Deli entrepreneurs gain strength with free business courses from Verizon

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NORTHAMPTON, MA /ACCESSWIRE/October 11, 2022/ Verizon:

Monica Nino and Bryan Gonzales, owners of high-end deli company The Board Couple in San Antonio, Texas, were preparing for an event when several appetizers fell from a cart and onto the sidewalk. “We only had 30 minutes to spare,” Nino recalls. That’s when Gonzales remembered advice he’d heard in the Selling Your Story at Verizon Small Business Digital Ready course. “It’s a great moment to capture on social media,” he thought. “People want to buy from a human, they want to make that connection,” adds Nino. So Gonzales took a video, posted it on Instagram and wrote, “Oh no, check this out.”

For Gonzales and Nino, recovering from small mistakes and racing from event to event is part of a day’s work. On a recent Saturday, they delivered artisanal charcuterie boards to a wedding reception, a tasting workshop, and even to a private jet for an in-flight snack. “Our boards have at least nine different types of charcuterie and three base cheeses,” says Nino. And these boards, in addition to their pasture tables, cooking classes, wines and gift boxes, have found a large audience.

But when the pandemic brought an unexpected shift to their original brick-and-mortar business model — and an increase in shipping demand — the couple found themselves with no clear path forward. “There hasn’t been a roadmap for our business,” Gonzales says. Looking for inspiration, the couple discovered Verizon Small Business Digital Ready through their local Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The free online portal, offering courses, live coaching and networking, was exactly the help they needed to adjust. “These classes are like drinking from a fire hose — in the best way,” Gonzales says.

Scaling

Through the Track Your Finances and Get Beyond Break Even courses, Nino and Gonzales learned the importance of improving their financial management. Previously, they relied on a bank account to track their losses and profits. “We’ve now incorporated new accounting software. It’s more professional and fine-tuned where our most profitable margins can be,” Gonzales says.

They also hired an outside bookkeeper to help them make smart and profitable purchases. “We’re trying to manage arrays and keep costs down, especially right now,” Gonzales says. At the same time, Verizon Small Business Digital Ready prompted them to look at the financials and find ways to grow.

Nino says she appreciated the “little bits” advice on SEO and ways to connect authentically on social media. Therefore, they turned their stumble on the sidewalk into a victory. This open attitude has helped grow their social media to over 5,000 people.

Dating Reimagined

In 2018, Nino and Gonzales ran into the same argument: what to do for dinner. The couple solved the problem by creating their own charcuterie boards at home. After posting them on social media, a business idea was born.

Initially focused on a restaurant model, the couple quickly turned to building their online presence post-pandemic. They’ve made other pivots, including breaking down full board into “adult meals”, catering, workshops and nationwide shipping.

Discover superpowers

Fast forward to now, the course Selling with Storytelling: Unlock Your Business Superpower inspired the couple to look within and consider what they do in unique ways. “Food shipping was a superpower that we unlocked that we didn’t know was possible,” Gonzales says, as the pair aim for even greater national reach. “The course inspired us to figure out what our next superpower will be.”

Verizon Small Business Digital Ready offers free personalized courses, live coaching, networking, planning aids and grant opportunities for eligible small businesses. To enroll in this program, visit verizon.com/smallbusinessdigitalready

About the authors):

Neil Gladstone is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, AOL, MTV, and Popular Mechanics. He writes about technology, STEM, education, and jobs of the future for Verizon.

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THE SOURCE: Verizon

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