Young business owner shares tips | News
Cassidy Brooke Bayes, 22, graduated from West Virginia University in May 2017 with a degree in Integrated Communication Studies.
She returned to her hometown of Fayetteville and opened Raw and Juicy Bar above her family-owned Cathedral Cafe in June. The bar offers fresh-squeezed juices, smoothies and smoothie bowls.
R-H: What were your biggest fears/concerns about starting your own business, and how did you overcome them?
Bayes: For me, I think my biggest fear was not knowing enough about business. I didn’t take a single business class while I was in college. I ended up graduating with a degree in Integrated Communication Studies. I knew a lot about business from growing up in a family that ran their own restaurant, but that’s all the coaching I got! I started watching TED talks about small businesses, and reading articles about people like me that just dove right in, and it calmed my nerves. I soon realized I knew more about business than I thought. You just have to be willing to dedicate time to learning certain aspects, like the proper forms you must fill out or taxes, and make sure you read a lot about taxes in your state.
R-H: Did growing up with a family-owned business play into your decision to open Raw and Juicy Juice Bar?
Bayes: Absolutely! I loved seeing how passionate my parents were about their business. It basically becomes your child, and you want to see it succeed. Although I never truly knew how hard it was to own and run a business until I did it personally. I can honestly value all of the hard work my parents put into running Cathedral Cafe now that I have to do the same for the Juice Bar.
R-H: At what point did you know your business idea/brainstorming would or could become a reality? What was that moment like?
Bayes: Honestly it never really set in until opening day, when there was a line down the stairs, into the Cafe, and outside for three hours straight. It was only then that I realized there was no turning back! (haha) I was amazed, really! I never in my dreams imagined I would open my own business, let alone have it be popular. After that night was over I sat in my car before heading home and smiled. All of the behind-the-scenes hard work that we had been putting in finally paid off. I was a proud parent of my baby business.
R-H: You have a good presence on social media. What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs on how to use social media to build up a business?
Bayes: USE SOCIAL MEDIA! It is at the tips of everyone’s fingers and the majority of it is free. In college I took classes that explained how businesses have just recently started using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts to reach a larger target audience and those specific businesses were thriving. It only made sense to me to do the same. I have found that for the Juice Bar, it is best to post things as soon as you open rather than the night before. Depending on your audience that you are trying to reach, your posts should match the time of day they are using social media. This heightens your chance of your customers seeing what you have to offer and being there the next day to see what it is all about.
R-H: What resources or support systems have you found available to help young people in West Virginia start businesses? Or are there resources that don’t currently exist that you think would be beneficial to others?
Bayes: Being able to use your local community is the greatest support system I have found. In Fayetteville specifically, I know that the locals try to support local businesses, and this has helped us a tremendous amount. I do think it would be beneficial to West Virginia if there were more grants offered for new businesses, especially to adults under the age of 30. West Virginia is open for business and many millennials have ideas of their own that they would love to bring home to the mountains but can’t afford start-up costs (especially just out of college). I know for me it was tough getting the money together. Luckily, we already owned a lot of the appliances we are using.
R-H: What advice could you offer young entrepreneurs about how to find types of business that would be welcome and needed in their communities?
Bayes: Take a minute to look around your neighborhood, or the surrounding areas. What is something you and your friends have joked about the area needing? What is something you’re passionate about that you would be willing to dedicate your time to? It is important to consider other businesses in the area and try to not crowd them out.
We need more diversity! There is always some way to add something unique to your town.
In the couple months since opening, have you learned anything surprising about owning a business?
Your friends and family are your backbone. Without my friends and family supporting me, none of this would have ever been created. The art on the walls, the furniture, the murals, the entire atmosphere was because of them.
I had a vision and they helped me bring it to life. The people you know are extremely talented; don’t overlook them!
What is the best advice you can offer a young entrepreneur considering opening a business?
Keep an open mind! Sometimes your original idea can’t happen, and that’s OK. I have found that plan B, C, and D are always a good pick too. You have to be willing to move with the punches of life; otherwise, you will spend eternity trying to make it exactly right.
What do you consider the biggest impediments to opening a business in southern West Virginia?
I have been lucky enough to not run into anything too serious that has hindered my business, but I am sure they are out there.
What are the biggest benefits/assets to opening a business in southern West Virginia?
Opening a business in southern West Virginia is a benefit itself. West Virginia needs new ideas and ventures constantly flowing through these mountains. Adding anything to bring new faces into West Virginia helps out the entire economic flow. One thing blooms, and everything follows.