a company and be successful tomorrow. It’s a lot of hustling & grinding, but the return of seeing the product you built is significantly rewarding.
What new business would you love to start?
Our own line of products… Which are actually in the works! Being in the food and beverage industry we’ve been able to partner with some of our clients in creating new private-label brands that will focus strictly online vs the traditional retailer route.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
Save, save, and budget! The saying money doesn’t grow on trees is 100% true! Being a small company we’ve invested in foolish items. Looking back at it, if we saved that money and invested it in other avenues we could have been in a different place.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were first making a name for yourself, what advice would you give yourself?
Stay focused and don’t try to do too much at one time. Organize your tasks and projects and put 101% into each and everything you do. Don’t stress yourself over the little things, just develop a checklist and knock things off 1 by 1.
Do you have any favorite business-related or personal development related books that you can recommend to other entrepreneurs?
Sell or be sold by Grant Cardone. Everything in business and life is sales, make sure you’re always ready and looking for the right opportunity. If you don’t reach for it, someone else will.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Keep your head up and stay humble.
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
When you start hiring people, make sure you hire people that truly believe in your vision and have a passion for what you believe in as well. There is a lot of speed bumps in the beginning and you want them to be there with you helping push through the early barriers.