Business Growth Tips from John Puckett, Caribou Coffee Founder and Punch Pizza Co-owner (Video Interview)

I discovered this interesting video while looking for small business inspiration. It’s a good finding. It’s Patch’s exclusive video interview with John Puckett, the founder of Caribou Coffee and co-owner of Punch Pizza.

john puckett interview

John and his wife co-founded Caribou Coffee in 1992 with a big plan to establish 200 stores in 5 to 10 years. Things are looking good and going as planned…

John were successfully established 100 stores in 8 US states, but then he encountered a problem, which mainly related to work-life balance. He then decided to sell Caribou Coffee after owning and growing it for 10 years.

Just like any other proper entrepreneur, John always on the lookout for exciting (and lucrative) opportunities. One of the interesting stories is on the co-owning the Punch Pizza. It was actually John’s favourite restaurant as a customer and as he conversed with the owner, the conversation grows into a partnership talk, with John offering his experience in growing a business. Eventually, John buys half of the company.

Watch this great video to inspire you:

Lessons learned

Want to be a successful small business owner? Here are some lessons learned from John’s story.

1. Believe in your product

This is numbered “1” for a reason: If you don’t believe in your product, how can you expect your customers to believe in yours? How can your employees be inspired and love the products they help creating? How can YOU focus on growing your business if you don’t have faith on your products?

2. Know when to say no

In this video, John advises us that things you say “no” to might be as important as those you say “yes” to.

Oftentimes, we are so eager to grow our business, in such a way that we say yes to every offer coming our way. Learn when to say no to which opportunities or offers is one of the keys to success.

3. Be responsive to changes

Punch Pizza embraces social media. John shared that once they adopted no photo policy. A customer took a photograph of his meal only to know later that he wasn’t allowed to do so. He ranted on social media and it got buzzed. Punch Pizza responded to the issue by launching a photo contest, letting customers to publish product photos on (once popular) photo site Flickr. It was a major success.

Here’s another campaign which shows Punch Pizza’s strategy in embracing social media:

4. True to your vision

You need to run a small business and keep yourself true to your vision.

The main plan for Caribou Coffee is to grow to 200 stores in less than 10 years. When the company is halfway there, John realized that it’s no longer true to his vision. Therefore, he sold the company.

You can learn more from John Puckett’s exclusive Q&A published on Small Business Patch.