Question: What is the name of your business?
Your Answer: Friends & Stars, Inc.
Question: Where is your business located (city & state)? Who are the customers you serve? What products or services does you company provide?
Your Answer: We are registered in Sunrise, Florida (Broward County) and have our operational site located inside of the Schacknow Museum of Fine Arts, 7080 N.W. 4th Street, Plantation, Florida 33317. We serve adults with Autism, Down Syndrome & others with Intellectual, Learning & Developmental Disabilities whom we refer to as "STARS". We provide a social networking for our Stars and provide ART / DANCE / MUSIC / ARTS & CRAFTS / THEATER programming.
Question: When did you start your business? Why did you decide to start your own business?
Your Answer: We started 3 years ago as the Circle Of Friends - Special Activity Club and in November, 2012 decided to incorporate and became a 501(c)(3) organization. We decided to start the "program" as a way to give an opportunity to our target population and decided to incorporate and give the program the opportunity to provide extended services to this population.
Question: Did you quit your "day job" to start your business? How did you initially fund your business?
Your Answer: Some volunteers are able to continue with their day jobs and serve our Stars, the Exec. Director, did quit her day job and works (voluntarily) for the organization.
Question: What has been the biggest challenge in running your company?
Your Answer: Funding has been our biggest challenge - most programs are geared to children and are easily funded; however, the young adults and especially the older adults are usually left with limited funding.
Question: What’s been the biggest opportunity that came from owning your business?
Your Answer: The joy that we see, at every activity club meeting, on the faces of our Stars. They look forward to coming to our planned activity sessions and really LOVE the special attention they received. We only see their Ability; not the disability.
Question: What has surprised you most about being your own boss?
Your Answer: The amount of time that is needed to stay on track, keeping people motivated, training and retention of volunteers and most surprisingly the sense of opportunity I receive every time we get a new member or volunteer.
Question: Is there a success tactic you’d like to share that could help other business owners (i.e. implementing new software, tactic to grow sales, etc.)?
Your Answer: We, as an organization, believe that technology is the way to grow and gain. With software, we can reach a wider population of individuals that fall within our target scope. Sharing information with our members / caregivers / parents has been invaluable.
Question: What’s the best piece of advice you could give to other small business owners?
Your Answer: Believe with passion in what you are doing FIRST, then follow practical business principles to ensure your success or, in our case, our Mission can be achieve.